How to Succeed: Bad Economy Business Ideas in 2021

Tough times are ahead. The coronavirus pandemic is already affecting thousands of businesses around the world. The economy is suffering and we are once again facing the possibility of recession.

But there is always a silver lining. Certain industries do well or even thrive in such times.

The key is to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. How will their spending decisions change? What products and services will they still need and purchase?

Even the worst situation can create new business opportunities. It is possible to alter your business or start a new one in an industry that offers security no matter how many lemons life throws at you.

Here are the bad economy business ideas you can take advantage of right now.


Grocery stores thrive equally well in good times and bad ones. After all, these cover consumers’ immediate needs. They will always need food and other essential items such as washing liquid, toothpaste and laundry detergent.

Especially now, people will cook at home more, which means they’ll buy more products from the supermarket.

It is also likely for them to stock up on (cheap) alcohol, as well as sweets to help with stress, so small businesses based on that might also survive.

Make sure to provide affordable luxury items, such as chocolate of medium quality and not too expensive makeup. That’s what sells during a recession.

A similar option is to work in food processing.

Senior and health care services

There is always a need for healthcare providers. Running a nursing or a retirement home or a pharmacy, providing medical supplies and equipment and maintaining it, creating a healthcare software - everything is of help to the public and profitable at the same time. These are recession-proof products because they fulfill people’s basic needs.

Accounting services

People and businesses will always need to pay taxes and take care of their finances - which can be even more important in difficult economic times.

During a recession, many businesses may need professional help to make sure they’re making use of all available tax benefits and keeping their finances in check. In the worst case scenario, they’ll need help when filing for bankruptcy. 

That’s why accountants are always busy.

Virtual assistance

Companies have a lot of administrative work that needs to be done. When the economy is slow, they might prefer to outsource some functions and not have expensive support staff on site.

The good thing is that the job of a virtual assistant is home based. If you feel you can work as an administrative assistant to executives, entrepreneurs, CEOs or entire businesses, go for it. This type of work is almost recession-proof.

A red car with a mechanic on a violet background.

Auto repair services

Almost everyone has a car nowadays; some households even have two or three. Right now, people are isolating themselves and using their cars instead of the public transport.

Sooner or later they’ll need the services of an auto repairman, even if they try to postpone it.

But they’ll rather repair and maintain their old car instead of buying a new car.

In general, offering a critical repair or maintenance service gives you a lot of opportunities during recession.

Naturally, starting a business like this requires you to have the necessary skills or to hire people who do.

Tutoring and IT

Education is a core value. If you’re good at something, why not share it with others?

You can give online lessons and proofread or go big and create whole online courses and e-books, videos and podcasts, webinars, or even an educational app. Technology-based services are always in demand and definitely among the best business ideas in a bad economy.

Collection agency

Demand for debt collection services will grow as more and more people fail to pay their bills or credit card payments in these tough economic times.

If you are good at working with people, consider this type of business. You can run it out of your home to reduce costs.

Other credit-related professions include repossession, credit repair services and attorney practices specializing in bankruptcy. It’s not pleasant to think about it, but these are some industries that thrive in recession.

Thrift stores

In a dying economy, people will switch from big stores to thrift stores where they can find cheaper second-hand clothes, furniture and books in good condition. The stigma around used products is gone and thrifting is quite popular now.

How to make money in bad economy: Conclusion

Of course, there is no guaranteed recession proof business, but these industries are likely to do better in economic downturns.

Here are some more bad economy business ideas for big and small business owners alike:

  • garbage or waste collection
  • (online) security services
  • vet services
  • resume writing services
  • government contracts
  • home maintenance
  • heating and ventilation services
  • baby products
  • pawn shops
  • rental agencies, landlords, property management, real estate agent,
  • working in the energy sector

Think about what customers need most and you’ll certainly come up with even more excellent ideas.

Are you ready to start or restructure a business?

Do you have a good business plan for your new undertaking or one that could help you prepare for recession?

It’s a good idea to have a skillful team of consultants by your side to make sure you have a long-term solution. We are always here to help - don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Stay safe!


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Western Industrial Zone, 2 Neptun Str.,
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