When the coronavirus pandemic first broke out and initial restrictions on movement, business and social interactions were imposed back in March 2020, the hope was that it would all be over within a few months, at the most.
When such expectations were shown to be fanciful at best, the impact on the economy became clear as business after business – and sector after sector – started to feel the effect on sales and revenue as they haemorrhaged customers.
For some staff the effect was almost immediate, with record numbers losing their main source of livelihood.
Various schemes were announced by the government and while the support has been lauded as one of the most generous and wide-ranging in the world, it hasn’t enough to stem the tide of closures and job losses.
It’s not all bad news though. As unemployment figures increased there has been a trend which, while fascinating, is just as surprising:
A record number of new businesses were incorporated in 2020. (Incorporation is the process by which a new or existing business registers as a legal entity such as a limited liability company, that is separate from the people who own or run it. This is a good guide to incorporating a company).
When you consider that this does not take into account micro-businesses such as the myriad of new creative ventures on platforms such as Etsy and Shopify, and sole entrepreneurships in areas as varied as consulting, coaching and wellness, it’s safe to say that an unprecedented (sorry, that word again!) number of people have taken the decision to launch out into the deep.
Do you have a brilliant idea, but are discouraged by all the bad news?
Have you spotted a gap in the market, for which demand could be met by an idea that keeps you awake at night?
Perhaps you’ve been put off by the gloomy economic outlook?
Don’t be deterred. I know it doesn’t look like it, but this is a brilliant time to get going with your idea and start a business. Here’s why:
There is a Wealth of Opportunities:
Without question this is a difficult time, the most challenging of our lifetime. Finances, relationships and even our health is being tested.
But in the midst of it all, there are opportunities to meet customer needs.
An example is the rise in food delivery businesses. With restrictions putting a halt to our culture of dining out and children at home round the clock, takeaways are a saviour for parents who are exhausted with homeschooling during the day, who need some respite at the end of the day.
There are stories of companies that have started or pivoted manufacturing items we previously never gave a second thought, but which are now essential such as personal protective equipment, masks and hand sanitiser.
The drive to provide goods and services online is also a huge opportunity for niches such as web design and development, copywriting, software sales and cybersecurity.
What opportunities could you harness and turn into a going concern?
There are Significant Gaps in the Market:
Such gaps may have existed before the pandemic, or could have been created as a consequence of it.
Either way, it’s worth taking note and assessing how you could fill one of more of those gaps.
One example is that with the explosion in home working, many have realised they don’t have the best set-up when it comes to furniture. There has been huge demand for items like desks and ergonomic chairs, not to mention devices such as laptops, tablets and monitors which are needed for families to work and do their schoolwork at the same time.
Another is that because we are all more sedentary there has been an increase in demand for the services of professionals such as osteopaths and physiotherapists.
Perhaps you’re mourning the loss of a permanent job in a large healthcare practice or are on furlough. Could this be the best time to set up on your own?
Best Time to Innovate:
Historically, many businesses were borne in the midst of economic adversity.
Household names such as Microsoft, Airbnb, Groupon, WhatsApp and Uber all started when others thought they should have waited till the environment was more favourable.
But their founders knew they had something new and different to offer; something innovative which would make a dent in the marketplace, be of use, and make a positive contribution to communities.
Are you holding back on releasing your very good idea to the world?
It might be big or small, helpful in the fight against the virus or something that provides entertainment and light relief.
Whatever it is, don’t sit on it. Now, more than ever, is the best time to start a business.
What You Need To Start a Business:
One of the first things you need to kickstart your idea and bring it to life is a Business Plan.
It clarifies your intentions and prompts you to carefully consider what your customers need, and that’s just the beginning. Here are the reasons why you need a Business Plan, which I strongly recommend you start off with.
And your size or sector doesn’t matter; a Business Plan is a crucial part of your success.
Some tend to think they don’t need one if they are a sole entrepreneur running a micro-business, for example.
But nothing could be further from the truth! Here are 4 myths about Business Planning and why they are not true.
And finally, I have produced some Business Plan Templates which will make the process of writing yours so much easier.
They are available to purchase; find out everything you need to know about my Business Plan Templates here.