"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." These words by Charles Darwin are more relatable and applicable in the world of business today than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a series of uncertain events that have rapidly brought the global economy to grinding halt.
However, there is a silver lining to this colossal mess, and that goes beyond the reduction in pollution levels. As the world grapples and fights this unprecedented economic crisis, there is an emergence of hope and new opportunities. Serial entrepreneurs know that the most lucrative and creative businesses are born during the worst of times.
As the world changes, people's needs change, and this presents entrepreneurs with new opportunities. Starting a new business during uncertain economic times might be the smartest thing to do. Here are five tips to keep in mind if you plan to take the entrepreneurial plunge and start a new business during an economic crisis.
5 Tips To Make Your Business Idea A Success During An Economic Crisis
1. Identify An Opportunity… (Then Capitalize On It!)
Any economic crisis inevitably leads to significant lifestyle changes among people. Spending power changes, and in the current situation, so is the freedom of movement. In times like these, it's imperative to unlearn the traditional ways of doing business and look for creative outlets and ideas.
Start by evaluating how people's needs have changed. They will look for cost-effective alternatives, a more convenient mode of delivery, and, perhaps, even better customer service. They may also require a new set of products or services to meet an existing need.
For instance, a fitness buff will turn to online workout platforms as a convenient and inexpensive alternative to going to the gym. Or those who attend mental health counseling at a clinic will turn to online counseling.
Similarly, students will turn to online studies, home chores like buying groceries, paying bills, personal grooming, will all require effective online solutions. Once you have identified a need that requires immediate attention or one that is not being addressed by any other business, it's time to draw an action plan and go for it.
2. Find Cost-Effective Avenues For Everything
To make your business a profitable venture, especially in the time of an economic slowdown, you need to know how to stretch every dollar and make the best out of all available resources. The best way to safeguard your business's financial health and solvency is to steer clear of business ideas that require steep investments like office space or additional equipment.
For instance, a business idea for home delivery services of food and groceries may seem like a lucrative business idea. However, if you invest in buying or renting a mini truck or a van, you may end up spending more than you make. Take baby steps by delivering small items in proximity to where you're located. You can easily do that using a bicycle or a bike or even on foot!
Alternatively, if you have a set of design skills or marketing expertise or programming know-how, and you have friends or colleagues in the same field of work, you can start a remote company from your living room! All you need is a laptop, internet connectivity, essential software, lots of coffee, and a constant flow of motivation.
The goal should be to fuel a business idea that is easy to set up and doesn't leave you on the negative side of the balance sheet.
3. Build A Formidable Flat Team
They say strength is in numbers, but you don't need a community of people to build your business idea to success. All you need is a small, flat team of responsible, trustworthy, hardworking people who share the same passion and zeal as you.
A flat team means there's only one person to do each task, and everyone is connected and aware of what the other person is doing. For instance, if you are opening up a digital agency, all you need is four people for each of the four critical tasks of marketing, design, development, and sales.
Having a flat team will help you reduce unnecessary back and forth and limit the number of meetings while reducing bureaucracy within your business. The most significant advantage of a small, flat team is that it gives people a chance to discuss ideas openly and enables them to implement them swiftly and efficiently - which is exactly what a small business needs.
Moreover, a small team is easy to manage remotely using simple productivity and video conferencing tools. A great place to begin your hunt for the perfect candidates is to reach out to friends, former colleagues, and people from your immediate professional network. By looking for people in your friend circle or network, you'll be able to hire someone you know and trust.
Once you've found the right set of people and your team is ready, create a fun, open, and simple work environment that urges people to express their ideas and bring their best selves to work every day (even if they're working from their bedroom).
4. Register The Right Domain Name
Your domain name plays a crucial role in defining your online brand and building your digital business. Think about it; your domain name will be plastered on your email address, social media handles, marketing creatives, merchandise, and online adverts. In the digital world of business, your domain name deserves as much thought and deliberation as your company name.
An awkward domain name that is hard to spell or one that has hyphens or misspellings is quite simply a recipe for disaster. Your small business needs a domain that is:
- Short, meaningful, and memorable
- Indicative of what your business offers
- Unique, creative, and keyword-rich
Category-killer names that meet the criteria mentioned above on traditional domain extensions like .com and .net are relatively hard to find. And if you do find an easy to remember, contextual name on conventional extensions – it will cost a small fortune to register it.
Fortunately, you can choose a smart, slick name with new domain extensions like .icu, .bond, and .cyou. With new domain extensions like these, you can even register your company's exact match name – a privilege once reserved only for large corporates and marquee brands.
For instance, the newly launched .cyou domain extension offers a vast pool of names to register that are not easily available anywhere else. It's wise to choose a domain name that matches your company name or one that is catchy. After all, your website address is the digital equivalent of your office address.
5. Embrace Digital Marketing
Did you know that a whopping 81% of people search online before making a purchase? This statistic is a clear indication that people will search for your company online before giving you any business. How do you get your business to dominate the online world? Digital marketing.
There are multiple facets to digital marketing, and as a small online business, you need to embrace the digital ways of promoting your business.
a. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the king of digital marketing. In fact, most people associate digital marketing with social media marketing. For starters, nearly 50% of the world's population uses social media. That's over 3 billion users worldwide!
For your small business, make sure to create a social media handle under your company's same name on the most relevant social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms.
Post content regularly and interact with your followers to build engagement. Every social media platform can serve a unique purpose. For instance, your Instagram handle is perfect for sharing attractive visuals and driving people to your eCommerce store. In contrast, your LinkedIn handle is better suited to share industry-relevant information and business news.
Use your company logo as your profile picture and makes sure to craft a branded hashtag that your followers can use to mention your company.
b. Content Marketing
For your business website to show up on the first page of Google's search results, you need to invest a significant amount of time on search engine optimization or SEO. This optimization is best done by adopting a solid content marketing strategy.
A great way to augment your content marketing efforts is by starting a blog page on your website. Identify the most relevant topics in your niche, then start regularly publishing value-driven blog posts that address your users' needs and are rich in keywords. Publishing content and sharing it on social media will brand your business as an authority in your industry.
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and AnswerThePublic to search for relevant keywords and keyphrases. Use Google Analytics to gauge how well your blogs are performing. Content marketing is a great way to gain mileage on relevant longtail keywords that you wouldn't have been able to capitalize on otherwise.
c. Influencer Marketing
A great way to ensure your business is a runaway success is to collaborate with a relevant influencer. While you may wonder how a small business on a shoestring budget in an economic crisis is going to shell out big bucks for a collaboration of this sort, there are ways and means to do it.
Do a cold reach out by writing a message or leaving a comment on their post about what your company is about and how your product is unique. You can even send them your product or give them a free trial for your service.
Use an online platform like ShoutCart that connects leading influencers with businesses that wish to use their services. You can get your company featured with a macro influencer for as much as $100! That's chump change as compared to the millions spent by big brands.
Having your product or company featured by a relevant influencer will increase trust and credibility in your users' minds. It will also help you improve your social media game as the followers of these influencers start following you.
If you have a great business idea, now is as good a time as any. Don't let the economic slowdown halt your dreams and goals of bringing your business idea to life. With a practical, strategic, and creative approach, you can make your business idea a success - even during a global pandemic.
Eshan is a Senior Marketing Specialist at ShortDot, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .icu, .bond, and .cyou. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.