If there’s anything you should have learned these past three months, it’s that nothing is every set on stone. Your lofty job as a store manager may be gone in a second. All those years you spent trying to impress your boss to get promoted can go down the drain because your company is closing down. You’ve just moved to a bigger company? You could get retrenched when the company decides on a last-in, first-out retrenchment method.
Do you have some hidden skills and talent? Are you secretly good at fixing things around the house? Could you maybe become one of the roofing companies in your area? If you love baking and cooking, you could start a small business from the comforts of your own home. Whatever your work is right now—accounting, writing, social media managing, marketing, and advertising—you can offer those same services by becoming a freelancer. Why allow yourself to be tied to one company when you can earn more from being a freelancer?
That does not mean you should go ahead and resign right now. But, it’s worth looking into. If you have always wanted to be your own boss, this could be the perfect opportunity for you. If you feel that your company can no longer stay afloat in a post-Covid world, then you should find another source of income.
Are You Crazy?
Is it crazy to think about starting a business when the world is fighting a pandemic? Not really. According to The New York Times, there were more than 500,000 applications for an employer identification number since mid-March. That’s around the same week the World Health Organization (WHO) referred to Covid-19 as a pandemic.
From mid-March to mid-April, the Small Business Administration processed some 300 start-up loans. Those loans are worth north of $153 million. These numbers are not impressive at all. In fact, the 500,000 applications for employer identification number reflect a 20% decrease from a year ago and those 300 small business loans are 36% less than the previous year.
But what these figures mean is that people are still interested to start their own businesses. And why not? If you look at the history of successful businesses, many of them started during past economic downturns. Companies like Walt Disney, Airbnb, Microsoft, Uber, Slack, and General Motors were products of previous economic uncertainties. These mega-companies were ready to take the risk. They got their rewards.
Finding a Niche
Being in the middle of a pandemic, however, means you have to be prudent with your ideas. You need to work within the limits of what you can do as an entrepreneur now. Remember that people are still advised to avoid social gatherings. Restaurants are still not fully operational, so that isn’t sounding good right now. A food delivery business, on the other hand, is a possibility.
Tailor-fit your ideas to what people currently need today. If you have experience marketing a business, offer this service to small businesses that cannot afford to hire a marketing agency. Many small businesses are either reducing expenses or don’t have the capital for a big marketing company. This is your time to reach out to them. Let them know what you can offer for a fraction of the fees of larger marketing agencies.
Even if you don’t have the skills to market a business, can you hire people to do it? Can you form a team to help manage a client’s marketing needs? Look for things that you can offer this client that aren’t already available in the market.
Knowing How to Market
It is not enough to fill in a gap in the market. You should also know how to reach your market. You can’t organize a grand event to launch your venture. All you have now is social media and a well-designed website. But here’s the question: is your market on social media? Will you be able to reach them with a witty meme?
People are generally still not allowed to hold big events (or even small ones). You should come up with creative ways on how to get your target audience to notice you. If your new business idea caters to elders who are not tech-savvy, you may have to direct your marketing message to their caregivers (their children or grandchildren).
The biggest crises gave birth to some of today’s most successful brands. Why should you be any different? All you want is a chance to be your own boss. If you find an opportunity amidst this pandemic, then why not grab it and make something out of it?