Orangeville, ON (James Doan) This is a troublesome time to be a business owner. Many don’t feel confident that their business will be back to pre-COVID-19 levels a year from now.

This is a confusing and stressful time, but for those ready to seize the opportunity, the possibilities are wide open.

Despite the added costs of safety measures, including workplace and customer safety, we see the cost of running a small business declining. Smaller, lighter and smarter systems, components and manufacturing methods are being developed. Intelligent machines instead of people, or people in partnership with those machines do more work. What happens to workers, and what happens to the companies that depend on their purchasing power?

The playing field between large and small businesses will be more level and often more collaborative. For more effective competition, they both will rely on each other’s capabilities.

The global marketplace will be more interconnected. Small businesses will find fresh opportunities in specialized product and service niches. They will meet customized demands of their customers. Technology-enabled networks and marketplaces will be better at deploying talent than traditional companies.

What will the future of education be? On-demand learning will outperform traditional learning institutes in keeping skills up to date.