We all know we’re navigating what many are calling the “new normal” in business. This might have some budding entrepreneurs feeling a little shy about taking a leap of faith in starting a new business or taking their new business to the next level. However, this shouldn’t hinder you; in fact, you should look at this as an opportunity to serve potential customers in the new ways they’re looking to be served.
Statista reports 774,725 businesses were less than one year old in 2019; this number is up from 733,825 in 2018. Additionally, a recent survey from SCORE looked at the effect of COVID-19 on startups and found that 43.9% of startups have a “wait and see” attitude about starting or continuing their business. Even more encouraging to note: 18.4% of business owners actually scaled up their plans and a mere 2.6% abandoned their business plans. All of this data just verifies what all of us entrepreneurs know to be true–we are a determined and self-sufficient breed of people.
We even have examples of massively successful businesses born during a downturn like General Mills, Netflix, and Microsoft.
I truly believe now is a great time to start a business. It’s a phenomenal time to start the right business.
Bootstrapping is in the blood of the entrepreneur.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right? I like the way Matshona Dhlioway said it: “When life hands you dirt, plant seeds.” Smart entrepreneurs know how to bootstrap and adapt.
From working with a lean team, remotely doing business from just about anywhere, managing time, finding ways to cost-share and cost-cut, and even negotiating new terms with vendors and suppliers, we do it all in order to survive the impact of the economic shutdown due to the pandemic. Now, with financing options coming with more stringent requirements, the ability to bootstrap is more vital than ever.
If you’re considering starting a new business, you have lots of options to consider. You could:
- Find a low-investment business to start
- Start part-time while still working a full-time job
- Focus first on easy, fast-paying jobs to build up cash reserves
- Utilize contractors and freelancers instead of hiring staff right away
- Barter with other businesses
The bootstrap mentality requires a mix of being frugal, being innovative, and being agile. This mentality will afford you well not just as a startup or new business, but also as you begin to grow and scale your brand.
Like it or not, American business has changed.
Both businesses and consumers have changed the way they conduct business. Not only has communication between business and consumer changed, but so have the way both experience doing business. Across all industries, clear communication, innovation, and adaptability were the required ingredients for business survival. Unfortunately, some big companies with failing internal structures and cultures didn’t make the cut. This is good news for the “underdog.”
Right now, there is so much opportunity for new businesses to arrive on the scene and deliver consumer experiences in a way consumers have grown to expect. Consumers now face new challenges in their daily lives, and if your business can ease some of those challenges, then you’re already ahead of the curve.
Now is a time of innovation.
If you follow much about business, you’ve probably heard the stories about brands pivoting their models to adapt to consumer needs. So many companies began producing things like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers. Why? Because savvy business leaders understand that success depends largely on the ability to quickly adapt to consumers ever-changing needs.
New businesses have an opportunity right now to step into markets bigger companies can’t necessarily fill in the gaps on. Afterall, innovation is really just problem solving. Today’s consumers are more open to new ideas than ever before. Online shopping is no longer a novelty but, in many cases, a necessity. Talking with a doctor via video is a welcomed alternative to going in for a consultation. While some consumers may be spending less money, they are looking for new solutions to new challenges.
If other entrepreneurs are hesitant to bootstrap and launch now, and long established businesses are playing it safe by slowing down their marketing efforts, then starting today definitely has an advantage. Starting today makes you one of the voices in a quieter market.
Now is the ideal time to reach consumers who are looking to build new relationships with new brands, offering new solutions to new challenges.