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10 Aug 2020

What if all those unemployed now were to start their own business?

The last time New Zealand experienced such high unemployment numbers was 1987. During that recession, even college graduates could not find good jobs. People were out of work for months and desperate to create some type of income to support themselves. So what did they do? Many of them started their own business. 

It took two to three years for the NZ economy to recover and for people to begin finding good jobs again. But by this time, a great many of them had successful businesses and were no longer interested in 9 to 5 jobs. 

During the pandemic, thousands of people have been out of work and it looks as if it could be a while before things return to normal. Many are struggling financially. Even those who are highly trained with college degrees cannot find employment in the same career field. As people realize that it might take months for the job market to recover, many of them are finding other ways to earn money. 

With easy access to the internet and a good computer, it turns out that there are countless ideas for new businesses. A great many new businesses have sprung up already that do nothing more than make face masks. It actually requires very little start-up capital to create a business of this type. The bad news is that these companies will all shut down once there’s no longer a need for face masks. 

Returning expats who have come back to New Zealand are finding that there is very little access to good-paying jobs. Seasonal workers who come each year to perform manual labour have not been able to find work. Even the public sector and large organisations have ceased hiring graduates. As things have unfolded, new types of jobs are being created and old types of jobs are being eliminated. This is causing quite a bit of consternation for thousands of Kiwis. 

Of course, there will always be jobs like cleaning office buildings or picking grapes. But college graduates and many others tend to shy away from those types of jobs. With the unemployment rates continuing to soar, they may be asking themselves if it’s time to go ahead and accept a job they may not really enjoy. 

Some are considering going back to university to perform additional studies. This is risky because they would be taking on more debt and the move might not pay off in the end. 

Today, tech businesses are very popular. Even if you don’t have coding skills, you can still start a tech-related company. And it could wind up being very profitable if you manage it correctly. It will affect your unemployment status and benefits though. This is something that most people are concerned about. 

What if you start a new business during this time and then lose your unemployment benefits? Then a few months down the road, your new company could fail, leaving you worse off than before. There’s always a risk in starting a new business. 

Yes, it sometimes looks bleak for Kiwis. The job market is down. People are out of work and worried the future. But there’s still great potential here for hundreds if not thousands of these people to start their own small business. 

Instead of covid-19 being something we all remember in a negative fashion, it could become the catalyst for a whole new generation of Kiwi entrepreneurs. There are so many great online tools to help new business owners these days. You can hire cheap labor from anywhere in the world using freelance sites. You can use CRM tools to manage business flow and virtual meeting apps to stay in touch with your workforce. You might even be able to get a startup funding package from the Government. 

Today, there are multiple loan options and some government grants. Many are saying that the government will provide a $10,000 grant for new start-ups. These grants are non-discretionary and broad. You can use the money however you need to without much oversight from the loan provider. 

There are countless opportunities in the domestic and export markets, as well as technology-focussed companies. Research and development is a lucrative field where entrepreneurs could create their own futures. It’s something exciting to think about and even if there were eventually thousands of these new startups created, a percentage would go on to become successful. 

Yes, a great many might fall by the wayside. But let’s say 30,000 new businesses are started and only ten percent make it for the long term. That’s 3,000 new businesses in New Zealand. These are people who will eventually need new employees. They’ll have spendable cash. They’ll buy goods and services for their company. All of this equals a brisk future economy for New Zealand. 

It is said that some good comes out of even the worst tragedies. If that’s true, then we could all see a stronger, more vibrant economy for New Zealand in the future.

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