In this day and age, it’s impossible to find someone who has no idea how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered lives globally.
Businesses, in particular, have experienced a significant shift. Towards the end of 2020, a whopping estimate of 9.1 million small businesses were shut down, either permanently or temporarily. Worryingly, about 9 million people lost their jobs during the economic downturn.
All of these numbers mean one thing fundamentally: we no longer conduct businesses the same way we used to before the COVID-19 pandemic. And these days, aspiring entrepreneurs need to understand that they have to step into this new paradigm shift in the business world.
So, how do we navigate starting a business post-pandemic?
1. Taking Your Business Online
At the start of the pandemic, one of the ways in which every entrepreneur struggled was that they were unable to reach people. Social distancing became a key ingredient in maintaining public safety.
But of course, there is one primary solution to this issue: the internet.
Technology has advanced since its inception. Today, we can always opt for video conferences and building brands online. And that is exactly what businesses have done.
Take, for example, The Sculpted Vegan. Spearheaded by Kim Constable, this company aims to help customers achieve their desired fitness levels — and it does this online.
Despite being a fitness company, The Sculpted Vegan doesn’t shy away from conducting business online. And it actually fares rather well with customers. Since its inception, the brand has attracted over 70,000 Facebook page subscribers and 4.5 million Instagram followers.
The Sculpted Vegan has also recently launched its official app. Through this app, clients can access various training programs and fitness regimes from the comfort of their own homes. The pandemic has changed the way entrepreneurs view the term “impossible”. Physical stores now give way to online shopping options — a move that has salvaged plenty of businesses. Because, really, the issue with today’s pandemic isn’t that there are no more consumers out there; rather, there’s an increased difficulty in reaching these consumers.
2. Understanding Your Target Customers
This one isn’t a novel idea. But within the context of business operations post-pandemic, it’s key to understand that there are additional factors to take into account when assessing one’s target consumers’ concerns.
Raul Perdigão, Pipedrive’s global head of sales, affirmed: “Sales teams…are struggling with what to say to customers, and [many] have changed or modified their offering to meet customers’ changing needs. Buyers are shifting priorities to adapt and salespeople must do the same.”
Another challenge posed for entrepreneurs who want to reach their consumers lies in the art of communicating a brand’s goals online.
“If a brand’s online identity is non-existent or inconsistent, its audience will quickly figure it out and go to a competitor who communicates more effectively,” said Act-On Software’s SVP of Marketing, David Greenberg.
People want to subscribe to brands that genuinely care about what their consumers want. For instance, The Sculpted Vegan was born out of Kim Constable’s own struggles as a vegan. An avid lover of fitness, she went vegan a year before deciding to bodybuild.
However, her trainer couldn’t help her get the nutrition she needed for her training program, since he had no experience training vegans.
“Many people mistakenly assume that vegans have a harder time building muscle because we don’t consume animal flesh, but that isn’t true. It’s simply a matter of properly hitting your protein requirements,” Constable explained.
Projecting one’s passions onto their entrepreneurial endeavors is key. It helps consumers to understand you. It bridges the gap created by a brand’s online presence. As Constable puts it: “When you are there for [your clients] every step of the way and uphold them when they cannot uphold themselves, something magical happens. They realize that you aren’t just there to take their money. They realize that you truly care. In a superficial world, we have lost the value of caring for others. We have forgotten that these are human beings we are interacting with, not online avatars.”
3. Managing Finances Post-Pandemic
Finance is a huge headache for many business owners.
After all, almost every business has struggled financially during the pandemic. Many businesses have mitigated the issue of paying utility bills by taking their activities online. Some have even suggested having their employees come in on alternate days. These are some good suggestions to minimize unnecessary expenditure. And indeed, anybody starting a business post-pandemic needs to be smart about how they’re spending their brand’s finances.
Small businesses can also consider applying for loans. America’s Congress has provided financial assistance to small businesses. But the reality is many can’t wait so long to get their funding applications approved.
So, it’s important to sit down and figure out what your business requires. What does the expenditure look like? Can you manage the costs? These are common questions entrepreneurs have always asked themselves; but after the pandemic, additional factors have to be taken into account.
For instance, companies need to improve their cash flow runway so they’re better prepared to face any unexpected crises. Cash flow runways essentially point to how long a business can survive during times when it isn’t able to generate any revenue.
Today, Constable also helps her clients scale their businesses through her new program, The Million Dollar Mentor. Managing finances and scaling one’s business, especially during these precarious times, can be extremely daunting. With this new emphasis on having an online presence, many worry about how they’re going to start a new business when they don’t have many followers, to begin with. Through this program, Constable teaches her clients to attain $1 million within a year, using the system she implemented for The Sculpted Vegan.
Answering the Siren’s Call
So, what are you waiting for? If you have an idea you’re passionate about, don’t let anything stop you — not even a pandemic.