The same factors that we’ve been dealing with for the past 12 months during the pandemic can also create an opportunity to consider starting a small business.
Problems create opportunity
For one thing, fewer businesses in the marketplace can mean fewer potential competitors. For a start-up company, that can be good news.
Also, a slower economy can mean cheaper prices for certain goods and services you’ll need to get up and running. As companies close branch offices, they may be willing to sell office equipment, furniture, electronics, and other items at discounted rates. Commercial property managers have tons of empty space with no rent income. They may be willing to cut you a deal.
Skilled labor is also more readily available in a slow or uncertain economy. With today’s employment outlook, skilled workers may be willing to take lower salaries, at least for now. As your business prospers, you may be able to ramp up salaries and offer other benefits.
Some time-tested suggestions
If you’re thinking about starting a small business now while the short-term economic outlook is still slow or uncertain, here are some time-tested suggestions:
- Start small. Test the market for your product or service without risking too many resources. This could be as simple as a concept test that you share with a few prospective customers. Or it might be creating a pop-up restaurant with pick-up or delivery only. Not only does this approach take less money, but it also develops a proven business model you can then present to bankers to obtain more funding when you wish to expand possibly. So consider taking it slow and letting it build.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. With customers hard to come by in some industries, consider wowing your customers even more than you normally do to gain their loyalty quickly. Remember, success is not always defined by what you do or make, but how well you do it!
- Seek advice. Find other small business owners and pick their brains for suggestions about overcoming obstacles, keeping the business-focused, and prospering during hard times.
- Look for jump starts. Sometimes, a similar business could use your help or is willing to sell at a reasonable price. Starting with a book of business and systems already in place can save a substantial amount of time and money.
- Create a plan. Start with a feasibility study of your idea and then translate that into a well-developed introductory plan. This review and road map will help you succeed when starting your business.
- Build a team. Successful businesses have great accountants, legal advisors, and trusted suppliers. Start networking to build your team. You’ll need your team both in the short-term as you start your business and in the long-term as you look to grow your business.