Yes! Don’t believe me? GM was founded in 1908 on the heels of the 1907 financial crisis. Burger King started slinging beef patties amid the post-Korean War recession. William Hewlett and David Packard formed the genesis of Hewlett-Packard during a recession in the late 1930s. The Great Recession, which lasted from 2007 to 2009, saw the birth of Uber, Airbnb, Square, Groupon and Venmo. With these historic indicators in mind, all signs point to 2021 being the year of the startup. 

I know it’s hard to believe that a year filled with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment rates, civil unrest in response to police brutality, and murder hornets could create anything positive. But 2021 is prime time for entrepreneurs looking to get their ideas off the ground, and here’s why.  

Future founders realized they had nothing to lose.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is sacred. Jobs once thought to be secure were lost. Companies considered too big to fail went under, and unshakable industries were rocked to their core. Many decided if they were going down because of losses caused by lockdowns and stay at home orders, they would bet on themselves and go down on their own ideas. According to an article, June to September of 2020 saw the founding of nearly 1.4 million startups. A record-setting 49 percent increase over the second quarter and a 67 percent increase over the previous startup high in the third-quarter of 2018.

They had time

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down life as we knew it. Bars and restaurants closed, broadway canceled shows, movie theaters sat empty. We even went over 100 consecutive days without sports, something that hadn’t happened since 1918! Quarantine gave founders time and opportunity to think, plan and create. Now we just have to sit back and see which companies stand the test of time.

New problems require new solutions.

Pivot quickly became the word of 2020 as entrepreneurs found ways to sell in-person experiences over zoom, build safe outdoor gathering spaces and create contactless payment and delivery methods designed to keep themselves, their employees and customers as safe and distanced as possible. As we continue finding ways to navigate our new normal, there’s no doubt that startups will continue finding ways to make our lives easier. And with more people open to new, cheaper options, now is the time to do it. 

Agility and flexibility are always in style.

A wise person once said, “new problems require new solutions.” This is where a startups’ ability to move quickly and make changes based on where they fit in the market comes into play. Small changes in uncertain times can have a major impact. And at times like these, good people need work, giving entrepreneurs a leg up on attracting qualified talent they might not have been able to before. More importantly, smart investors are on the hunt for startups that are built lean with good habits. So buckle up and get ready to move fast and break things. 

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