You have two options during this COVID-19 – cower in fear, lament all day and accept defeat, or you roll up your sleeves, take a firm stand and fight it out head long. If you choose the latter, then this piece on how to open your business and grow your business during COVID-19 is for you.
As far as anyone knows, coronavirus may miraculously disappear overnight or become a part of us, like HIV/AIDS. But rather than fold your hands to wait it out, you are here, looking for a way to earn money and stay in business, pandemic or not. Coronavirus is changing the way we do things and we have to change with the tide.
If you are used to working in corporate offices as employees, you probably feel like a fish out of water when faced with the challenge of delving into entrepreneurship. Even as an entrepreneur, your business may have been a brick and mortar one and you are currently at a loss on how to blend with the trend set by the pandemic and take your business online.
First of all, let us start with opening a business during COVID-19
How to open your business during COVID-19
- If you are not grounded in the business sphere, you should probably begin with gathering as much knowledge as is needed to succeed. If you do have prior knowledge, you still need more to help you transition efficiently. This is an opportunity to learn and become a better version of you.
Lots of sites have made their learning resources free or affordable during this period. This is to help young entrepreneurs, so get up and take advantage of these. From Youtube to Instagram, from Facebook to Google for small business, you have an array of resources to choose from.
- If you have been using your social media accounts for personal purposes, it is time to convert it to business account. Or you can add a business account to the personal account and still keep the personal page. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow you that luxury.
The internet will become your shop and you must give it your best shot just as you would a physical shop. The competition is fierce here too. You can set up an online shop in the social media or on your website. You can also establish a shop on affordable sites like Shopify or simply use Facebook marketplace.
Depending on how you want to run it, your shop can encompass everything, from window shopping to payment and advertising or just for placing orders.
- Oh, you don’t know what business to establish online during COVID-19? First place to look is inwards. What problems can you solve for others and earn from it? What skills can you share? What services can you offer better than others? Answer to these questions can provide you with business ideas.
In addition, the internet is agog with business ideas you can start at home this period. Take advantage of it. Be sure the business can thrive online and that it is relevant in this pandemic.
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Here are a few tips – online consultancy/tutoring business in music or whatever skills you can teach others, social media marketing, food business, local delivery service (this is hot in demand right now)
- Look for the digital version of the business you are interested in and start from there while we wait for the coronavirus pandemic to play out.
- Try new things. You have enough time at this moment to brainstorm, take risks and bloom. Unearth those discarded business ideas, dust them up and see how they can be relevant now.
- Find ways to increase your revenue. Explore new ways to bring in more money to help you set up and run your business more efficiently. You can do dropshipping on Amazon, teach a course on Khan academy, sell crafts on Etsy to make more money to establish whatever business you want.
If you already have an established business, how do you survive and grow during the COVID-19?
For those who own a physical shop, the pandemic has probably had some impacts on your business.
- Assess your business past, present and future. What has worked for you in the past and what needs to be changed or dropped? Find out the type of challenges you are facing currently. Are they surmountable? Don’t forget to assess the future impact too because even if the pandemic suddenly disappears now, the effects will still linger for a while. Take this into consideration. Then determine how to reinvent your business to succeed now and in future. It could be to change your packaging, create new services or change your advertising strategy.
- Will your business be among those in high demand after the pandemic or not? For instance, after the quarantine and lockdown, many people will rush headlong into all those activities they were denied during the lockdown like heading to the gym. Knowing these will help you plan accordingly.
- Based on the above, you can take advantage of the present slow sales to up your advertising game. If you cannot afford paid online advertising, do unpaid. Use strong and vital contents to endear your brand to your clients and gain more clients as well. That way, whenever they can use your services, you will be the first on their list. You can attract two times more business during the pandemic.
- Keep advertising. Use every available means to advertise – Google,Binge, Facebook, Instagram – whatever works. This may seem as the worst time to advertise, but actually, it can work positively for you. There are many more people online now that most people are at home, less busy and even bored. Besides, there is less competition with Google and Binge pay per click now that many businesses have reduced or stopped their ad. Sales and leads can be cheaper to gain now. You also have the time to monitor and evaluate your ad strategy and calculate your ROI using Google analytics.
- While advertising, be mindful you don’t overdo it. Inject educative, fun, informative and inclusive contents into your posts. Let your audience know that indeed we are in this together. That way, you boost brand loyalty.
- Check if your business is one that can transition from brick and mortar to online, and then do so. Look at some of the restaurants you know, they are incorporating offline and online methods to run their business. If you run a farm for instance, you can still advertise your milk, meat, fruits, vegetables or soy bean online. Your customers can place orders there and you do home delivery and everyone is happy!
- Manage your finances, become a miser as a matter of necessity. If you have not already cut down on expenses, then do so urgently. Start by examining your bank statements, receipts and invoices. That will enable you to draw up a list of your expenses and see where you can cut down. Forfeit all unnecessary spending and keep track of your future spending. Xpenditure and Expensify are tools that can come in handy for this purpose.
Also find means of increasing revenue. Monitor and analyze your profit too.
- Constantly keep in contact with your public – consumers, suppliers, investors, employees. The communication must be transparent and empathic at all times, bearing in mind that we are in this together. Let your public know what your business is passing through, how you are tackling the pandemic. Also show them behind the scenes of the steps you are taking to safely serve them under COVID-19 safety guidelines. Your public will in turn show empathy to your brand and whatever challenges you are going through.
- Get more generous if you can afford it. Since everyone is facing one form of challenge or the other from the COVID-19 pandemic, offer help in any way you can. Many free online learning kits are springing up from various websites; online shops offer free delivery within their vicinity while some others reduce subscription fees. What can you do to make things easier for your audience? You can offer discounts, free services; the best part is that these will translate to higher sales/subscription for you in the long run.
- Opt for COVID-19 small business relief for startups if you need financial boost. Governments and financial organizations are offering diverse resources which your small business can take advantage of. There is the SBA disaster assistance which you can apply for via SBA website. Fcaebook has Small Business Grants Program for small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19.
- Online collaboration tools like Google Docs, Zoom can help you interact with your employees and customers despite the social distancing and lockdown.
It is obvious that most businesses are seeing various damaging effects from this global pandemic. But it is not the end of the world. In fact, some businesses have not had it better than they do now.
Don’t let all that is happening around the world deter you from striving for success. Whatever happens, find these tips useful, use them to keep moving, and don’t stop.
How you use these tips and how you go about opening and growing your business during this COVID-19 and beyond depends on a lot of things. Your personality, skill sets, niche, resources available to you, location and so on. Find what works for you in your unique situation and run with it. Position your brand to succeed during and after the pandemic.
If you are crawling or crying while moving, just keep moving. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do. Above all, be courageous, be smart, be positive.
This post was written by fdfadmin