The coronavirus has tossed a monkey wrench into commerce. But it can’t squelch the entrepreneurial spirit. Despite economic setbacks and changing consumer behavior, people everywhere are starting businesses. And they’re bringing their visions to life with a refreshingly positive attitude.
Startup leaders report feeling bullish about revenue streams for the rest of the year. A full 59% are certain they’ll either hit or exceed fiscal goals in 2020. That’s great news, because optimism from founders can encourage employee passion, foster innovative thinking, and open the doors for industry disruption.
Have you been blessed with a dream company that you don’t want to wait to unveil to the world? There’s no need to backburner your excitement or ideas. Just make sure that you follow a few steps to give your upstart enough runway to soar.
1. Start as lean as you can.
It’s no secret that funding is at a premium, especially now. Instead of opting for the biggest space you can find and decking it out lavishly, consider cutting out all unnecessary spending. That could mean allowing employees to work from home, sharing office space with another business, or joining a group purchasing organization.
When you trim the fat from the beginning, you’ll set your company up to run tightly going forward. Just don’t strip your team of necessities or worth-it perks like corporate health insurance, generous paid time off, and competitive, fair salaries.
2. Put resources toward making it rain.
You won’t be left with any business if you don’t start bringing in customers from the moment you open your real or virtual doors. Spend time finding and onboarding individuals whose personalities lend themselves to selling. These will be your rainmakers, and possibly tomorrow’s sales managers.
Once you have a superstar sales team, make sure you give them the sales tools they need to efficiently and effectively do their jobs. Good salespeople can become great if they have the right resources to leverage.
3. Focus on your core product or service.
A huge mistake made by many startups is trying to be all things to all people. Rather than diversifying and watering down your offerings, concentrate on building your branding around a single focus or product.
By narrowing down the number of items you deliver to clients and consumers, you’ll make life easier on both you and your buyers. Over time, you can add to your product and service lines, of course. However, beginning with a single-minded focus allows you to construct a brand image and carve out a niche in your sector.
4. Keep a side hustle, if possible.
Depending upon how long it will take your business to turn a profit, you may want or even need to keep another job. Obviously, if you’re serious about entrepreneurship, you’ll want to make sure your other gig isn’t overly time consuming. Think about accepting a part-time position so you have a source of income.
While at your side hustle, make every day an opportunity to learn something that you can use in your business. Let’s say you work in retail a few nights a week. Figure out what your employer does well in terms of customer service—and what’s not happening that should. Jot down your thoughts and findings so you can refer to them later. Remember: Every exposure to another business is a chance to educate yourself and become a smart-repreneur.
5. Go grassroots in terms of marketing.
You’re probably bootstrapping your company anyway, so why not make the most of grassroots marketing efforts? Get busy on a social platform or two. Explore the possibility of starting a YouTube channel. Write blog posts and offer to generate guest articles for publications eager for authors and thought leaders. Create a website yourself using intuitive and relatively inexpensive site builders. Then, populate the site with keyword-rich copy.
Yes, you’ll have to pay for some marketing, such as digital ads on Google or Facebook. That’s reasonable and can present a high ROI if you create well-written, targeted ads with irresistible language. Nevertheless, you don’t have to break your budget going overboard with marketing. Many entrepreneurs spend as little as needed to get buzz for their startups.
Not everyone gets bitten by the business leader bug or plans to build an empire one day. You’re one of the lucky ones. Though right now might seem to be a challenging time to get your company image out there, let alone make money, consumers are eagerly shopping. They’re also looking for fresh, new organizations to patronize. Take time to plan your approach and then wow them by swooping down at just the right moment.