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Small businesses during the pandemic
Through COVID-19, many small businesses shut down as they could not afford to maintain staff bills and other expenses.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one out of three small businesses closed in Connecticut. To revive economic damages, Connecticut has implemented a $50 million small business grant program which will reimburse up to $5,000 to over 10,000 businesses. Residents and business owners are trying to have faith in the new vaccines and the warm weather.
However, there are already some positives fostered from the pandemic when it comes to business. Joshua Finkel, a first-year finance major who owns Finkel Auto Detailing, began his company in May 2019.
“COVID has actually helped my business,” Finkel said. “Since most people are now working from home, it has made scheduling details for my customers much easier now that most people leave their cars at home all the time now.”
Many have found COVID-19 to be the perfect opportunity to start something new as Emily MacDonald, a senior political science major, started her business, Emily Mac Designs, in March 2021. MacDonald decided to launch her business when she got a Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine which allows her to cut out different unique designs on vinyl to customize clothes or other products.
“All of this is just a hobby for me, and trying to expand it into a small business has been pretty fun so far,” MacDonald said.
Entrepreneurship allows others to start their own businesses and explore their passions at a relatively low risk.
Starting and maintaining long-running businesses
Starting a business requires an idea and some drive to build a brand or company to include everyone. Professor Margaret Goralski, an assistant teaching professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at Quinnipiac University, shared some advice for those who are timid about diving into a new business.
“For a startup, there needs to be a desire to be innovative and fill a perceived gap,” Goralski said. “However, for long-running business success, there needs to be a desire for one to keep doing what he/she is doing. It is exciting to start a new enterprise, to hire friends and family, then add to employees as the business expands.”
While starting a business can be invigorating, maintaining and managing it comes with important questions that entrepreneurs must acknowledge to enhance their company. Goralski referred to the previous owners of Ben & Jerry’s as an example and how they had to make a vital long-term decision for their company.
“They enjoyed being entrepreneurs, traveling around the country giving out ice cream and introducing people to their product, and they enjoyed the day-to-day running of the business, but when it came time to expand and to keep Ben & Jerry’s flourishing, they decided to turn it over to people who were better at that phase of growth,” Goralski said.
The main reason why people shy away from their ideas is a lack of understanding of the market, economy and consumer wants and needs. While some of this knowledge is beneficial, personality and passion are also important. Finkel said the most successful business owners he has known carry ambition, a driven will, the ability to take risks and a desire to improve or grow. These qualities are what make the business unique.
“I’m not a business major and I’ve never taken a marketing or advertising class, so I had to do some research on my own,” MacDonald said. “Anyone can open a small business. I think you just need to be willing to dedicate time and be patient with the process.”
Students who are looking to pursue their dreams should consider what is best for them. It is never too late to take a leap of faith and open a business. If other small businesses can survive a global pandemic, rest assured, with a dream in mind and a go-getter personality, you can take the initiative. What are you waiting for?