Less than a year ago, we had a different take on the world than we do right now. We had a routine, plans, and hopes for the future. But then, COVID-19 happened, and pulled the rug right out from under everyone. Our jobs that we were doing well all of a sudden ended – or maybe we still have it – but with so much uncertainty, we can’t count on the income like we could a year ago. This has been a strong gut check, with only one question to focus on: will you pivot professionally to adjust to the “New Normal”?
As scary as it is, maybe you’ve wondered about starting your own business, or getting into a side hustle to support you until your next move. That’s great – because here’s the thing: services and goods will still be a necessity, but you have to find the right one. COVID-19 has merely presented a different way in which we consume products and services. There is opportunity to be had, but you may have to think outside of the box to find the best one for you. Refocus your current skills and experiences to start a new business.
So, with all of that being said, it begs the question: Do You have what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the “New Normal”?
If you work well independently, and can do this new venture from the safety and security of your home, then you’re off to a good start. In this new environment, if you need to source a lot of materials for your business, you may run into difficulties with logistics, and actually ordering and shipping those materials. Likewise, if you need a large commercial office space, that would be difficult as well due to government mandates regarding social distancing and public safety. Contractors and Consultants tend to do well in this environment (both fortunately and unfortunately) due to companies shedding costs of employees that they may be able to hire contractually. But, that’s not necessarily the only route you have to take.
Look around and see if there is a specific need due to Coronavirus that you could reach with your new idea. Think about issues you’ve had yourself, or maybe ones the businesses you’ve worked for in the past may be facing. Once you have that, you can start planning your business.
When you start planning your business, there are some things to keep in mind.
- Understand the “business” of your business. There are some first steps to take that you should know inside and out before starting out. What do your standard operating procedures look like? Understand how you want things to actually work, and on a small scale. As much as you may need money right now, starting small is a key to gauging your success and making adjustments before you jump into gargantuan financial commitments you may not be able to follow through on. Make sure you have the appropriate licences and that your business is officially registered in the appropriate government offices. You don’t want to be shut down before you begin, or face hefty fines. Look into your local city, state, and country (yes, all three) to make sure you are fully aware of their requirements.
- Brand Development. While having a logo sketched out isn’t a necessary first step, understanding your brand is important. What is at the root of what you’re offering and how can you reflect that? Make sure you have an idea of what you’re really trying to do here, and how what you’re offering aligns with that. After all, you are the brand.
- Product Development. If you are developing a tangible good, what does that entail? How do you create that product with the highest quality, but lowest cost (relative, of course)? Go through research and development and quality controls to see that what you have in your mind can actually come to fruition. If this is a service, it may be much easier, but you still should understand everything from inception to sale, and what obstacles you may face.
- Who are your Customers and Where are they located? Do you have a local set up, where your ideal customer is within a 10 mile radius, or are you thinking more of a reach than just down the road? And, how are you going to let them know you have this great idea that will help them? Having a basic marketing plan is ideal, but don’t go overboard. Word of mouth and reaching out to people you already know are major first steps to take in reaching new customers. Consider networking on sites you’re already a member of, and advertise in the form of posts, articles, blogs and other things that you can do yourself in the beginning.
Taking on a new venture is never easy, and the progress is rarely quick. At the end of the day, you have to reflect on if you have the grit to get you through this. I know you do – and I’m here to help along the way.