So 2020 was supposed to be your year to become a business owner, am I right?
The turn of a new decade was poised to be the time to make long-time dreams come true, until COVID-19 pressed the pause button on just about everything, from delayed sporting events to cancelled vacations. For many, 2020 also put a damper on plans of starting new businesses. Some, however, have realized that starting a business during a pandemic can be highly beneficial. In fact — depending on your industry, now may be the best time to deliver your product or service. In the United States alone, the 2020 business start-up rate is the highest rate on record, according to government reports.
You may be wondering why or how that could be during the events resulting from COVID-19. It is believed that due to the pandemic, many of our needs have changed (has your child’s school environment changed? Did you use Zoom weekly or daily in 2019, for example?). More people are ordering food online, connecting with loved ones online, and hosting major events online.
Furthermore, at whatever point our quarantine comes to a close, there will be significant needs. Will you be prepared and equipped to immediately meet those needs with your idea, product or service, or will you still be “thinking” about it. Those that are ready to serve will benefit greatly, but you have to start now.
December was National Write a Business Plan Month, but now is the best time to turn your hobby into a success story. Before giving in to another excuse to keep your dream on the shelf, read these five simple tips to starting a business during a pandemic:
- Take stock of yourself. It is important to know why you want to start a business. If the reason is to “make money fast”, I don’t blame you, but understand that some products and services sell faster than others during this time. Got face masks or disinfectant spray? If you believe you truly have something to offer to your community then go with it. Be sure, though, to keep in mind that a post-COVID world will likely present a shift of consumer habits and desires. For example, animal adoptions jumped by 700% since 2019, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, because the time home alone is…well…lonely. What will things be like once we can go out? What gifts, talents, ideas and resources do you have to offer now and then?
- Research your target industry. The Internet makes researching your intended industry easy! There’s Google — enough said. Then there’s social media, especially business-run profiles/pages, where customers will rant and rave about everything. Additionally, sites like Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Ebay are great places to see what matters most to consumers. Read the reviews. Also, it still helps to read books, attend virtual networking events and pay attention to the news, for latest trends and to see what people are reacting to.
- Learn the types of business formations. There are four main forms to consider: Corporation = your personal assets are protected from those you may owe in business; Partnership = you agree to enter into a business relationship with another person; Limited Liability Company (LLC) = where you get the advantages of personal liability protection without having all of the requirements of a corporation; Sole proprietorship = the simplest and least expensive business formation to create, but without the liability protection.
- Connect with your audience on social media. Create paid ads, business-centered profiles/pages, and incorporate as much content as possible — from TikTok videos, to IG Live events, to Facebook groups. Remember, most of us are safe at home, so we’re on social media waiting to hear from you!
- Create a business plan. If you are seeking financial support, a business plan simply makes sense. Be sure to check out our advice on creating a business plan. We can help!
Be sure to share this information on starting a business during a pandemic with future business owners. Most importantly, be sure to get started!