Businesses, both big and small, are catalysts for innovation. They play a crucial role in providing outsized contributions to the competitiveness of a country, as well as supporting and pushing forward economic growth. This fact remains true, even as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and put the global economy into a sudden stop.
The pandemic has brought businesses, regardless of size, industry, and market, to their knees, as the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc across the globe. It may be difficult for entrepreneurs and business owners to ensure business continuity during a pandemic and remain optimistic, as a lot of companies are also struggling to survive and forced to close down due to the adverse effects of COVID-19, too.
While everyone is unexpectedly thrown into uncharted territory, remember that new opportunities present themselves in times of difficulty—giving birth to unique, timely, and innovative solutions.
Opening a New Business Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Although launching a business is a sticky ordeal in itself during the best circumstances, it is even more complicated to do so during a global pandemic. Many think it isn’t a good time for entrepreneurs to pursue their ventures, given the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.
In truth, there have been a lot of companies in the past that were born out of necessity during a global recession, including Microsoft, Uber, and Groupon.
Indeed, these are challenging times, but resilient entrepreneurs are starting to regain footing and now stepping up to the challenge. They are finding ways to develop relevant solutions and fill the huge innovation gap in today’s market—be it in telemedicine, online education, remote work, contactless tech, and many other sectors.
As the world shifts towards a digital-first approach, there are certainly challenges and opportunities available today to launch a startup. Still, there are proven steps to grow your business amidst adversities.
Challenge #1: Gaining access to business funding and extending cash runway
According to Later, 60% of business owners reported that they are currently struggling with some aspects of their finances. However, there are ultimately ways to watch out for these financial challenges, including securing a loan, applying for grants, or partnering up with an investor.
To help cushion the impact of the pandemic, banks and other financial institutions have been actively helping businesses by offering them a reasonable line of credit with lower interest rates than before to help companies stay afloat amid the ongoing crisis.
Governments, nonprofit organizations, and tech giants like Facebook and Google are also working towards providing support to small- and medium-sized enterprises through grants to get them through rough times. Similarly, entrepreneurs can also seek out investments from angel investors and venture capitalists to further extend their cash runway.
Challenge #2: Shifting consumer behavior
Consumer behavior and habits have notably shifted over the course of just a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, adaptability is definitely the key to business survival and entrepreneurial success.
Apart from adaptability—with the growing need for digital solutions—it’s a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch a business that fits the current landscape and fills the needs of the consumers’ current lifestyle.
Take tech startups, for example; they’ve been thriving these days and for all the right reasons. In the era of social distancing, tech startups like online grocery couriers are booming, as they saw an opportunity to help stop the spread of the virus while helping people keep safe by conveniently delivering necessities to their doorsteps.
Challenge #3: Adapting to change
One of the most influential trends in business is shifting the focus towards a more digital-first approach. With that, more and more entrepreneurs are hopping on the trend and making their small business available online. As a response, after noticing this shift, Facebook then revealed a new feature—Facebook Shops—to cater to the booming e-commerce trend.
As online platforms and digital tools go hand-in-hand, there are also several market opportunities entrepreneurs can explore. These include online delivery tools, digital payment platforms, and other tech-driven solutions to help do business online more conveniently, safely, and efficiently.
COVID-19: A Business Challenge and an Opportunity in One
It is not impossible to launch a business during the current COVID-19 crisis, let alone find creative strategies for business survival—from exploring and expanding to new markets to adopting new digital tools to continue delivering your products and services to consumers.
There isn’t really a “perfect time” to open a new business to ensure success, but there is always a good opportunity for resilient entrepreneurs who genuinely want to solve relevant pain points in their communities.
If you’re looking to enter the challenging yet fulfilling world of entrepreneurship amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to explore industries crucial in battling the novel coronavirus, such as telemedicine, food and grocery delivery, contact tracing, and e-learning opportunities.
By AJ Balois