The current global COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the world into uncharted territories, bringing life as usual, including the economy, to a grinding halt. Several companies have ceased to operate and are forced to cut costs, which often involves laying off employees.
However, there is a silver lining to this cloud of chaos, and that’s not just limited to dropping levels of air pollution. As the world order changes, there are, of course, opportunities lost, but not without the emergence of new opportunities.
People’s needs change, and astute entrepreneurs are quick to identify unique ways to meet those needs, which is why starting a new business during a recession might just be a good idea. If you’re taking this time off to reevaluate your choices and entertain the idea of taking the entrepreneurial plunge, here are 5 tips that can help you get your new business off the ground, even in trying times.
Part 1: Tips to build a business
Identify a need
An economic slowdown brings about major changes in the lifestyles of people as it restricts their spending power (and in the current situation, also movement). Even stable businesses need to recalibrate in order to survive. Breaking down well-established procedures and unlearning lessons from the past is never easy. But as a new business, this is where you have an advantage because you are starting from scratch.
For starters, evaluate how people’s needs have changed. They will definitely be looking for less expensive alternatives, a different time frame or mode of delivery, and, possibly, even better customer service.
They may even need a new set of products or services to meet an existing need. For instance, a fitness enthusiast who cannot go to the gym anymore will seek online workout sessions. A student who cannot attend class will need self-study course materials or classes conducted online. People with mental health issues will do better with online counseling.
Once you have identified a few of these needs, know which needs you can provide basing on your experience, knowledge, and resources at hand. For instance, if app development is your forte, you could consider creating an app that connects people to grocery stores, fitness centers, or any other service. If you have expertise in grooming (pets or humans), you could provide videos on how one can groom (themselves or their pets) at home.
Find low-cost solutions
In order to keep your business profitable, especially in the time of recession, you need to make the best out of available resources and keep operating costs to a minimum. You may want to steer clear of a business that requires you to buy a shop or office space, or a lot of additional equipment.
For instance, home delivery services may seem like a lucrative idea in the present scenario. But if you need to buy or hire a bigger vehicle, you may end up spending more than you will earn. Start with deliveries of small items within your area. You can easily do that using a bike or on foot (and stay fit in the process).
The Internet is brimming with low-cost solutions to most of your business conundrums. There are several cloud-based project management apps such as Asana, Microsoft Teams, and Flock that allow you and your team to work from the comfort of their homes, conduct meetings, assign and track the progress of tasks, and share important information. If you plan on starting a store, you can easily set one up using platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce.
If you have any digital marketing experience or design skills, you can start an agency from your living room. All you need is a computer, internet connection, basic software, and some motivation to get that creativity flowing.
Build a small yet strong team
Cliches will have you believe that there is strength in numbers, but you don’t need an ensemble cast to propel your small business to success. All you need is a small team of responsible, hardworking people who you can trust. The advantage of a small team is that it gives people a chance to put their ideas forward and allows them greater room to do things their way, which is exactly what a small business needs.
Moreover, small teams are easily managed remotely through project management apps and video conferencing tools. Layoffs and pay cuts are inevitable during an economic slowdown, which means many people will be on the lookout for new jobs or side projects.
A great place to start is to reach out to your friends, family, and ex-colleagues who fall in that category and ask them if they are willing to be part of your team. The advantage here is that these are people you know. Use your network to find reliable and talented people who will treat the business as their own.
Once you have your team ready, create an open and hierarchy-free environment that encourages people to express themselves and bring their best selves to work every time (even if it’s virtually).
Part 2: Tips to market your business
Get the right domain name
In order to market your brand successfully, you need a strong brand identity. In the online world, your domain name is as good as your brand. Apart from being your web address, your domain name is the first thing people will come across when they find you online and, eventually, it is how they will come to recognize your business. It is something that deserves as much thought and deliberation as your company name itself.
A domain name that can help you market your business effectively is:
- indicative and relevant to your brand and/or industry
- short, simple, and creative
- easy to remember and type
While keeping all of these considerations in mind, you also need to ensure that your domain name doesn’t have any copyright issues. The last thing you want is a legal battle that jeopardizes the reputation of your business.
There are now over 1,200 new, industry-specific domain extensions such as .TECH, .SITE, .ONLINE, .SPACE, .STORE, .UNO, etc. that may just be better suited for your business and also improve the likelihood of you acquiring a domain name of your choice.
They give you the opportunity to better define your brand and make your domain name keyword-rich.
Create relevant content
Everyone wants to make an informed decision about what they buy. These decisions are based on the reputation and expertise of the seller, as well as the customer’s understanding of why they need a particular product, whether or not they are equipped with the knowledge to use it, and what kind of experience they can expect from the company.
By creating relevant and engaging content around your product and industry, you are addressing all of these consumer concerns. Draw inspiration from your own buying behavior: will you ever buy a product without doing thorough research?
According to this 2020 Hubspot statistics compilation, over 3/4th of the Internet users say that they read blog posts regularly. Apart from blog posts, there are several content formats you can tap into, depending upon your target audience. Among the most popular is video, stated by Hubspot as the number one form of media used in content strategy. Indeed, by creating short, precise, and easy-to-consume video tutorials and guides, you can capture the attention of your potential customers and create buzz around your new business.
Don’t let the economic slowdown put brakes on your life goals. If you have a great business idea, you don’t need to wait for the right time to implement it. With a creative approach to strategy, budgeting, and problem-solving, you can build a promising business venture, recessions and pandemics notwithstanding.