COVID-19 has changed the face of America. Our everyday routines have been disrupted as we socially distance, isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. A number of events have been canceled or postponed, including the 2020 Summer Olympics. Many people are separated from their loved ones, communicating through their computers and phones rather than face to face. Perhaps one of the most major ways in which the world has been affected, and certainly the United States, in particular, is through the ways we work. Americans have always been known for having a strong “work culture”. Most of the jobs we work are in person, which is to say away from the home. Most full-time American employees work at least 40 hours a week, and often in a somewhat regimented schedule, even if it shifts from time to time. But due to the hazards that come with leaving the home, many non-essential workers find themselves ordered to stay at home. This means that they are being either ordered to work remotely when they normally wouldn’t; furloughed, with plans to return to work once the crisis is over; or laid off permanently.
Clearly, this virus is leading to a secondary crisis, namely an economic one. Watching the daily business news channels on your television may lead you to panic, but try to remain calm as much as possible. While the current economic downturn cannot be reversed, it can be shortened through a focus on businesses that are sustainable throughout the pandemic. Certain businesses cannot only be sustained throughout the pandemic; they may do very well, though we hesitate to say that they will benefit from the crisis. Other companies can survive the pandemic with adjustments. When looking for business news, one may find it clear, however, that some businesses will take a greater negative impact than others, to the point that some will not survive. With roughly 77 million Americans currently employed through small businesses, it’s important that as many as possible keep their jobs; and if they cannot keep the jobs they have, they must be able to find alternatives. With that being said, let’s look into some of the business types they’ll likely see discussed on the business news networks, magazines, and websites. Which ones will survive the pandemic by being essential, and which ones will struggle?
Essential: Healthcare Services
In some ways, healthcare services will struggle during the pandemic, mostly in that they will be overextended by the amount of COVID-19 patients that need to be hospitalized. Furthermore, some medical professionals that would normally specialize in certain areas will likely be required to leave their normal positions at least part-time to assist in treating COVID-19 patients. Obstetricians, for example, may be needed to hit the front lines when fighting the virus because, though they don’t normally work with such diseases, they are doctors. However, certain types of healthcare services are not necessarily going to be essential in that respect but will remain essential businesses due to the care and products they provide.
For example, if those that work as home care aides will be able to continue working because their services are essential. At the moment, about 54% of all small businesses in America are home-based, with many of those small businesses involving services like home care. This means that home care aides can both be self-employed and employed by an agency. Home care aides will be expected to maintain strict sanitation standards, as many of their charges will be more vulnerable to the virus than the average person. But as people look to return to the workforce in a changed environment, those with medical training or certifications may want to pursue careers that have to do with healthcare, even if they aren’t going to work directly in hospitals.
Looking into business news magazines, those seeking employment may be surprised to find that the healthcare industry is far larger than they might initially think. Medical equipment stores, as well as companies that manufacture medical equipment, would be deemed essential in most areas. Furthermore, companies responsible for transporting patients to and from the hospital would similarly be essential. Those that aren’t necessarily ready to open their own businesses can seek employment from such companies, even if they don’t have experience in the healthcare field. Receptionists and drivers, or even assistants can potentially find employment during the pandemic where they’d previously lost it. This is one reason why essential businesses will become even more crucial to the economy. As there is more demand placed upon these businesses by a less-active society, potential employment opportunities may open within them. Those seeking such employment opportunities should stay active on business news sites in order to remain on top of what essential business fields are producing the most new jobs. Certainly, the healthcare field will be among the most pressed.
Non-Essential: The Beauty Industry
Prior to the pandemic, the beauty industry was actually on an upswing. Business news sites were plastered with articles regarding the meteoric rise of certain cosmetics brands. Regular grocery stores like Target began to carry more cosmetic brands to satisfy a growing interest in consumers. Meanwhile, the competition between industry retail giants Ulta and Sephora created a rise in sales. However, the COVID-19 crisis has underscored how non-essential beauty is. Brick and mortar beauty stores have been closed until further notice in many areas.
Now, this is not necessarily a major issue for the dominant retail suppliers and major brands. These stores and brands can typically sell their products online, delivering them straight to consumers. Furthermore, historically the industry has remained relatively impervious to major crises. Consumers, even when short on money, often find a way to pay for beauty products and services due to a deep desire for them.
