The pandemic has caused a lot of people to reevaluate their lives, especially their careers. Record numbers of people lost their jobs and others have decided to quit and change direction.
One of the biggest dreams a lot of Canadians have is starting a business. The pandemic has led to a huge boom in entrepreneurship as people who were laid off decided to give business ownership a try.
You might be one of the thousands asking “Should I start a business? What is a good business to start? Is it a good idea during a pandemic?”
It is! In fact, the pandemic gives you some important advantages. Let’s take a look at 9 steps you need to take to start a business now.
1. Consider the Competition
Understanding the competitive environment is essential before you start your own company. What you’ll discover is that due to the pandemic, there’s less competition in most industries than there has been in the past.
Because so many companies have been forced to close during this crisis, there is a lot more opportunity for new entrepreneurs to fill the gaps. Do some research to find a good business to start. Before you dive in, make sure you research the industry and understand why these other companies failed. You want to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.
From there, take a look at who’s in the industry right now. How are they reaching customers? What can you do differently and better? How can you fill gaps in the existing products and services?
When you learn from other companies in the industry, both the successes and failures, you’ll be well on your way to starting a business that will thrive in good times and bad.
2. Find Funding For Your Company
How can you afford to start a business? Start by deciding how much money you actually need. The focus for a startup is on the essentials — creating value for customers and supporting the growth of the business. You don’t need fancy office space or expensive new equipment. Instead, take a look at high-quality used equipment and work from home while you can.
Once you have a realistic understanding of what it costs to run your specific business, it’s time to find funding.
To encourage the economy during the pandemic, the government is offering a lot of new funding for businesses. That means you can get grants and take advantage of investment money now in a way you couldn’t in the past. This is one of the reasons starting a business in a pandemic is a great idea!
Interest rates are also at an all-time low. That means that getting a loan is more affordable than ever. Take a look at the benefits of business loans as a possible option to fund your company. If that isn’t possible, it’s time to bootstrap. Work a side-hustle or keep your day job to provide the income you need to launch your business.
The key is to start your business without overextending yourself financially.
3. Set Up Your Online Presence
One of the biggest mistakes companies made during the pandemic was neglecting their online presence. When no one could go out, everyone shopped online. A business without a website or online store was in serious trouble.
You can’t afford to make the same mistakes. Starting a business requires a strong website and digital marketing. Your website should be optimized for the keywords that make the most sense for your business and your community.
Once you have an optimized website, ensure that you can sell products and services to your customers online. This might mean having an order form or offering a free consultation that will lead to a sale.
You’ll also want to claim your Google My Business listing, optimize it properly, and maintain active social media accounts. Starting from now, no company should be without an online presence!
4. Consider a Physical Store
If it would make sense for your business, consider getting a physical storefront. Because so many brick-and-mortar stores didn’t pivot to an online model, they had to close their physical stores. That means more prime property is available now than has been in the past.
At the same time, you can also negotiate better terms with landlords who are eager to have another store in their building. Just make sure that you don’t focus so much on your physical store that you forget to create digital marketing as well!
If you don’t want to have a physical store, you might look at the best home business to start. Freelancing is a great example of a low-cost home-based business that is thriving even during the pandemic.
5. Hire the Right Team
Because so many people were laid off or lost their jobs during the pandemic, there are a lot of extra skilled employees available. If you move quickly, you can snag these talented workers for your business.
You can compete with larger companies by offering remote work, strong wages, and other benefits. The key is to focus your hiring on finding the right fit with your company. Each employee should fit into the company culture and have the skills you’re looking for.
With the right team, your startup will be unstoppable!
6. Work With Suppliers
Suppliers are working hard to keep their existing business clients, but unfortunately some of them have gone out of business. That means suppliers need customers, and your business could be the perfect fit.
As you work with suppliers, be sure to shop around and let them compete against each other. You’ll be able to secure favourable terms, pricing, and even bulk discounts. Again, don’t sign a contract that overcommits you. Focus on getting what you need to be successful now without breaking the bank.
A favourable agreement with suppliers can give you a competitive advantage for years to come!
7. Consider Buying an Existing Business
With all of the struggles from the pandemic, many business owners have decided that now is the time to retire and sell their business. You can take advantage of this opportunity to get a head start on your entrepreneurship.
Because of the current market conditions, you may be able to get a great deal. With an existing business comes a current customer base, supplier relationships, and more. This gives you a jump-start and makes it easier to get to the next level.
Of course, it’s important to do due diligence when buying a business. Get help researching financials and make sure you’re not buying a liability instead of an asset.
8. Focus on Flexibility
Starting a business in a pandemic means you have to ensure that you’re as flexible and efficient as possible if you want to succeed. That means investing in software and systems that help you grow your business while keeping costs low.
When companies failed during the pandemic, they often didn’t have the flexibility to pivot or change their business model to meet the current challenges. Starting a business in this kind of difficult environment will ensure you have a solid foundation for both great times and tough times ahead.
9. Take Advantage of Community Support
Many times entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. However, there are others like you! Seek out a supportive community online and in person.
There are business-specific Slack communities you can join, like the marketing group Online Geniuses or the Startup Chat. There are also groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Don’t stop with online-only community though — find in-person support as well. Perhaps there’s a coworking space in your city that offers networking opportunities.
Community support can also help you gain customers. There are a lot of consumers who are committed to supporting local businesses, but their favourites may have closed in the last year. Market yourself as a new business that needs support, and they may decide to purchase from you!
Set a Solid Foundation For Your Company
The steps listed above create a roadmap for how to go about starting a business in a pandemic. Now you can go from “Should I start my own business?” to “Yes, I will start my own business!”
If you’re interested in getting a solid online presence for your new company, we can help. We have years of experience helping small businesses succeed with online marketing. Contact us today to see how we can serve you!