In Saint Louis, Missouri, a boom in puzzle sales has enabled Puzzle Warehouse, the largest distributor of puzzles in North America, to hire 10 more employees. Rancho Gordo, an heirloom bean supplier in Napa Valley, California, is seeing a massive surge in beans sales, from canned to dry beans. The Party Source, a liquor store in Bellevue, Kentucky, is enjoying more than just increased alcohol purchases. They’re also selling bitters, cherries and every other ingredient necessary for at-home cocktails.
Games, canned suppliers, and alcohol are just three industries breaking sales records during the coronavirus. Other thriving businesses experiencing an uptick in sales include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Local grocery stores, like organic grocer Erewhon
- Fitness studios and companies that sell fitness products
As citizens worldwide practice social distancing and hunker down at home, entrepreneurs are innovating their products and offerings. Adapting to these new needs allows individuals everywhere to maintain a bit of normalcy in an unprecedented time — and be productive and enjoy that time, too.
If you’re ready to start a business within one of these industries, or pivot your current business model and branch out into another field to help your customers during this trying time, take a look at the shortlist of questions you’ll need to answer before you begin.
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Figure out your “why”
Why do you want to go into business? What are some of your short- and long-term goals for your potential startup? Or, why do you want to pivot your existing business?
Your “why” is connected to your mindset and may be found through these characteristics:
- You have a strong desire to make a difference in your community
- You are driven to do what you love and possess the skills required to execute
- You have found your purpose and want to pursue it
- You are ready for a new challenge that inspires you and allows you to keep learning
Ask yourself: is my idea a viable business?
This question is one you should be able to answer, regardless of the current economic climate.
You may have what you think is a pretty good business idea, but have you considered its variables?
Drafting a business plan can help you better answer these questions before you launch the company. A business plan evaluates the feasibility of the company from an objective standpoint.
It also addresses the answers to these questions:
- What makes my business idea unique and original?
- Is there a proven demand in the market for my business and its products/services?
- How will my offerings and services benefit the lives of customers?
- Where can I collect feedback from customers for my business idea?
When it comes to gathering feedback, consider conducting a survey or utilizing social media platforms reach your audience for unbiased feedback.
Determine your unique selling proposition
A unique selling proposition (USP) allows you create a clear brand identity. You must understand how to sell the products or services to yourself before you can sell them to customers.
In order to develop a USP, you need to be able to address the following:
- Identify your strengths. What makes you stand out from the competition? What do you have that competitors don’t?
- Figure out the ways that your business can solve problems that your target audience has. Do you fill a niche in the market that was previously missing before?
Pick your business model
Will this business be full-time or will it be your side hustle? Many successful businesses often begin as side hustles, and a passion project is a great way to stay afloat during uncertain times. Either way, you’ll need to select a business model for your company. Essentially, a business model is the plan to make money.
Business models are different among industries and are impacted by four key factors:
- Differentiation and pricing
- Marketing and sales
- Production and delivery methods
- Customer experience and satisfaction
Incorporate the business
You’re almost ready to make your business a reality! Make sure you take care of the following legal areas before you launch the business:
- Incorporate the business or form a limited liability company (LLC) for liability protection
- Register for trademarks to protect your company’s unique business names, slogans, logos, taglines and phrases
- Obtain an employer identification number (EIN) in order to hire employees and open a business bank account
- File any necessary business licenses required by your Secretary of State for doing business in your specific industry and state
Whether you’re planning to start a side hustle or pivoting your existing business, it’s important to be prepared. We’re living in uncertain times, but by taking the above steps into consideration, you’re on your way to making the entrepreneurial leap forward.