B.C’s big bets: 5 best businesses to start out West

6 min read
Leighton Burley

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start your own business in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering what are the best businesses to start now?

The next decade promises to be an exhilarating time for business development globally.

While technological advances may nullify some existing jobs, they’ll likely create new startups — possibly even entire industries.

In this article, we’re going to explore the five best businesses to start in B.C. in 2021 and look at where certain industries may be headed.

Let’s get into it!

5 best businesses to start in 2021

In order to stay afloat in the next decade, businesses will need to predict and adapt quickly to technological changes or risk being left behind. Here are the five best businesses to start in B.C. right now:

1. Start an eCommerce retail business

Close-up of brightly colored clothes on a store rack

Topping our list of best businesses to start this year is the ever-growing eCommerce industry.

Even though Amazon is currently the largest eCommerce retailer in the world, there’s still room for smaller online businesses to focus on specific (or niche) products.

Many entrepreneurs start off by specializing in a specific hobby or craft they enjoy and then set up shop online. Hone in on areas that interest you and build your own eCommerce brand from there. A few things you could consider selling include:

  • Clothes
  • Art
  • Custom jewelry
  • Repurposed home goods

If you need help setting up your online website, Godaddy’s Online Store is one good way to create a visually stunning eCommerce store yourself. It comes with a shopping cart, a variety of payment and shipping options and a raft of marketing tools to promote your new online shop.

Related: 5-step guide to new product development

2. Develop educational technology or software

Since the pandemic hit, many educational institutions have shifted towards virtual learning. Even well-established colleges, such as Harvard University, are rethinking their traditional university settings.

For many students, a virtual learning environment allows them to maintain some semblance of a regular lifestyle at home. It’s far more appealing to them than uprooting their lives and moving on-campus.

The COVID-19 pandemic expedited this shift to virtual learning, while also increasing the demand for improvements in educational technology.

However, the move towards virtual learning is not exclusive to colleges and universities. Many K-12 schools and professional work spaces are also exploring the potential of utilizing ed-tech as a learning resource.

Overhead view of two people meeting via zoom

Just look at the rise in software produced by these companies:

  • Zoom
  • Airtable
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Adobe

Looking at these growth trends suggest that there’s plenty of opportunity within the ed-tech startup space to develop something innovative. This demand is only expected to increase in the future — allowing new market entries to thrive and prosper.

3. Offer your own digital skills to other businesses

As businesses fight to ride out the economic trials of the pandemic, owners are grasping for every strategic advantage they can gain over their competitors.

Rather than hire full-time employees in these uncertain times, they hire outside help from people that specialize in certain fields. This makes it a good time to promote skills such as:

  • Web design
  • Content writing
  • Social media
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

These types of services are crucial for businesses wanting to keep in touch with their socially distanced customer base. Anyone with these skills can provide them on the side of a full-time job for extra income.

However, if you don’t have a knack for digital marketing, there are other in-demand options to explore such as:

  • Becoming a virtual assistant
  • Teaching online classes
  • Writing resumes or cover letters

The best way to start such a service is by asking your friends, family and professional contacts for tips on who might need your skills.

4. Invent a new mobile app

Modern consumers expect companies to provide better, faster, and cheaper products/services more than ever before. As our economy moves towards speed, personalization and convenience, mobile technology is becoming an ever-larger part of our daily lives.

With this shift comes an increased demand for mobile technology (aka mobile eCommerce) to reshape various aspects of our daily lives.

Industries like transportation, food, hospitality, and shopping have already been reshaped by services like:

  • Uber
  • DoorDash
  • Airbnb
  • Amazon

Still, many other industries have yet to be reshaped by mobile technology, a key reason why we consider it one of the best businesses to start. We’re only experiencing the beginning of the tech age, as many aspects of our daily lives shift to on-the-go modernization.

Read more about what’s involved in creating a mobile app here.

Related: Mobile commerce: What it is and why it can't be ignored in 2021

5. Share your expertise with others

Providing people with informational content has fueled many an online startup. The idea is to choose a focus or self-improvement topic you explore online through:

Podcast-quality microphone sitting on a table
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Online videos
  • Social media platforms

Whether it’s offering lifestyle advice on how to eat healthier or interviewing experts in fields like real estate or finances, there are lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs to brand themselves as experts or people-in-the-know in a niche field.

Many are monetizing their efforts by offering downloadable content like:

  • Webinars
  • eBooks
  • White pages

But don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. The first step is choosing your platform, then finding your niche audience and building your startup business from there.

The benefits of starting an online business now

COVID-19 fast-tracked the move to online sales and saw a huge increase in eCommerce from 2019 to 2020. Many traditional brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to adapt to changing health regulations (quicker than anticipated) or shut down completely due to lack of business.

Startups that were able to make these changes proved to be better equipped at surviving the pandemic — and better positioned for future growth.

Online businesses are here to stay for the long haul and it’s worth taking action to start your own online business now.

Final thoughts

As technological advances continue to reshape the way we work and live, entrepreneurs have more incentive than ever to introduce creative, modern solutions into the marketplace.

Even though each of these industries has established competitors, there’s always public appetite for a fresh option that shakes up the status quo with newer, better ideas.

Technology is here to stay, and it will soon be woven into almost every aspect of our daily lives. The best businesses to start within the coming years will be those that can accurately predict and quickly respond to changing technology and unique challenges.

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