Millions of businesses across Australia have been financially impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Sudden long downs and restrictions on the number of people allowed in venues has made it difficult for many businesses to remain financially viable. This means that starting a business during the middle pandemic is full of risks but here are some tips to increase your likelihood of your business succeeding during these challenging times.
Figure Out Your Why
The first step towards establishing your business is to ask yourself why do you want to start a business? Is it because you want to make a different to your community and add value to people who live in your local area? Is it because you are passionate about a certain service or product that you aspire to provide? Or perhaps you're finally determined to be your own boss after experiencing the last corporate layoff.
Your purpose and reason for starting your business is very important. If your why isn’t compelling enough, you won't be able to weather the ups and downs of your entrepreneurial endeavour. Once you know your "why," you can start identifying customer pain points and setting clear goals for your business for both the short term and long term.
Fulfil a need in the marketplace
Over the past 12 months the behaviour and expectations of consumers have changed significantly. It is therefore important to ask yourself how does your product or service fit into the current covid-19 pandemic lifestyle and way of living.
Focus on social media marketing and online shopping
By using social media to tell a captivating story you humanise your business and sound less desperate to make a sale. Businesses should aspire to use social media with the intention of building an online community that is passionate about the products you sell. The best way to entice your customers to purchase your product through social media is to create a call to action by posting content that either is humorous, educational, entertaining or evokes strong emotion. It is important to share content that adds value to your customers life and most importantly entices your social media followers to join the conversation around your products by leaving comments and sharing your content with their friends.
It has been reported that customers are 64% more likely to trust a brand if it interacts positively on social media. Social media provides customers who have a negative experience with a business to post about it online. Having negative comments associated with your business posted on social media has a huge potential to deter customers from deciding to purchase your products. However, if your business responds promptly and professionally to any negative feedback you receive, then you have an opportunity to re-frame a negative situation and offer a solution to enhance the customers experience if and when they decide to do business with you again. By receiving feedback online this can also give a business an opportunity to improve their relationship with their customers and make necessary changes to enhance their customers experience in the future.
Leverage your network
The covid-19 pandemic is the perfect time to leverage your professional and personal networks. Use social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter Facebook, Instagram and others to the max. Reach out to your contacts to see if anyone would be interested in pre-ordering your product. This will give you some valuable initial feedback around pricing and potential demand.
It would be a smart idea to establish informal “focus groups” consisting of your target audience to determine their needs and pain points. You can also take advantage of online survey tools like SurveyMonkey to solicit feedback. The best approach is to test your idea in a small, inexpensive way that gives you a valuable indication of whether customers need your product and how much they are willing to pay for it.
Create a recession-proof business plan
Adapting your business model to the current climate is full of challenges. That includes keeping a close eye on expenses so you can avoid overspending. Try to bootstrap your business if this is possible.
Keep at least six months to one year in savings in the event you don’t see the initial sales you anticipated to see. Take advantage of the plethora of local, state, and government assistance currently available. Strategically review every supplier agreement and negotiate payment terms to extend cash flow.
Discussing concessions with partners can be extremely helpful during this time. The good news is that most suppliers will be flexible during the current climate especially if they intend to establish a long-term business relationship with you. Most importantly, one of the best ways to recession-proof your business plan is to diversify. Start small, then broaden your offerings over time and keep a running list of expansion plans.