COVID-19 has brought major disruptions in the business world, creating new opportunities, and presenting new challenges. If you have been thinking about being an entrepreneur, the Coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your passion.
Whether you have identified a new business opportunity or you simply want to be independent, here are a few helpful tips to help you start and run a successful business during a period of uncertainty.
1) Consider Consumer Needs
The first step when starting a business is identifying a need in society and providing a solution. Ensure that your business meets the current needs of your target market, and that you are doing it better than your competitors.
For example, the pandemic has forced most people to stay home, which means increased demand for online education, delivery services, and even remote personal care services. It has also shifted consumer behavior to largely focus on essential goods and services while limiting attention to luxury goods.
You should conduct in-depth market research for insight on the needs of your target market, and how your business fits into the picture to provide a solution. Don’t forget to analyze your business risks during and after the pandemic so you can set up strategies to mitigate them.
2) Go Digital
The coronavirus outbreak has shown that most businesses can operate virtually ranging from fitness to online classes and shopping. When starting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider going digital and making some aspects of your business such as customer service virtual. You can also decide to take your brand online if you already have a brick and mortar business. This is because a majority of consumers conduct online research of a product or service before making a purchase.
Create a website and invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to help you grow your brand’s visibility online. As more people use social media during the pandemic, you should capitalize on this to create brand awareness on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
3) Have A Long-Term Strategy
While it is important to look at the current business environment and tailor your start-up to fit the current consumer needs, keep in mind that the pandemic won’t be here forever. What is relevant now may not be relevant in a few years to come after the pandemic is over.
Always have a long-term strategy in your business plan so that you can retain and expand your customer base post-COVID-19. This calls for flexibility when creating a business plan as it will ensure that you adapt to change when it becomes necessary, thus guaranteeing the continuity of your business.
4) Hire Freelancers
Starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic presents extra challenges that may slow the growth of your business. This means you may not afford to hire permanent or in-house employees to help you run the business.
Hiring freelancers is a cost-effective option you can explore, and you can source them from online platforms such as UpWork, LinkedIn, and even Craiglist. This saves you money in terms of office space and equipment as well as in salaries and benefits. This is because you will only have to pay freelancers on the services rendered.
Another advantage of hiring freelancers is that you get to choose from a wide pool of talented professionals globally. This gives you access to the expertise you would otherwise not afford to hire as a start-up, but at a fraction of the cost. However, if you must employ staff,talk to an employment lawyer to ensure you comply with the relevant labor laws.
5) Prioritize Safety
As COVID-19 continues to affect thousands of people and businesses across the world, you need to put the safety of your staff and customers first when starting a business during this time. If you plan on setting up a physical store, ensure that you put in place recommended safety measures and protocols to help minimize the spread of the virus. This will not only secure the health of your clients and staff but also make consumers more confident doing business with you.
It’s worth finding ways to ensure your store is set up in a way that allows for physical distancing, even if it will only be needed in the short-term. You should also factor costs related to things such as American Made PPE and sanitizer into your budgets early on.
Other than the safety of your staff and clients, you also need to secure your company’s data if you operate online. This means investing in cybersecurity which will also safeguard your customers’ personal information and payment details when performing online transactions.
While it may seem unconventional, starting a business in the time of COVID-19 may be the best thing to do because there’s little competition for resources. Remember not to give up when faced with challenges during this period but use them as stepping stones to building a robust business that will stand the test of time. The above tips should help you kick start your entrepreneurial journey as well as sustain your new business post-pandemic.