What have the past 12 months taught you? It seems like nearly everyone has experienced a moment of clarity about something in their lives. Some were reminded of the importance of family and friends. Others discovered the effect their mental wellness has on everything. Many others realized they hated their job and needed a change (or even lost their job)!
If you are the latter, maybe you’ve thought briefly about starting your own business, but got deterred by how scary or uncertain it looked to launch a profitable business during a recession or the pandemic.
YOU CAN! You can be profitable starting an ethical business during the pandemic. The personal and professional rewards of entrepreneurship are great, even now. Here are 7 reasons why now is the perfect time to start your own business:
#1 – Follow your passion
Many businesses are born from the founder’s passion. You can turn a hobby or unique skill into a profitable business and now a great time to start living your passions and making money while doing it.
Keep in mind that not every “passion” can turn into a profitable business. If your passion is drinking margaritas on the beach…there aren’t too many people willing to pay you to do that. But if you can turn your hobby into a business model (like selling margarita mixes) you have a higher chance of success.
#2 – Work on your schedule
One of the big takeaways for many people this year has been the importance of life balance. We’ve spent more time without families and doing things we’ve been putting off, like our hobbies or passions (aka “me time”). If this has become more important to you too, a typical 9-5 job working for someone else, on their schedule, may not give you the freedom to do the things that make you happy. But, owning your own business could!
A big tip we always give business owners is to make sure you don’t work yourself to the bone for your business. Granted, hard work and long hours may be needed to get your business started, but once you’ve found your groove, you’ll have the flexibility for more “me time” or even travelling the world again one day!
Some business owners feel the pull of family and me time is so important that they block off time in their WORK calendar so others can’t book appointments with them. This makes it easier to get that much needed time away from the business for personal reasons.
#3 – Support local economy and job creation
97% of consumers choose to buy local to support the local Canadian economy. The support for local businesses seems to have grown significantly this past year as we’ve stuck closer to home. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, consumers are actually willing to pay a premium if it means buying local products. This means if you position yourself as a local, community-minded business, you have a chance to attract this new savvy group of consumers.
Another way to jump on the #SupportLocal popularity is to start a business that hires local workers and staff. This provides jobs for your neighbours and helps stimulate the local economy.
With so many people still out of work, finding top talent may be easier during a pandemic or recession. And, because you’re likely to hire people to work from home, your talent pool goes beyond your local community.
#4 – Access economic recovery funding
The government and business associations are doing what they can to kick-start our economic recovery, including several grant and loan programs for businesses launching or looking for help to get to the next level. This means you may have easier access to capital to get your business started right now.
We don’t know how long these funding programs will last as the government’s funds are capped, so we suggest if you want to access any of these programs you jump on them quickly before the money potentially dries up.
There may also be other grants and loans available for specific industries and markets, and for certain groups including minorities, immigrants, and people of colour.
(Note: You’re going to need a strong business plan to access many sources of funding.)
#5 – Crowdfunding is gaining popularity
Crowdfunding is proving to be a popular way to raise funds to launch a business or product, and the pandemic hasn’t slowed this down. Last year, crowdfunding grew 33.7%, thanks to the biggest crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Fundrazr, and Indiegogo.
Each year crowdfunding projects generate over $17.2 billion dollars in North America each year. With the average successful campaign raising $28,656, this market is expected to hit $300 billion annually by 2030. This could be a great way to get investors to provide seed money to help you get your project started, if you don’t have enough of your own money or money from larger investors.
#6 – You can bootstrap to start now
The term “bootstrapping” essentially means to start up a business with little to no outside financial support. You’re using your own funds or getting creative to build your business (like crowdfunding). For example, with many people looking for remote work opportunities so they can work from home, you can build your business where everyone works remotely. Aside from investing in some good video conferencing software, you’ll save a TON of money not having to rent office space!
Other popular ways to bootstrap your startup right now include:
- Holding virtual meetings instead of in-person ones (will save you travel time, room or office rental, and meeting food and drink costs)
- Keep your existing job and start your business part time
- Hire freelancers and contractors instead of full-time employees
- Use free to low-cost marketing (like social media)
- Focus on easy/fast ways to get paying customers and clients to start building your cash flow
Look for ways to innovate how you operate your business to better manage your costs so you can spend your capital where it’s most important (like product development, legal fees and business planning consultants, for example).
#7: Build it slow
Depending on your business idea, the market may not be ready for your business during the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start your business now, at a smaller scale. Starting a business now will afford you time to slowly build your brand so when your target customer is ready, you’re there for them. You won’t be caught rushing to launch later and risk missing an important step.
Building it slow also gives you more time to focus on business planning. Businesses who launch quickly without a business plan then later decide to write one, often struggle to balance finding the time to write their plan while dealing with the day-to-day operations of their business. That’s why dedicating the time to business planning and growth at the start, before clients start coming through the door, is the best way to focus on your long-term plan.
What’s our biggest tip for new businesses right now?
If we can impart one piece of advice to you now, as you plan to launch a business during the pandemic, that’s to have a solid plan! Investing the time and money in your business plan will provide a blueprint you can follow to grow your business.
Many launch their businesses then write their business plans, but this is backwards. A well thought-out business plan helps you create a strategic business plan so you get on the right track and reach profitability sooner. It can also help you secure start-up funding so you don’t have to drain all your savings to launch.
For support in writing a business plan for your start-up business, contact our team and we can help you get started.