The corona virus pandemic has affected how businesses operate around the world. Some entrepreneurs shifted to online platforms to continue servicing their clients. Others decided to close their shops due to a lack of customers and drastic financial losses. In the U.S. alone, nearly 164,000 businesses have closed between March and August due to the outbreak. Of these, around 60% will not reopen anymore even after the pandemic subsides.
But as more shops close, more entrepreneurs are pushing through with their business ventures despite the pandemic. Applications
Among those that applied, small business owners are the most optimistic. Around 60% of them believe that they can operate beyond six months and even during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Verizon poll.
Opening a business during these unprecedented times can be quite risky. But no one says that it’s not possible. Smart entrepreneurs will likely take advantage of the situation and seize the opportunity of setting up a new venture. Here are a few suggestions on how you can start your business and ensure its success during and even after the pandemic:
1. Know what the consumers want.
The current health crisis has significantly changed how consumers behave. Before putting up a business, identify your target audience, and find out what products and services they spend their money on. Business experts have noticed that food services, gaming, as well as health and wellness products are gaining much popularity amid the outbreak.
Several studies have also shown that American consumers are more likely to support businesses that offer sustainable products. Eighty-eight percent of consumers in the U.S. and the UK want companies to use eco-friendly materials for packaging such as reusable organic produce bags and paper bags instead of plastic. This practice can help you attract more customers, build a positive image, and save the environment all at the same time.
2. Consider your financial capabilities.
Opening a business is a huge financial risk, especially during a crisis like the pandemic. Before starting a new venture, make sure that you are financially able to keep it going. If you consider quitting your full-time job for good, make sure that you have enough savings to keep your business running and to save you from possible pitfalls along the way. You can’t expect to see returns of investment until after three months, at the very least. Hence, having enough money saved up is critical for the first few months.
You may also avail of business loans, but make sure that you have a good credit standing for you to get accepted.
3. Expand your digital footprint.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked digitalization globally. As a result, more consumers are doing their shopping online amidlockdownsand social distancing measures. The number of Americans shopping online weekly rose to 36% during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 28% before the outbreak started.
Start expanding your digital presence by creating a social media account. Post interesting and original content that will entice people to visit your page. This can help you reach a wider audience and promote your product with little to no extra cost.
Aside from this, building an e-commerce site for your business should be a top priority. Experts say that having an e-commerce platform can help business owners boost their sales up. In fact, e-commerce now accounts for 16.1% of all sales in the U.S., with Americans spending at least $200 billion on online purchases.
4. Build your professional network.
Aim to create a network of experts and skilled professionals who can help you develop an effective business plan. Find mentors who can educate you further on the ins and outs of the business, especially when you’re just starting. Networking with the right people can help you attract investors and grow your business to success.
5. Plan for the future.
Develop a long-term strategy to expand your business. Explicitly provide your business goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. Consider the possible changes that you must adopt in your operations, especially in the new normal. You must also include contingency strategies that will let you operate even during future emergencies. Having a concrete business plan will help you gain potential investors easily. This will also help you become more resilient and better-prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Launching a business in the middle of a crisis is a huge financial risk. But if you play your cards right and embrace these simple suggestions, it might be a risk worth taking.