woman smiling brainstorming with wheels turning in the background From creative services to commercial cleaning, there are several industries with an abundance of business opportunities as we head into 2021. — Getty Images/ismagilov

In our Startup2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the new business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can to take toward launching your business in 2021.

As the events of 2020 proved, difficult times can lend themselves to new and prosperous opportunities. Despite the pandemic and tense social climate, many businesses and industries made a quick pivot and defined the oft-mentioned "new normal" for entrepreneurs and consumers alike.

If you're looking to start a business in 2021, start by exploring ideas in these industries that have been successful during COVID-19.

[Read: 10 Businesses You Can Start During a Pandemic]

Industries that have thrived during COVID-19

E-commerce

Brick-and-mortar retail took a hit in 2020, but online sales have gone through the roof. In the first half of the year, e-commerce sales were up more than 30% from the same period in 2019. By creating an e-commerce shop, you can engage with and sell to customers anywhere, from the comfort of their homes. Simply choose niche products you’d like to sell (or hand-craft your own!) and start growing your brand.

Delivery

With so many people unable or hesitant to leave their homes, the delivery industry boomed during the pandemic. While titans like Instacart and Uber Eats have a strong hold on grocery and food delivery services, there is still a high demand for other types of delivery and errand services that you may be able to meet.

Commercial cleaning

With health and safety on the forefront of everyone's minds, commercial cleaning services play an important role in keeping brick-and-mortar establishments like restaurants, gyms and salons clean and sanitized. As corporate offices begin to reopen and bring remote workers back on-premises, they'll also be looking for a commercial cleaning service to disinfect their workstations.

[Read: 7 Service-Based Business Ideas That Will Be in High Demand]

Having that entrepreneurial drive is a good first step, but how do you narrow down your options to find the best business idea for you?

Health and wellness

The coronavirus has led many to value their health in ways they hadn't before, causing them to reconsider their diet, exercise routine and other health habits. This increased spotlight on health has led to many different types of business opportunities in the industry, including virtual services (for instance, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist or health coach) and selling wellness products online.

Creative services and consulting

Marketing has gone almost all-digital in the COVID era, and reaching consumers through social media, email marketing, blogs and other digital channels has become a top priority for many businesses. There's plenty of room for creative professionals and consultants who want to help these brands nail their messaging and communications. Depending on your areas of expertise, you can offer direct services as a copywriter, social media manager, graphic designer, SEO specialist or web designer, or simply offer consulting services to help businesses plan their strategies.

How to choose the right business idea for you in 2021

Having that entrepreneurial drive is a good first step, but how do you narrow down your options to find the best business idea for you? You can start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  • What industry experience do I have? While previous experience in an industry is not a prerequisite for launching a successful business, knowing the field well can give you an advantage.
  • What am I most passionate about? The thing you're good at isn't necessarily the thing you love to do. Consider what business idea and type of work excites you and makes you feel fulfilled.
  • What does current and future market demand for my idea look like? Do your research and figure out how other companies in your field of interest are faring and what their demand might look like in a post-COVID world. Businesses that are seeing a current surge and will likely have sustained interest even after the pandemic are the best ones to pursue right now.
  • Do I know anyone who has started this type of business? Getting advice from other entrepreneurs who have been there can help you understand exactly what's involved and whether you'll be able to meet the potential challenges of launching this type of business.

Once you've answered these questions, you'll likely have a better picture of which business idea is the most feasible, not only in terms of market demand, but also your own passion, skills and interests.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 22, 2020