Economic experts predict that the world will be feeling the effects of Covid-19 for years to come. Nonetheless, everyone can agree that the pandemic has proven to be an excellent learning opportunity. In a matter of months, it did a great job of pointing out the flaws of the current global economic system. Additionally, it has managed to show which business models can be sustainable choices when planning for the future.
For those looking to open a business in a post-COVID-19 world, this can be invaluable information. Besides showing hopeful entrepreneurs what mistakes to avoid, it can also point them in the right direction when preparing their business plans.
If you’re looking for advice on how to open a business once the world gets back to normal, these are the things you should have in mind.
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One of the biggest effects the Coronavirus has had on industries is how it has slowed down production and progress.
The reality of things is that most sellers and manufacturers rely on parts or products made in Asia. Factories in China delayed opening after the Lunar New Year in January, which caused problems for manufacturing efforts worldwide. Companies such as Apple, have experienced delays in production (sure to affect the release of the new iPhone this fall). Even more, some car manufacturers have had to close down factories due to lack of parts.
But for those who are only getting started, this is valuable information. Planning for the future, business owners should look to diversify their chain of supply as much as possible, as well as to focus on local suppliers. And taking this step does not only relate to the Coronavirus.
Events such as natural disasters, trade wars, international holidays, or security breaches can all put the smooth operation of a business at risk. And a simple way to manage that risk is to ensure that no matter what, your company has access to the resources needed to continue working. Additionally, diversification could also help you cut costs, and give you more control over your budget in case of sudden price increases.
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The one piece of advice everyone gives aspiring entrepreneurs is to put together an amazing business plan that gives answers on what to do in both good times and bad. As we’re navigating a period with decreases in GDP and rising unemployment, this tip becomes even more relevant.
One of the most important things to focus on will be budgeting.
Learn how to cut expenses even before you start making them, and prepare yourself to do some hard work to maintain good cash flow. Learn how to negotiate with your suppliers. Furthermore, try to limit the number of non-essential products and services you sign up for on a monthly basis.
Another thing you can learn from Covid-19 is how important it is to follow up on outstanding receivables. These could prove to be the life jacket you need when times get tough.
For those with no previous background in running a company, hiring a good accountant is crucial. Firstly, they can help you set up a system that’ll allow you to keep an eye on your income and outgoing expenses. Secondly, you can use their experience to further minimize costs and save precious time on tasks such as filing for taxes, etc.
Even if you can’t afford to keep someone on full-time, you can outsource this position and get the same benefits. Just make sure you go with someone skilled and trustworthy.
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If there’s just one thing we learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that online shopping can be a lifesaver – for consumers and businesses alike.
Some data suggests that the number of online sales has increased by 52% compared to last year, while the number of shoppers also rose by 8.8%. For anyone thinking of opening a business following Covid-19, this is crucial information. After all, what better way to secure the future of your company than to ensure it can continue operations despite difficulties?
When it comes to building an e-commerce website, it’s important to follow a few ground rules. Optimizing for mobile devices, paying attention to SEO, and employing a solid digital marketing strategy are all important aspects of making your website work for you.
It’s also not a bad idea to explore more than a single marketplace.
For example, Amazon sales rose in March and April 2020. However, merchants whose products didn’t fall into the category of essentials (groceries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.) had trouble getting their goods to customers. The main reason behind this was that Amazon suspended deliveries of all non-essentials items.
For small business owners, this could spell out disaster. But with some planning and diversification, you can easily bypass these issues so that you have more than a single source of income at all times.
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Finally, the biggest lesson we’ve learned from the Coronavirus is that there’s always a need for creative solutions. And entrepreneurs should strive to innovate, regardless of their field of work.
Remember, whenever a door closes, another one opens. So, if there’s no current interest in your main line of products, why not shift your focus and resources towards something in high demand? Or, if you can’t offer your services in person, why not do it online?
Theatres all over the world are doing it, and who would have ever thought that you could attend a ballet performance right at home? For example, the Met Opera managed to gain over 15,000 subscribers to its online streaming platform in just two months. This is, in large, due to its ability to recognize that every hardship can turn into a growth opportunity.
And the best way to identify these opportunities is to do research. Follow your metrics, keep an eye on what your competition is doing, and engage with your customers – they’ll tell you what they want, you just have to listen.
The Final Takeaway
Starting a business is always intimidating. If you’re going through the process in the middle of a worldwide economic and health crisis, you may feel particularly discouraged.
But remember, there are always things you can do that will positively influence your entrepreneurial undertakings. As long as you know how to stay objective, are capable of being flexible with your goals, are prepared to set up safety networks, and learn how to make the most of your budget (no matter how limited), you can make it. And, of course, don’t forget to be creative!
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of
small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.