starting an online business

The pandemic has exposed a lot of vulnerabilities in our society and the economy has taken a hit. Starting a business during this time can seem like a bad idea when you see other businesses closing left and right. But a crisis can be a breeding ground for innovation. Starting a business during COVID-19 can be done in the right way and for the right reasons. This is the time to let your innovation and creativity out and let viable ideas take the spotlight.

Why It’s a Good Time to Start a Business During COVID-19

General Electric, Microsoft, General Motors, and Burger King are just some of the well-known companies that started during economic crises. Emerging through a recession has made these companies stronger and more flexible to combat downturns and challenges. They are proof that starting a business in bleak times can be fruitful.

This pandemic is forcing people to adapt to the new business climate and many entrepreneurs are trying their shot. The U.S. Census Bureau recorded that as of September 5, 2020, a total of 101,390 business applications have been filed. Week 36 of 2020 showed a 93.6% increase in business applications from the same week in 2019.

This crisis is not only pushing businesses to innovate and start something new. It’s also encouraging consumers to try something new. COVID-19 has forced us to develop new purchasing habits and preferences. Some needs have become more apparent by this pandemic. There are also new needs that have to be filled. 

We have an opportunity to innovate and create businesses that respond to the challenges of this pandemic and the future that it will create. It is the innovators who will rise to the occasion and grab attention. Starting a business now can be your long-awaited moment. 

5 Tips to Starting a Business During a Pandemic

Address a long-term need

Starting a business means fulfilling a need. It starts with providing a solution to a problem. But to make your business stand the test of time, you need to address a long-term need. While many consumer needs have emerged since the pandemic started, assess whether your business idea will last even when the time comes that we eliminate this virus. Ask yourself if the problem you’re solving has been there before the pandemic even started and is now amplified by it. Do you foresee your target market getting your products or services even when we’re no longer wearing masks and face shields? Assess whether your market will still need your products and services after 3 to 5 years or even more than that. And if your answer is yes, then you’ve found yourself a viable business idea. 

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Start Locally and Small

While this is a great time for innovation, you must still take calculated risks. Instead of going all out at once, consider starting a business locally. Now is a great time to start a business within your community as more people are supporting small and local businesses. As you test your business idea, gain traction, and gather feedback from your customers, work your way towards scaling. It’s easier to pivot and adapt when you take incremental steps rather than a big bang approach. 

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Leverage Digital Resources

This tip is more of a must than a suggestion when starting a business. This pandemic has taken technology centerstage. Nowadays, businesses will have a better chance of surviving and thriving if they have a digital presence. Adding a digital component will also help you expand your reach. Build a website and accept orders online. Engage with customers on social media and business listings such as Google My Business. Make it easier for people to find you. Leverage on customer testimonials online. Nowadays, businesses are found by scrolling through one’s Facebook feed or searching online not by walking through the neighborhood. 

It’s also very easy and affordable to set up an online store. You can also use digital tools such as a virtual Kanban board and other similar apps for your business planning, marketing, and operations. It’s safe to say that the Internet is your oyster. All you have to do is click.

Hire Freelancers

Starting a business is costly. You’ll possibly bootstrap your way to launch your business until you get a solid foundation in place. During this time, consider getting freelance help. This will minimize your overhead costs while still maintaining quality in your business output. There are many platforms online where you can hire professional freelancers for the job you’ll require. 

Get Funding

The U.S. government has also put measures in place to help entrepreneurs in starting a business during this time. SBA Loan applications are made available for everyone who wishes to apply. You can check the requirements if you qualify. Some credit card companies are also offering disaster relief assistance to small businesses. You can also check with your state’s chamber of commerce for any programs on financial aid for small business owners or those who want to start one.

Turn a Crisis into an Opportunity

It may certainly take time before this virus is eradicated. If you will wait for things to go back to “normal” before starting a business, you’ll have to wait longer and our perception of normal may not even fully return. We must accept this new world we live in and create businesses that are adaptive and innovative. Starting a business during a crisis can be daunting. But with the right mindset and a viable business model, you can turn this crisis into an opportunity of a lifetime.

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About the Author: Lena Boiser

Lena Boiser is an Agile enthusiast. Starting off her career as a Software Business Analyst in 2010, she eventually performed other roles including Project Manager and IT Business Manager. When she was immersed in Agile methodologies in 2014, Lena found her way through honing her craft and eventually became a Certified Scrum Product Owner. In 2017, after 7 years of working in the corporate world, Lena started her own remote consulting practice. Today, she provides project management and Scrum Product Ownership services to various businesses including software development companies, e-Commerce business owners, and small to medium sized companies. She believes that even teams working remotely can harness the benefits of Agile in order to deliver results for their companies. In her free time she likes to write. One day she could be writing about Agile, the next she could be writing anything about fashion or travel.