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As an aspiring entrepreneur, you might wonder what it’s like to start a business after a year marked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you’re a little nervous or even second-guessing plans to fully open your doors (physical or virtual) in 2021.
In a year as unprecedented as 2020, entrepreneurs showed the world the kind of resilience they and their businesses are made of amid the coronavirus. A certain sentiment rang true this year, despite its many challenges: now is the best time to start a business. Yes, there are many uncertainties ahead, but that tends to be par for the course when starting and running a business.
Entrepreneurship has always meant taking risks, and the risks are worth the rewards.
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Here’s what aspiring entrepreneurs hoping to get their start in 2021 can learn from the businesses that survived, and thrived, in 2020:
Create a pivot-friendly business model
“Pivot” has been a critical verb for startups and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have had to pivot their business models based on customer needs and public health policies.
Some businesses took to creating PPE, like masks and hand sanitizer, to assist frontline workers and customers in need. Other businesses, particularly those in the service industry like restaurants and bars, adjusted the way in which they served their customers. Rather than dine-in, these establishments pivoted to takeout and curbside delivery options.
As you enter the world of entrepreneurship, your ability to pivot may ultimately be a key factor in what helps you sink or swim. There are four factors that define business models, and four questions you should be able to answer when working to create a pivot-friendly business model.
Take a look at your projected business model and assess for the following:
- Differentiation and pricing. Beyond competitive prices, what else helps differentiate your offerings to customers?
- Marketing and sales. What kind of meaningful marketing strategy can you create that interests customers and allows them to build trust in your business?
- Production and delivery methods. How will you produce physical products sold by your company and get them safely into the hands of customers?
- Customer experience and satisfaction. How do you meet the expectations of customers?
Establish strong partnerships
More than ever before, startups and small businesses relied on the support of their communities to stay in business this year. Many companies also established partnerships with other like-minded businesses. These strategic partnerships are based on key ingredients, including customer engagement and mutual benefit for both parties.
Finding a great partner to work with may happen during any stage of your startup’s journey, but it’s a great idea to find likeminded individuals to work with from the start. Creating a partnership with another business full of specialized experts can not only allow both businesses to rise above the competition; it can help get your new company one step further to being recognized as a trusted professional.
Retain a nimble mindset
Great opportunities often come out of difficult times. During COVID-19, entrepreneurs and small business owners have seized opportunities to find ways where they can improve and grow with their customer base.
Starting your business, whether it launches in late 2020, 2021, or another year entirely, means the willingness to be nimble. Use moments of uncertainty to think and create. Identify new areas to learn and grow. Remember that failure is a possibility, but use it as motivation.
This unprecedented time has taught existing business owners that they will emerge all the more aware and ready to hit the ground running in the new normal. And if you’re planning on starting up in the New Year, there’s never been a better time for new and innovative ideas to improve all areas of business and life.