There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on both the healthcare system and the economy. What you may not know is that although a great number of businesses are in a state of crisis, the pandemic has also created new opportunities for starting a business. As some may say - ‘Times of crisis are times of opportunity’. In this article we’ve outlined some ideas that will help you start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as tips to ensure its success.
How to Start a Viable Business During COVID-19
The confinement we’ve experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had its challenges, but it’s also opened up new avenues, especially when it comes to online businesses. In fact, consumers are more open to online businesses than ever. As such, we’ve put together an assortment of potential business ideas, with an emphasis on online opportunities.
Sell Homemade Food Online
Due to COVID-19 many restaurants have had to close, while some more fortunate were able to adapt with home delivery or pick-up services. This has led to some entrepreneurial community members exploring how to start a business selling homemade food online. They’ve been able to achieve success thanks to the lower overheads needed to kickstart the business and the ease of distribution with delivery services like UberEats and Postmates. With that in mind - if you love to cook and feel you could succeed by sharing some of the best dishes from your country of origin, this could be a great way to go!
Open an Online Store
Without a doubt, one of the winners of the COVID-19 pandemic has been online retailers. As in-person shopping has dropped, onlines sales have grown. If you have a product to offer - be it clothes, books, crafts, masks or even second-hand items - you should consider ways in which you could start a business selling these items. There already exist great online platforms such as Amazon and Facebook’s Marketplace, or you could even create your own e-commerce website. You could even take it a step further - as all your sales are online, you could potentially buy products from anywhere in the world and resell them to earn a profit. If you’re a natural salesman, this could be a great option for you.
Offer Delivery Laundry Services
One business that’s proven to be in demand during the pandemic is delivery laundry services. Despite the fact that confinement has forced many people to work from home, they don’t always have enough time to do housework. In such cases, they’ve needed to delegate these tasks to services that offer these capabilities. Herein lies the opportunity - if you have the capital to invest in the necessary laundry equipment, you could quickly set up your business and generate a profit. In order to build this business out you’d also need to create a website in which you share the details of your services, and do some targeted marketing to kick things off. Once you’ve set up your business, your greatest ally will be word-of-mouth, so make sure to offer a great customer experience!
Teach Online Classes
A fairly popular business to start during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to teach online classes. It requires very little to begin (just your knowledge of the subject), there’s a demand for further education and you can do it from the comfort of your home! The hardest part is finding and attracting potential students and building an engaging study plan. You can find a plethora of information covering these challenges, such as Bridge University’s blog.
If you’re not sure what to teach, rest assured that there are a lot of options. You can teach theoretical subjects, such as History, Mathematics or Spanish; or you can teach more practical subjects, such as Yoga, Pastry baking, or even offer sports coaching. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to set up a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Google Meet, as well as put together any additional resources and workbooks. If you love sharing knowledge, we recommend this option for you.
Join the gig economy
If you have a means of transportation - be it a car, motorcycle or even a bicycle - you can start a new business by joining the gig economy as a driver and/or food delivery operator. Offering these services can be relatively easy and you can choose to do so part-time or full-time. One of the major benefits is that there’s very little up-front investment and you’d be able to see a profit very quickly.
Keep in mind: Always take into consideration the evolving sanitary/safety measures recommended by health authorities. Depending on what you’re offering, remember to use a mask and keep a healthy distance from others.
What do I need to know to start a new business?
Entrepreneurship can be a great way of doing what you love and achieving your financial goals, however you’ve got to make sure you're taking the right steps to ensure success. Below we’ve outlined government sponsored recommendations for starting a new business.
Step 1. Do Market Research
This is the first step in deciding what business to build, how viable it could be and how challenging it will be to compete against existing competitors. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you get the lay of the land before you invest time and money into your idea.
Step 2. Get the Necessary Permissions
In some cases it’ll be necessary to acquire the necessary permits to start your business. The most common ones are:
- Business license
- State licenses
- Seller’s permit
- Department of Health Permit
Step 3. Design a business plan
This is the roadmap you’ll build and follow as you start your business. It’ll not only help you keep on track, but also convince others to work with you!
Step 4. Build a Marketing Plan
If you want to kickstart your business you should consider building a marketing plan and advertising your business or service (depending on your budget). One of the more affordable options is leveraging social media networks to push the word out. You can find a lot of great resources on this subject, such as this post on low-budget marketing ideas.
Step 5. Select the location
Keep in mind that the pandemic will come to an end at some point in the future and, depending on the type of business you’ve built, you may need to rent a brick-and-mortar location. It may be worth considering the potential location of your business ahead of time as it will influence your profits and tax obligations.
Keep in mind: There are a lot of great online resources for starting a new business. You can find guides on official government sites, as well as thousands of other open resources. Take the time to research and find the guidance you need!
How To Start A New Business With No Capital
It can be challenging to start a new business, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to do so. That being said, there are some options out there for you which we’ve outlined below:
Support From Friends And Family
If you’ve got a great idea that you feel confident could be successful, it may be worth enlisting the support of friends and family as a means of obtaining the financing you need to start the business. Just keep in mind that this option can put your interpersonal relationships at risk, so only do so if you feel you’ve sufficiently prepared and communicated with your loved ones.
A good option for obtaining financing is with government programs, such as those offered by the SBA. Many of these institutions are solely focused on offering entrepreneurial people, such as yourself, the opportunity to make their business dreams a reality.
Private Financing Options
Last on the list is going directly to banks and private lenders. We would recommend keeping this as your last option, as interest rates are almost always going to be higher. If possible we suggest waiting till your business has grown and solidified more before looking into this financing option, as your profit/loss ratio will impact the terms of your loans.
Why you should start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic
If you're still not convinced of the value of starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve outlined some of the main reasons and benefits for doing so below. We know it can be daunting, but don't let the fear of not knowing where to start keep you from exploring your options!
As we’ve said previously - times of crisis bring new opportunities — both for personal growth and entrepreneurship. It’s a matter of being aware of new consumer trends and daring to make the leap. With the enormous changes that have taken effect due to the pandemic, there are constant changes to the consumer landscape and the key is to adapt to this new reality and make the most of it!
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to close some or all of their facilities, and therein lessened the competition within that sector. This is the perfect time to look for those gaps, and take advantage of the diminishing competitive landscape and gain a foothold in the market.
Pandemics such as the one we’re experiencing can force prices to go down in certain sectors. If you see an opportunity in one such sector and you’re noticing suppliers reducing their prices, you can take advantage and access quality products at better prices. This means you can offer more competitive prices yourself, while continuing to reap a profit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, most notably by forcing more people to work remotely. This could be an opportunity for your new business. If you have the capability of hiring remote workers, you’ll be able to reduce overheads and stay more lean. As long as you’ve created a solid communication foundation with your employees, you’ll be able to take advantage of remote work.
Get started today!
We hope that this guide has helped you in your entrepreneurial path during the COVID-19 pandemic. To start a business is never easy, but remember that times of crisis are times of opportunity, it’s a matter of taking the initiative and daring to take the first steps.