There’s no doubt that 2020 has gone down as a year for the ages. Early in the year, the first major pandemic 100 years struck the globe, shuttering businesses by the tens of thousands in the process.
While there’s no doubt that the damage has been catastrophic, entrepreneurs are a resilient lot. Countless small and medium-sized business owners are looking for ways to either get their operation up and running again or start a new venture in a post-coronavirus world.
If you’re amongst the SMBs looking to get things going again, here are a few important questions to ask yourself before you dive into the “new normal.”
Considerations for Existing Businesses
If you’re a business owner who is trying to salvage your existing operation from the economic damage inflicted by quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, start by asking yourself the following:
How Can You Adapt to New Rules?
Have you researched state, regional, and local rules that must be followed? What about researching the rules that your clientele generally prefer. Do they tend to be more or less strict than government guidelines? Where can you meet in the middle if possible?
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a slew of new policies, rules, and general expectations. Everything from wearing masks to hand-sanitizing stations must be considered. What will you do if someone who is clearly sick comes into your establishment or a customer refuses to follow your rules?
Use this knowledge to craft your new COVID-19 policy as you restart your business.
Also, remember to explicitly communicate your new rules to the public. Transparency and authenticity are core elements of the modern branding experience, and your customers are going to want a straight-shooting version of what steps you’ve made to keep them safe and respected during the pandemic.
Have You Considered How to Survive an Unstable Market?
If you’re assuming that, now that quarantines have ended, things will go back to business as usual, think again. The current market landscape is very unstable, and you should take steps to safeguard your operation against a future quarantine, pandemic, or any other catastrophe.
For instance, if you’re a brick-and-mortar operation, you can plan ahead by looking for ways to adapt your current operation into an e-commerce-friendly business model. Another option could be developing an app that your customers could use to do their shopping, place orders, or schedule curbside pickup.
The point is, before you dive back into business, make sure to consider any curveballs you may be thrown in the future.
Should You Make a Pivot?
Finally, as you look for ways to start up operations again, ask yourself if you should make a pivot at this crucial juncture in time. Is your past business model one that lends itself to a pandemic-prone world? Should you look for options to use your current assets differently either within your industry or in an entirely new business?
It may seem drastic, but now is the best time to ask the hard questions, including what your business should look like going forward.
Considerations for New Businesses
If you’re an entrepreneur, either experienced or not, that is considering launching an entirely new startup at this point, here are a few questions to consider as well:
Have You Done Your Homework?
New businesses always require a ton of research, but the pandemic has cranked that requirement up to eleven. As you prepare to launch a coronavirus-era business, make sure that you’ve covered the proper steps to launch a business in the modern market, such as:
- Establishing a website, social accounts, and a general online presence.
- Conducting market research of consumers, competitors, and your industry.
- Adopting a growth mindset to continue evolving with the rest of the world over time.
Do You Have the Financial Stamina?
If there’s one factor that has remained the same since before the pandemic it’s the need for cash to start a business.
With that said, have you considered your personal financial situation? Do you know what it will cost to get your fledgling company off the ground? Do you have good credit that you can use to get a loan if things get tight down the road?
Make sure you’re financially ready to be an entrepreneur.
Have You Planned for the Long-Term?
Finally, are you considering the long-term implications of starting a business? It’s easy to cater to pandemic-focused things like sanitation and social distancing, but what about the items that will remain relevant after the pandemic ends?
For instance, have you considered if your company will adopt a corporate social responsibility attitude? Or could you possibly take things a step further and utilize a conscious capitalism approach that considers the state of humanity and how your business can make a positive impact as you operate? Either way, having a humanitarian, sustainable approach to business will serve your professional interest far into the future.
Running an SMB Post COVID-19
While these are by no means the only questions you should be asking yourself, considerations of this nature have become essential in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Questions like how you’ll survive in a turbulent market and whether old ways of doing business can adapt to a new marketplace are essential if you want to succeed over the long-haul.
Most important of all, as an entrepreneur, you must take the time to slow down and consider every facet of your business activity as you join the ranks of those blazing the trail into the new normal.