WASHINGTON DC – The coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath could transform the landscape for U.S. businesses. With a larger remote workforce, expanded delivery options and lingering health fears likely to last long after the pandemic is under control, business owners and entrepreneurs are asking tough questions and bracing for an uncertain future.
Businesses that pay richly for offices and storefronts in bustling downtowns are reconsidering whether high rents and tight crowds still make sense. A national wipeout of small businesses may leave plenty of vacated real estate for major companies to fill. And shortfalls in federal aid for struggling businesses could deepen the economic damage to be repaired when the pandemic subsides.
“We know that we’ve lost a lot of small businesses. New businesses are the way that we should be focused on filling those gaps,” said John Lettieri, president and CEO of the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a think tank focused on entrepreneurship.
“You really have to put the pedal down on jobs, on business creation both to help fill the loss —the missing pieces of small businesses that have died off — but also to pick up the slack in the labor market,” he added.