Pandemic-induced lockdowns across the country have been disastrous to small business. And even as businesses reopen and retail sales start rebound, the economy has a long way to go to make a full recovery.
While such economic uncertainty is scary, it’s also an opportunity for entrepreneurs, according to Kevin O’Leary.
“There’s so much opportunity in chaos,” O’Leary told CNBC Make It on May 6. “[I]t’s a wonderful time to start a business.”
A great place to start is with an online business, he says.
That’s because as consumers stayed home to contain the spread of Covid-19, online shopping surged. From the beginning of March through mid-April, e-commerce spending was up more than 30% compared with the same period last year, according to market research firm Rakuten Intelligence.
And O’Leary believes online sales “will continue to grow” as the economy reopens.
“The challenge is acquiring customers, but everybody sitting at home doing social media. Take advantage of that,” he says. “You know, people are just spending time looking at their laptops. Why don’t you be one of the people offering a product or service right now?”
“Take advantage” of technology, which makes it “so easy to get into business,” he says.
“You’ve got to create a product or service to communicate directly to people with whether they be just domestic or international. You have to think of something that you can use technology to reach out to people, that you can find a way to take an idea, sell a product or service to people online,” he says. “People are getting used to buying products and services directly.”
Even in dire circumstances, “there’s always, always an opportunity,” he says. “And today … there’s going to be plenty.”
The potential for innovation during the pandemic has O’Leary excited for the next crop of pitches on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where he stars as an investor.
“Frankly, I can’t wait to tape this year’s segments of ‘Shark Tank.’ I’m going to see all kinds of new products that no one ever thought could happen,” he says. “But now, [the entrepreneurs are] going to solve problems as a result of the new normal, whatever that is.”
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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