A Guest Post by Lily Harris
The pandemic rages on and the world is still, months later, scrambling to gain a foothold on what looks to be ongoing economic uncertainty. But whether you are looking for ways to help your established business bounce back or are trying to launch something new in a difficult business environment, there is simply no other option but to work with the limitations introduced by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown.
A shift in mindset is necessary to frame this period as a time of opportunity and an invitation to shake things up. Here’s how to use all the unpredictability of our current era to your best advantage.
Capitalize on instability
Yes, there are many opportunistic ways to make a little money in the wake of the pandemic – those who’ve acted quickly to launch medical, cleaning and mask-related startups have been more than rewarded. But there are other, more long-term avenues to explore that are now being opened up by the monumental changes happening in the social, political, and economic landscape.
Whether you are looking for an entirely fresh business idea to launch or are simply interested in branching out from an existing enterprise, it’s worth considering the massive trends instigated by the pandemic. These include services that focus on delivery, remote services (such as mental health, education, even fitness), e-commerce of all stripes, and of course anything that aids and enhances the work-from-home experience, such as software and app development, or data security.
Take advantage of business bank accounts
Let’s be honest: making money during a pandemic isn’t easy. You need more than a “lean” methodology and a great business idea; you need to make sure you’re saving money wherever possible. The great thing about startups is how you can get going without necessarily investing huge amounts of capital. The last thing you want though, especially during the Covid era, is to be hemorrhaging money on hidden service fees and costs.
Start with an obvious one: there are now many free UK business bank account options out there. Spend a little time finding the right one for you and you instantly slash bank charges. You may even attract a neat sign up or switching bonus, or another introductory offer. It may seem like a small thing, but a business bank account can help you really understand what you can and can’t afford, and how, so you make informed decisions.
Clean up your software, UX, and security
Even if business is a little quiet, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at your business infrastructure and see where you can make efficiencies and savings. No matter what your business is, you’re likely experiencing significant computing and IT changes, for example having employees work from home or managing sensitive data remotely.
Take the opportunity to check on the financial health of your business. Do you need a new accountant? Could you spend a little money upgrading your payment system? Perhaps you need to completely rethink your user experience and change the way your clients find and interact with you? Finally, consider getting a professional opinion on keeping your cyber security updated.
Streamline your business plan
The pandemic has been extremely hard on many UK industries. But for entrepreneurs, the challenge now is to respond to adversity with innovation and some honest reflection on all the old “business as usual” assumptions. If you’re just launching a new endeavor, you have the advantage of being able to build from square one with a focus on resilience, dynamism and real responsiveness to market volatility. Change means opportunity. How can you use emerging pandemic trends to inspire you and your business to offer people real value?
Focus on fundraising opportunities
A great idea and a streamlined business proposition are sadly not enough to ensure success. Even modestly sized startups need funds to launch. During the pandemic, fundraising for your startup may in fact require the bulk of your attention. Venture capital funding has taken a knock, and investors of all kinds are cautious to say the least – but all is not lost.
Partnering with bigger companies, seeking government funding, charities and nonprofits, family funds, courting angel investors, even crowdfunding or debt may feature in your attempt to gather enough capital to get off on the right foot. Creativity is the name of the game!
Nobody would claim that starting a business or growing an existing one during a pandemic is trivial. But if there are now more challenges than ever before, there are also more new and exciting opportunities for genuine growth.