As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers and states and countries struggle to reopen or some cities have to close again, some would say that this is the worst possible condition in which to start a business. But is it really?
Many entrepreneurs are looking at this time as the BEST TIME TO START a business! Because there are certain unique conditions in today’s marketplace that don’t exist outside of a crisis. Consider that some of the most powerful and successful companies started in times of crisis or financial downturns, like General Motors, HP and Disney. But let’s just stick to the SMEs for a moment, how many of them started around the 2008/2009 recession? A number of my clients did in fact open around that time and have been celebrating their 10th anniversary this year or over the past two years, and they all run successful companies who have remained strong over the past few months despite their own individual challenges.
Here are some of the reasons why now is the best time to start a business:
The rapid shift to a virtual marketplace has and continues to evolve. Geographic lines are blurred and there is clearly no need for big offices or expensive showrooms. Virtual tours, Webinars and Zoom meetings are the norm. Consumers are accepting a new way to shop, dine and do business more readily and they are more apt to do business with a company that shows innovation and concern for their well-being. Now is the time to create a business that fills the space where many companies unable to adapt have left the playing field. Needs still must be met. Why can’t it be you, that answers the call consumers call?
Marketing a new business also has become less expensive and more accessible. There was a time that businesses with small budgets couldn’t compete. They had no way to get their message out and if they did, most business owners couldn’t really measure the effectiveness of their spend. They just spent the money and hoped it would bring in more customers. Today, the advent of social media advertising has made it possible for a new business to get their message out for a fraction of what it might have cost even a year ago. Testing and measuring ad effectiveness can happen within a day and your budget can be as low as £1 a day. Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter options provide platforms to reach all types of customers instantly. Segmentation and specific targeting allow you as a business owner to hon on the most ideal audience for your products or services and speak directly to them, cutting through all the noise.
Competitors have dissolved overnight. Any operator on already shaky ground has likely been eliminated by the COVID crisis. Business owners unable to pivot or adjust to new normal conditions have shuttered their operations instead of battling on. That means there is likely space in your competitive set. Times like these call for bold action. Perhaps buying out a competitor may be a strategy to grow and dominate the market.
While unemployment rages due to shutdowns and closures, there is a pool of talent that is there for the asking. With government support ending and further layoffs looming, good candidates are available if you have a need. Offering flexible schedules, work from home options and creative benefit packages can yield a pool of talent to fill your hiring needs.
Opportunity rarely knocks twice and with social distancing, if you wait for that knock, it may be too late. Time to get in the game and become a part of the economic rebound.