Last Updated June 2021 by Crystallace
This post was a guest post written by Cameron Ward
If you would like to read more helpful content geared toward entrepreneurs, bloggers, and creatives, visit heycrystallace.com today!
How to Become a Winning COVID-preneur in 9 Steps
Starting any kind of business requires you to take risks. Even when the economy is flourishing at record levels, as it was just a couple of years ago, entrepreneurship is wrought with challenges. And about half of small businesses make it to their fifth birthday.
When the economy is struggling—say, in the midst of a global pandemic—it’s easy to see how the challenges could amplify and grow in number. Nonetheless, a whole lot of brave “COVID-preneurs” have launched new businesses in the past 14 months (guess they missed the memo). In fact, new U.S. business filings haven’t happened at this fast of a rate since 2007; there was an average of 84,253 applications filed per week in 2020.
You might ask, “Why would anyone start a business in this economy?” We’ll discuss that in more detail below, but suffice it to say there’s ample opportunity for new companies to stake their claim in the market right now. Note, some of the world’s largest companies found their start during an economic crisis, including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Uber, and many others.
If you have a burning in your soul to start a business, don’t let naysayers or the current state of the economy dissuade you. As you’ll see below, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why now is an opportune time for entrepreneurs. Through Hey Crystallace, I strive to provide practical tips that will help entrepreneurs succeed, which is why I’ve listed these nine steps for becoming a COVID-preneur:
1. Understand why it’s a good idea
One of the biggest reasons so many COVID-preneurs have emerged is because of necessity. U.S. unemployment rose to over 14% in 2020; compare that to 10% unemployment at the height of the Great Recession. And when it comes to full-time work, unemployment is still an issue today. Without being able to sustain their income, more people have been open to the prospect of entrepreneurship.
Then there’s the fact that people have had more free time at home, which means they’ve been more likely to flesh out business ideas they’ve had for years or brainstorm new ones. Also, a lot of small businesses have closed, and demand for new services and products has risen. This leaves an open door to new small businesses to fill in the gaps and provide consumers with what they need now.
Furthermore, starting a business is generally less expensive than it used to be. Thanks to remote work technology, you can have a strong launch for $5,000 or less, and interest rates for loans are at historic lows. And given that the average entrepreneur brings in $61,000 a year, people have realized the potential to make a decent living while gaining the benefits of owning a business and helping their communities.
2. Choose a business model
You may already have a business idea you believe can bring a profit. If you don’t, then now is the time to lay out all of your interests, skills, and knowledge. Then, brainstorm. Once you have a solid business idea, you’ll need to determine how to deliver your product or service to your client, which will be facilitated through your business model. Common business models to consider are freelancing, coaching/consulting, software creation, and eCommerce.
3. Pick a legal structure
It’s also good to choose a legal structure for your business early in the process. While a sole proprietorship requires the least work to set up, you might consider forming an LLC. This will give you a wealth of benefits, including tax advantages, liability protection, flexibility, and more. Research the LLC formation rules in your state, and hire an online service if you want to speed the process along and ensure it’s done correctly.
4. Research and refine
Whatever type of business you want to launch, you’ll need to conduct market research to help determine whether your business idea can actually work. Research your industry and how it relates to your community and state, depending on the size of the market you plan to serve. If your product or service will be sold online, research the global market.
The key is to verify there is demand for your idea in the first place. You can also use online surveys to hear what your target audience thinks about your idea. Then, you can begin refining your idea to fill a specific niche and make it more unique.
5. Create a business plan
Your business plan will serve as a map for your company over the next several years, and it will also play an essential role in securing funding from investors. Take time to do this right, and include every piece of information relevant to your business. Among other things, your business plan should feature your mission statement, core values, product/service descriptions, target audience, financial projections, and marketing strategies.
6. Develop your branding
This step can be done before your business plan; actually, it might help make your presentation to investors more impressive. In any case, you’ll want to begin creating your branding early on. Come up with a catchy, unique business name that will accurately portray your business. Also, develop a logo and choose the fonts, slogans, and other elements that will represent your company on marketing materials.
7. Get money
Every business needs money to launch and operate. Entrepreneurs handle this step in many different ways, depending on the type of business and financial situation in question. If you have the capital, bootstrapping (paying for your own launch) is a great way to go. Another great strategy is to borrow money from friends and family or run a crowdfunding campaign.
Many entrepreneurs seek funding from investors (e.g., angel investors, venture capitalists, incubators, etc.). And you might benefit from researching the small business loans available to you, especially considering that interest rates are expected to remain low for years to come.
8. Recruit your team
You won’t be able to do everything yourself for long. As soon as you can, start thinking about what kinds of team members you’ll need. Perhaps a virtual assistant will help you stay organized and focused on what you do best. Maybe you’ll benefit from hiring a web designer, blog writer, accountant, marketing specialist, or many other types of professionals. Just make sure you have help where you need it.
9. Start promoting your brand
Even if you don’t have your first product or service completely ready to go, you can begin promoting it online. Make sure you have a professional website to serve as the center of your online marketing efforts. And use social media, email marketing, and any other channels that will help you get the word out about your business.
Who says you can’t start an uber-professional business during a pandemic? Remember the tips above, and start thinking of how you can turn your dream business into a reality. If you believe in yourself and take all the necessary steps to prepare, there’s no reason why you can’t become a COVID-preneur that stands the test of time.