The initial planning is done. You decided that 2020 was going to be the year to finally start your business, but before you could even get your business off the ground, there was a wrench in your well-thought-out plans: COVID-19. With so many businesses on the brink of bankruptcy and struggling through this unprecedented time, how can you possibly go forward with your plans?
COVID-19 does not have to halt your initial plans; they may just need a little tweaking to fit our “new normal.” Let’s discuss businesses that are succeeding during this pandemic and how subscription commerce may be a way to succeed. We’ll also discuss the cost of starting a business, how to accrue the money you need to get things going, and how, once you take that first step, how you can maintain and even increase sales during this time.
Businesses to Consider
Is the business you were initially intending to open one that has suffered through the pandemic? Although many businesses have been harmed at the hands of COVID-19, others have thrived, particularly those businesses that help customers with their social distancing. Some businesses to consider include the following:
- Delivery services. Due to stay-at-home orders and many people being afraid of venturing outside, demand for delivery services is very high, particularly in food delivery and retail.
- Cleaning services. Because of COVID-19 fears, businesses that clean and sanitize homes, offices, and restaurants are now in high demand.
- Yard care and landscaping services. Staying at home has given people more time to work in their yards, so the demand for yard care companies has dramatically increased.
- Mask makers. While not in demand before this year, making masks is now an opportunity for new entrepreneurs as the demand for masks amid the pandemic remains high.
- Tutoring businesses. With so many students learning at home, many parents have become concerned that their children will fall behind. This has ignited the demand for private tutors.
So if your original business ideas have fallen through, look into these possibilities. There are still opportunities available if you’re willing to bend a little bit.
What About Subscription Commerce?
Another thing to consider as you launch your new business is whether your business, whether it be a product or a service, is something you can offer a subscription service to. While you may not be ready to hit the big leagues just yet, business-to-business (B2B) subscription services have seen rapid growth. Subscriptions for access to B2B services and software are expected to see a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24% over the next four years.
Consumer-centered subscription services have also been strong in the COVID-19 economy, with over 50% of subscriptions not seeing a significant impact from current events, and another 23% finding that business is actually increasing. Only 13% have experienced a slowdown, particularly in the areas of travel and hospitality or gym memberships. Areas that have experienced a significant increase in subscription memberships include the following:
- Video streaming
- Digital News
- Online collaboration tools
- Video conferencing
Based on these findings, it may be worth your while to add a subscription service to your business model.
Now that you know what type of business you want to start, think about the cost involved. Calculate up-front costs as well as monthly expenses before you get started. Additionally, you need to determine whether you have enough cash on-hand to cover those expenses as well as costs for the first few weeks while your business is getting established.
There are quite a few up-front costs to consider when planning for your business, some of which tend to be overlooked:
- Office furniture and equipment including desks, chairs, and computer equipment
- Utilities: cost of electric, gas, and water delivery among others
- Phone installation and cost of Internet
- Stationary, cleaning equipment, and other items that may seem trivial
As you’re deciding what you need to start your business, always overestimate. It’s always better to have too much money rather than too little. In addition, determine how you are going to keep track of your expenses. It’s important to track every penny that you spend. You can start tracking your expenses with a Mircosoft Excel spreadsheet and go from there.
If you decide that you don’t have the cash-on-hand to start your business, you can always look into getting a loan. But what if you have bad credit? It is still possible to get a loan, but you need to be willing to accept several conditions. You will more than likely have to pay a higher interest rate as well as show proof of income when applying. To increase your chances of getting a loan, you can choose to apply for a secured loan and put down collateral, or to get a cosigner.
How Can You Maintain Sales?
Even with the best of business plans and finances in place, there is no guarantee that your business will survive. Problems with employees, customer dissatisfaction, and bad partnerships can bring a business down at any time, but that’s just part of doing business and you have to learn to survive despite it all.
And right now, we’re living through a pandemic, which has put many businesses on-edge. More than 40% of small businesses are currently uneasy with their cash flow due to COVID-19. There are things that you can do, however, to improve both your current and future sales, now that your business is up and running:
- Improve the user experience of your website. Optimize your website for use with both desktop computers and mobile devices, and consider placing a live chatbox on your site for easily accessible customer support.
- Build up your website’s Search Engine Optimization. This will make your site more appealing to search engines such as Google and will increase the number of clicks you receive on your site.
- Consider selling your products on Amazon. Amazon is well-recognized by consumers and many are going there to shop. It would be to your advantage to have your products listed there.
- Automate the sales system you are using. This will free up you and your sales staff for other, more important matters including marketing projects and content creation.
By using these techniques, you can increase the chances of your business not only succeeding throughout the current pandemic but into the foreseeable future.
You planned on starting a business this year, and then the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold. There’s no reason for you to be down and out, however. By examining businesses that are doing well, taking a careful look at your finances, and deciding how you can increase your sales from day one, you can not only succeed but thrive during these uncertain times.