Small businesses like hair salons are facing bigger problems. A small business owner or a business that provides services more than products will face a major financial impact if consumers are unable to visit them. Larger chain hair salons may compensate somewhat by selling hair care products online, but many hair stylists may face losing their jobs. They can, however, potentially make up some of the ground lost by offering to visit clients at their homes one-on-one. This does present something of a risk, unless all parties have been practicing proper social distancing. However, if everyone is being responsible it does present a potential option for hair stylists that need to make a living during the pandemic. This follows a similar model to that already used by makeup artists, who work as independent contractors. With that being said, it would be important for these contractors to consult with their local laws, to ensure that they were working legally.
Essential: Home Maintenance
Unfortunately, the types of problems that can plague a house do not disappear during the COVID-19 pandemic. People still need to make sure that their homes are being maintained. This is why most states allow home improvement stores to stay open. Furthermore, it’s often possible for those providing home improvement or repair services to continue to provide such services. This would include plumbers, roofing contractors, and more. Similarly to independent contractors, many of these small business owners would be visiting clients’ homes when working. In many cases, they are being advised to work while clients are aware and to generally minimize contact as much as possible.
The more essential a small business is, of course, the more demand there will be for its services. While a home repair company will likely be able to stay open, this doesn’t mean that all employees will be able to keep working at the same capacity that they were before the crisis. For example, plumbers will likely be able to maintain their demand, as people will keep having the same plumbing problems that they did before the pandemic. Contractors that source a lot of their work from clients seeking to build new homes or new additions may struggle. Many people will be focused more on maintaining their finances and health, especially as the country faces a new wave of job loss. Those that are looking to stop foreclosure on their homes will not give much focus to improving those homes. Rather, they will seek out home improvement specialists to help them with repairs. Companies seeking to pivot to more sustainable client bases may very well look into business news magazines and sites for recommendations. In fact, some may want to invest in advertising through local business news networks and magazines, in order to spread the word about their own companies in a different light. Many essential businesses must take on a more utilitarian outlook in order to thrive during the pandemic.
Non-Essential: Self-Help And Hobbies
Prior to COVID-19, there were perhaps more successful businesses with a technically “superfluous” angle than ever. Clearly, this can be seen through the aforementioned rise of the beauty industry. Many people had money to spend on things like “self-help” and hobby businesses, which often provided services and products that were not strictly necessary, but improved consumers’ lives in other ways. For example, an art supplies store would not be truly essential, even if it provided the supplies consumers needed for their favorite hobbies and pursuits. These types of businesses would likely need to close down during the crisis.
This would extend to those that provided coaching services. Life coaches have become particularly popular as of late. Many life coaches or business coaches in fact aided small business owners looking to aim and launch their own companies. Understandably, there may be less of a demand for these types of services in the current climate. For that matter, their offices will likely be deemed non-essential by most state governments. Of course, it is often possible for these coaches to continue providing their services remotely, either by phone or video chat. All of this being said, many small business owners are potentially eligible for loans that will help them stay sustained through the pandemic. Many of those loans can be further explored through business news websites.
Essential: Legal Offices
While lawyers may not seem to be immediately essential, in fact, they do offer essential services. Some lawyers may specialize in areas of the law that may not seem to be of the highest immediate priority. However, they cannot immediately abandon their practices and must continue to work with clients. Other lawyers will be actively needed during the pandemic, especially as the crisis causes a number of side effects like job loss and the potential lawsuits that could follow, foreclosures, and the number of medical crises currently happening. In that respect, it’s no surprise that lawyers have been deemed essential.
In terms of how lawyers will continue to practice during the pandemic, there is some room for variation. A number of lawyers do work within physical legal offices and meet clients there. Although these offices need to be maintained in accordance with state guidelines, many will have the opportunity to remain open. Conversely, those that do not need to work within their offices could communicate with clients remotely. Many lawyers already rely upon phone and email for communications. Of course, much of what a lawyer is able to do right now, depending on the cases they handle, may very well be stalled. A number of courts have been put on hold, or are only seeing a limited number of immediately urgent cases. This means that many lawyers may see their work slow. Furthermore, a number of clients may be put under new financial strain, which may necessitate lawyers to work with them in a way they wouldn’t have before.
Clearly, there will be a lot of debate over what constitutes an essential business. The types of businesses that we are used to seeing on business news networks may not necessarily make “the cut”. With that being said, it’s not impossible to seek new business opportunities, as the pandemic itself will create some. In this case, business news outlets may stand as valuable resources. Business news outlets can provide ideas, and furthermore create a guideline for future business owners to follow that may prove invaluable in these strange times.