Thinking about launching a business in 2020? You are not alone. The pandemic inspired a lot of changes in the way we live our lives and has also created many new business opportunities. However, it also raised the stakes and posed some new obstacles. As if launching a business under normal circumstances wasn’t already hard enough…
But this is not a time for disparaging. Now that risk is at an all-time high, so is the gain. 2020 might be the best time to launch your business. But to embrace the situation and turn it into a successful business you first need to know a few things. Luckily, this is not the first time a global pandemic has happened on Earth, so we can turn to history for a little insight.
What can we learn from the past about the current situation?
There have been a few horrible widespread pandemics in the 20th century. Among them, the most memorable was the 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly known as the Spanish flu, that took the lives of at least 50 million people worldwide (more than double the death of WWI).
As you can imagine, the virus wreaked havoc in society, destroying communities and lives all around. Lockdowns closed non-essential businesses, there were travel restrictions, consumer habits altered, and interrupted supply chains left the economy on its knees… Sound familiar?
Although this pandemic took place over 100 years ago, the situation was quite similar (and considerably worse). It’s difficult to compare and analyze the worldwide socio-economic impact of the pandemic that lasted 3 years and infected 500 million people, primarily because it did follow WWI which had a devastating impact on its own.
But what is clear is that many businesses were closed, the workforce was weakened (primarily due to young workers age 15-44 dying at a staggering rate). When businesses did reopen, they were faced with massive labor shortages too.
Are we on the right track?
Still, the economy did recover relatively quickly and was followed by the Roaring Twenties – a period of economic prosperity in the West. And the “milk and honey” of the decade that followed didn’t come out of nowhere. Many businesses had to close down during the pandemic, and others struggled to recover.
This created space for the spirited newcomers to build their own businesses and launch new innovations that met the demand for affordable cars (which were a luxury before the era of FORD), entertainment (cinema was no longer a silent treat), and even the launch of the first mass medium – the radio shortly followed by television.
The human race really took flight in the roaring twenties, and it’s highly likely that history is about to repeat itself. It’s clear that the pandemic does have a lot of potential for progress and innovation, but launching a business right now does come with some challenges. So if you want to launch a business in 2020, you have to be aware of the following aspects of the current situation.
7 questions to ask before launching a business in 2020:
1. What has changed?
Opportunities always come from change. Sometimes, there is suddenly a lack of a certain type of resource, or people’s needs evolve and are no longer met with existing solutions. This creates space for new innovations in the market, ones that have the potential of changing the way we do things on an everyday basis.
By examining the current situation you will clearly see the opportunities you can take advantage of and launch a successful new business.
So, what has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic?
For one, a large percentage of people now work remotely, which means fewer commutes and more demands for standing desks. Online shopping is the no.1 way to shop (literally anything), and there is growing interest in contactless tech, right Alexa?
Those that lost their jobs are looking for a new digital way to make money, improve their skills, or start their own business – just like you.
People need physical products too. We have more time to stare ourselves in the mirror so perhaps that explains why workout equipment and skincare sales have gone up. People are also looking up ingredients more than ever, and actively scrutinizing companies that discriminate against employees, and don’t hinder the spread of misinformation (looking at you Facebook).
There is business potential in all of these shifts. Some of them have been gradually building up for a while and you might have seen coming. Some are just beginning to develop as a result of the new circumstances. Either way, in every industry there is a new wave and your business should be on one of those surfboards riding it.
2. What can you do better?
Keep in mind that the customers are the core of every business. A business without customers is just an idea. In order to get their attention and keep it you need to offer something new, or do it in a unique way.
Maybe you can lower the price of an existing product by using a better way of production, or you can be unique in the way you market your services online. Figure out what matters most to your customers (image/money/time/convenience) and find a way to do it better than the competition.
3. How can you make it happen – faster?
Even the pandemic has not slowed down our very fast-moving world. If you have an idea, you can bet that about 1000 other people have it too. It’s likely at least a few of them will try to make something out of it. Don’t view this as a problem tho. It means you are on the right path. But this is where speed really becomes key. Launching first has its perks.
But launching is only a single moment in your company’s story. Growth comes from consistency, and this is why you need to think about how you will help your idea spread. Great products still need marketing so don’t think for a second that you can do without it. Lastly, meeting demand is also key, and this is where a lack of investment can really slow you down.
4. How can you get the money?
Maybe you already have money saved up or are one of those lucky few that have a wealthy uncle. Or maybe, you are planning on bootstrapping your way to the top, reinvesting everywhere you can. Either way, you need a solid business plan. Whether it’s to pitch to investors or plan profits to reinvest, this will help you move in the right direction and grow the business faster.
And if you are looking for investors you are in luck. People are looking to invest during economic downturns. Entrepreneurs that made money during the last one knew the potential this one has too. But first, you need to get your plan together and validate the idea.
5. How to validate your idea?
Validation is not only something you look for in your partner when you feel down. Whether it’s your money or someone else’s, you need to know with relative certainty that your idea has the potential you think it has. And while the pandemic has made us feel less certain just about everything, the best way to validate the idea is still to do it with real users.
Don’t ask hypothetical questions (people lie when they answer them anyway). Instead, run a $50 Facebook ad for the product you are planning to sell, or make a prototype and ask real users to test it.
6. How to launch (and stay relevant)?
The pandemic has created a unique opportunity for most businesses. People are now online more hours of the day than ever before. It’s very likely that your target group is there too.
What you need to do is find the right channels to reach them. Are they spending their time scrolling on LinkedIn or laughing out loud at Trump’s tweets? Finding the right channel is often a challenge but also the key to the successful launch of any business
7. Can you prepare for the worst-case scenario?
Nothing is ever certain, but in normal circumstances, you can have fairly accurate projections for the upcoming year. Right now, certainty is a commodity that no one has. Large corporations are preparing for the worst with crisis management plans. But they have board members who have relatively little to do besides discussing the future.
While you might not have that kind of resources at your disposal, it’s good to have a plan B and C. It will enable you to move forward with more confidence, and help you survive the next tsunami.
Launching a business in 2020 is a big feat. It’s important to answer these questions before setting out to launch a business. But what’s even more important is action.
Taking action and actually starting to work on your business. You might be holding the idea for the next Netflix, Slack of Amazon in your head. Unfortunately, ideas don’t change lives – actions do. So just start. Some answers will unveil themselves as you go.
Still, feeling stuck on how to launch your idea? Consulting with someone who has experience is always a good idea. Our team has helped many businesses launch successfully in various different markets. So, soak up more knowledge that our team has shared during the past few months on our blog, or reach out to talk to our experts right Here.