The idea of a “new normal” shouldn't stop your dreams of starting your business, Queen. In fact, it gives you an advantage in serving potential customers in the ways they are now looking to be served.
We are all familiar with the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but we like to say, “When life hands you dirt, plant seeds.”
The task of starting a business during the coronavirus may seem challenging at first, but the truth is that starting a business any time can be tough. However, it can pay off if you take the right steps.
This is the time to identify new business opportunities and transform how you operate. Take advantage of that. Yes, this is an economically difficult time for many of us, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent your business.
If you are looking into starting a business during COVID-19 or pivoting your current business, here are 6 tips to keep in mind:
1. Determine why you’re going into business. Take some time to think about why you want to pursue starting a business at this time. Your "why" can range from being passionate about an offering or service you can provide, to wanting to make a difference in your community, and fulfill a need for consumers. Maybe, you're just ready to take a risk and go out on your own after going through a coronavirus-related layoff.
Once you know the "why," you can set clear goals for your business. These goals may be on a short- and long-term basis. You should be able to understand what makes your business unique, choose a business model, and draft a business plan. Lastly, you'll need to incorporate your company as a business structure, such as a limited liability company (LLC), to protect your assets with liability protection and establish credibility with consumers.
2. Start as a side hustle. Many successful entrepreneurs started their business as a side hustle and cultivated it as they kept working at their primary source of income. If you still have a day job, you may want to consider holding onto it until your business is providing you with a livable income.
Slowly build that side hustle by investing your time and energy into it after hours. If you work hard and truly have a unique product to sell, the money will eventually come.
3. Decide what tasks you can do—and what you need to delegate. If you're starting a business during COVID-19 and thinking you can run every aspect—from social media to accounting to administrative tasks—you can burn out quickly. Instead, choose which ones you can actually do and then find help for the rest.
You'll preserve more of your energy and focus on the essential tasks only you can do. The ones you can't do, delegate those to someone else. Respect yourself, your capabilities, and your limitations.
4. Hire freelancers. You may not have the funds to take on full-time or even part-time employees when you're starting a business during the coronavirus. Instead, hire freelancers, who are going to be much more affordable and convenient.
You can find affordable freelancers on sites like Upwork and Fiverr who can do everything from marketing to content writing, web design, social media management, and graphic design. Plus, you will only have to pay them for services rendered, rather than a salary and benefits, which could save you thousands of dollars. (You may be required to send out 1099 forms in January to any freelancers you used during the previous year, but your tax advisor can assist you with that. Some freelancer sites take care of all of that for you as well.)
5. Research small business funding. The government encourages people to start companies by providing small business loans. These SBA loans are for people of all backgrounds. You can log onto the SBA's website to apply for them.
Additionally, you can look into small business credit cards to provide funding for equipment and any other essential startup costs. You'll want to make sure you pay your bill in full every month so you can build your business' credit and not take on unnecessary debt as you’re embarking on your venture.
6. Invest in social benefits. Whether you're starting a business during the coronavirus, or pivoting within your current one, you can show that you care about the state of the world and give your customers a chance to show that they care too.
Add a social benefit to purchasing from your business. Now, more than ever, people want to feel that their purchases make some sort of difference. Donate a portion of proceeds to current issues. Provide a free bottle of hand sanitizer with every order. Send something to front-line workers. Give your customers an extra reason to maintain loyalty.
Emerging Stronger From the COVID-19 Economy
Thankfully, some people are going back to work, but for many, times are still tough. People are suffering from financial instability, and they don't know when things will get better. However, if you have a good business idea and the resources to pursue it, you should consider starting a business during COVID-19.
This too shall pass, and we will emerge from this stronger, ready to hit the ground running with new ideas for being in business. Remember to determine the "why" of your business, hire the right people, know your limitations, start as a side hustle, look into loans and credit cards, and show that you care. You might just end up as a successful entrepreneur at the end of this.
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