Small business owners in college towns across the U.S. are hoping for the best when students return — and bracing for the worst (Aug. 28)

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Is this a good time or a bad time to start a business? What if I told you it is a great time?

I have long thought that recessions are, in fact, excellent times to start businesses. While speaking recently with the smart and passionate Marcus Lemonis, star of the “The Profit” on CNBC, he agreed.

Recessions could work well for startups for a few reasons:

► Startups require passion and commitment, and those facing financial uncertainty have those traits in spades.

► Essential startup costs are cheaper in recessions. I.e. rent, advertising, labor, etc.

Lemonis added another very important reason: There is a lot of money available for startups right now. “With the (Small Business Administration) being more generous than ever with their guidelines, and with more cash on the sidelines than there has been in years,” the time could be opportune to launch a startup.

Lemonis suggested that we all should be looking to especially support those entrepreneurs and business who have been historically challenged.

In the new season of “The Profit” for example, Lemonis is casting for entrepreneurs who have been “underrepresented by the capital and educational markets.”

More: Capital One, GoFundMe and others launch group to support small businesses through a consumer movement

I loved his commitment to small business when we spoke; it’s the same passion and commitment you see on his show – and these days, you can also see it live Tuesdays on Instagram.

What’s the ‘hot’ business?

So this all begs the question, what type of business should you start? Lemonis suggests that you have to look for “voids in the market” – things like cleaning services, food delivery, etc.

And let me add one more: Online business are hot and smart right now.

More: New businesses can make it or break it during the pandemic by using just one word

How do you catch a fish? You throw a hook in a spot where a lot of fish congregate. With everyone and everything moving online, does it not make sense that you should throw your new business hook where the fish are? Yes, and that place is online.

The key is to have:

► A good idea (a subject for another day) and;

► A great online presence (a subject for today)

There are all sorts of ways to get your new business online: You could hire a web designer to build you a WordPress site, you could do it yourself for free, or you could use an online service. I know of many fine ones – Wix and Shopify, among others – but let’s focus on one that I know and like best and who has an amazing offer right now: Yahoo Small Business, called Get Online.

Get Online is a free program designed to help small businesses establish and improve their digital presence. Originally launched to help small businesses (new and old alike) during the coronavirus pandemic, Get Online was extended until the end of the year. It can help businesses get a domain, build a website, get custom email addresses, draft a business plan, and get access to Yahoo’s flagship small business platform, Business Maker.

Daniel Reyes and his partner opened a cleaning business in 2007, but they were forced to close it five years later. This past March, with COVID-19 and job losses, they decided to try again (Lemonis’ words seem almost prophetic). The businessis again Kenmore Kleaning.

Our new emphasis for cleaning equaled a new opportunity, only this time, Reyes knew they needed a differentiator: A great, professional website.

Reyes used the Yahoo offer to get online with a modern, great website (including video, Facebook Messenger and more.) Reyes says he expects their new site to “separate us from the competition.”

So yes, the time is now. I bet Reyes and his partner are going to, well, clean up! And I bet you can too.

Steve Strauss is an attorney, popular speaker and the best-selling author of 17 books, including “The Small Business Bible.” You can learn more about Steve at, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed, and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.

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