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Why You Should Start A Small Business in Canada in 2021

3 Reasons Why You Should Launch Your Recession-Proof Business Today.

pop art business man thinking to himself, "start a business in canada, eh!?"

The only thing scarier than surviving a global pandemic? Starting a small business in the middle of one.

It's statistically official. The COVID health crisis led to severe economic fallout, with Statistics Canada recently reporting that 2020 was the worst economy on record (5.4% decline). Canada’s brick and mortar, mainstreet businesses have borne the brunt of the economic collapse. Given this dire news, you're probably thinking "you can't seriously think now is a good time to start a new business!?" And to that we'd say, you're right, except…

Starting an innovative business during an economic recession is actually a great idea.

The past year has been nerve-wracking for all and painfully destructive for some, but it’s also created unprecedented opportunities for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs with hot new business ideas and innovative solutions.

From bootstrapped startups to work-from-home hustles to totally new niches for entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, here are 3 reasons why you should start a business in 2021 and turn this adversity into economic opportunity.

1. Recessions create problems. Customers want new solutions.

Big companies become less focused on innovation during hard times, whereas lean startups (like yours) can provide unique solutions to new problems or an improvement over the conventional solution. Small business ideas that deliver innovation (e.g. saving people time, money or effort) are pandemic-proof and recession risk-free.

Real Life Example: During the 2008 Financial Crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and struggled to hang onto their cars and homes. That's when Uber and Airbnb emerged. Their apps enabled people to turn 'idle' personal assets into game-changing, life-altering, money-making opportunities. (Sidenote: read Airbnb’s incredible - and originally bootstrapped - story here).

Today, Airbnb and Uber are global powerhouses and industry pioneers. Did you ever imagine that hopping into a stranger’s car or sleeping in their bed would be a thing? Love 'em or hate 'em, they accelerated the Sharing Economy (consumers), created flexible, part-time work (labour) and birthed boutique side-businesses (industry). And the humble origin of it all?

Identifying a previously-untapped economic opportunity and transforming it into burgeoning global business. And changing the world as we know it, forever.

Startup Takeaway: Did you ever imagine Zoom meetings in your pajama bottoms or wearing a face mask to walk the dog? Probably not. Similarly, some of the thriving industries of the past year are innovative business ideas or twists on 'everyday ordinary' during extraordinary times.

In 2021, some of the best small business ideas to start in Canada and make money include:

  • Fitness equipment and online fitness classes

  • Landscaping and yard care

  • Telehealth and home healthcare services and healthcare products

  • Online work and socialization platforms

  • Remote working solutions

  • Mail order subscription boxes

  • Home improvement and home decor, including home office

  • Cooking and baking supplies or crafts, hobbies and outdoor toys for kids

  • Digital courses and e-commerce platforms

A business by-product of the new business ideas listed above? Heightened demand for associated professional services such accountants, lawyers, marketers and small business consultants. (We're pretty sure that cardboard manufacturers are having a record year, too!)

2. You’ll have fewer competitors

Entrepreneurism always favours the brave and the bold, and never does this ring more true than when starting a small business during a pandemic-plus-recession.

During economic booms, moods are high, sales are effortless and access to capital is easy. Downturns present a unique opportunity for fearless entrepreneurs to invest their passion, grit and ingenuity towards starting a small business that has to defy the odds - quickly and cost effectively.

Canada is particularly business-friendly, ranked 3rd behind the United States and the United Kingdom by StartupBlink, a Swiss-based website that provides data on the best places for starting a business. Early on and throughout the pandemic, small businesses in Canada had access to financial breaks and incentives, such as the Ontario Small Business Support Grant for COVID relief.

Starting a business during COVID involves more risk, but the risk yields more opportunity if you have a great business idea alongside a great product or service - plus less competition chasing the same customer.

Real Life Example: did you know that beloved Mickey Mouse was born during tough times? At the height of the Great Depression, Walt and Roy Disney were creating cartoons in their garage using innovative animation technology and synchronized sound. Their upbeat, fantastical cartoons - an antidote to bleak economic times - were an instant success.

While this pioneering animation wasn’t unique to Walt Disney Studios, a more cautious company may not have started a risky and unproven venture during these financially disastrous times. But Fortune favours the bold. For the iconic Disney brand, we’re talking about a serious fortune.

Startup Takeaway: While the timid entrepreneur waits for better times, you can be growing your audience, recording sales and dominating your niche now. Start lean, move fast and focus on the right strategies to get you out of the gate and leaps ahead of the competition.

3. The good times will come rolling back

"Much like the world bounced back after the 1918 flu pandemic, some Statistics Canada data reveal Canada could be "heading for a period of economic, social and artistic innovation."

- “Will we have a 'roaring 20s'?” LinkedIn News, March 2021

Despite today’s grim economic shakedown, two positive outcomes have emerged: higher consumer savings coupled with pent-up consumer demand. (The perfect combination for small business owners!)

Consumer spending helps fuel North America’s economic engine. The eventual and inevitable return to life’s pleasures - shop, dine, travel and events - will likely lead to an overindulgence for these long-missed experiences. And a related surge in spending.

Real Life Example: Mailchimp, the email marketing platform beloved by many small business owners, is the story of survival of two economic recessions. The first recession, the dot com crash of the early 2000s, required them to change direction and provide affordable email services.

Mailchimp was forced to pivot once again during the 2008 financial crisis. In response to declining customer spending, they switched to a free version of their email service (a radical move at the time) and only charged for premium upgrades. This ‘freemium’ model saw their user base grow by a staggering 500% in one year and helped catapult them to industry leadership and market share domination.

Startup Takeaway: If you can successfully launch and grow your small business during a devastating recession and global pandemic, your business can probably survive anything. Staying lean and agile when starting a new small business in a recession enables you to grow and thrive when the economy rebounds.


This IS the time to launch. There are new business opportunities, you just need to find yours. After that, remember that starting a new business in a recession requires you to be super fast, focused and productive. Your ‘startup runway’ for sales lift-off is shorter than in good times, so you need to be crazy-efficient to get off the ground and monetizing your business

The good news? If you take the leap and start an innovative small business in Canada in 2021, you’ll master best business practices such as rigorous efficiency, strategic spending and client-centric solutions. You’ll confidently know how to start a business that is pandemic-proof and success-assured.


ZipLaunch helps solopreneurs and small business owners build a 6-figure business with hands-on, 1-day workshops that drive real results and get you fast, focused and productive. See whether ZipLaunch is right for you.

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