Top 5 Tips on Starting a Business During a Pandemic
Starting a Business
It can be extremely hard to start a business at the best of times, but even more so during an economic crisis, but many still want to do it. Perhaps starting your own business could be a way out of unemployment. However, many people don’t know where to begin, and that makes it even more difficult.
With the majority of the country subject to strict ‘tiered’ guidelines controlling what we can and can’t do, many experts are afraid that hundreds of thousands of workers may find themselves made redundant post furlough.
- What are the requirements for businesses to stay open during COVID-19 pandemic?
- What businesses must remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic?
- What is the maximum people business owner can host at once during the coronavirus pandemic?
These are all questions to which the answers change on an almost regular basis, which doesn’t help ease all the uncertainties 2020 has brought to the majority of the UK.
So, given that so many are braced for redundancy, surely it makes sense to start thinking about your new life now, and for many, that could mean working for themselves for the first time and starting a new business.
The world has dramatically changed since the emergence of COVID 19, accelerating many of the trends which were predicted to happen over the next five years: increased working from home, air travel once again becoming a luxury due to environmental concerns, shopping local, streaming overtaking cinema, boosting the green economy, etc.
And many of these trends are not going away.
Sectors That Are Doing Well
Certain sectors have been out of favour or in favour on the stock markets with respect to share price performance and ease of raising monies, and it is worth thinking through this when setting up a new business.
Winners in sectors such as technology, IT, life sciences, online retail, along with DIY and home improvement companies.
Losers have been sectors in the leisure, travel, bricks and mortar retail and airlines, to name a few, along with pubs and restaurants, clubs and theatres being hit hard.
Top 5 Tips for Launching a Business in a Pandemic
Here are my top 5 tips for launching a business while the majority of Brits are stuck in Tier 3 lockdown:
Think of Your Staff as Your Brand Ambassadors
The year 2020 is a year to think diversity and inclusion. Be a business that wants to harness the environment currently for hiring the best and not necessarily people who are local and available on a 9-5 basis.
It is a fantastic time to have a long hard look at the diversity of people in any business, whether you are just starting up or more established. Think diverse and think further afield than on your doorstep, or traditional working hours. Lockdowns #1 and #2 have surely taught entrepreneurs this lesson – as well as to think hard about how to engage with your employees and team.
Set up a business where your employees are your best assets!
Think of the Bigger Environmental Picture
This is also the year to think social responsibility, climate change, and to have a clear corporate communications strategy where actions demonstrate what you promise.
Increasingly we hear the word ESG: Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance. Social responsibility as an organisation can be a key selling point to attract talent, as well as customers, not to mention investors and funding.
As an example – ASOS stopped listing Boohoo’s products on its website in July 2020 after an undercover investigation by the Sunday Times discovered that workers at one of the company’s supplier factories in Leicester were receiving as little as £3.50 an hour and that the factory was flouting Covid-19 measures.
As well as being the right thing to have done, the publicity around that measure alone will have most certainly increased traffic to its website and consequently its customer base and profits.
Remember Great Customer Service is Paramount
Think about your potential customers: many are worried for their futures and juggling caring responsibilities with working, so ease of and experience of purchase becomes critical.
Building a robust distribution channel in challenging times (online not bricks and mortar), and with Brexit upon us, is key, but ethics and community and empathy of experience are critical.
Recurring quality revenues usually means customer satisfaction; the rise of SaaS (software as a service) companies providing customers with low initial costs with unparalleled accessibility and scalability is appealing to customers
Do Your Research When Looking at Raising Funds for Your Business
Do stay flexible regarding fundraising. Do plan and have a considered approach, but be prepared to say no, bend on valuation, or pivot. It is important to explore all loans and funds available.
The first step is to find out what support is available to businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the Government’s COVID Bounce Back Loans have been critical for many more established businesses, some other low-interest rate type loans can be counterproductive.
The future is uncertain for everyone, so a cash generative business, with shorter sales cycles and lowly geared balance sheets are more secure and will attract financing more easily.
Get a Cast Iron Marketing Strategy
Think about how you will get share of voice against larger companies with bigger budgets?
This is one of the main reason businesses fail or succeed.
With things as they are right now, take advantage of the fact that many people are stuck day after day in one place, and pick up the phone. People are, in our experience, right now more amenable to a conversation.
Is email still effective, given the strong growth in social media over the past decade?
When people want to find a special deal, email is the go-to channel.
Forty-four per cent of users check their email for a deal from a company they know, whereas only 4 per cent will go to Facebook.
Sixty per cent of consumers say that they have bought as the result of an email marketing message. On the flip side, only 12.5 per cent of them even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.
Email reaches about 85 per cent of the people you send it to with an average open rate of almost 23 per cent.
To increase your organic reach on social media, people must engage with your posts, and this can be difficult to accomplish. Email marketing and social media marketing are not the same and they should not be treated as replacements for each other. The truth is the best marketers are going to use the two together.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business in 2021 or if you have any other comments or advice, we’d love to read about it in the comments section below.
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