What Should You Consider When Starting a Business Post-COVID-19?

Business

Business

As the U.S. economy continues along a slow, long-term recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re beginning to see talk of a wave of new businesses. That may sound optimistic right now, if not downright fanciful. But it’s actually a notion backed up by historical precedent. An Axios piece about a new startup wave pointed out that past economic downturns have actually resulted in innovation. Said the piece, an event like the COVID-19 outbreak “could spawn a generation of startups whose founders are finally getting the nudge they needed to make the leap.” The implication is that people who are losing work, or who may not be able to find it in the first place, may decide that they may as well open their own businesses.

This is an exciting idea in the midst of what looks to be a drawn-out recovery. The hope is that it’s an accurate one as well, and that in the next year or two we truly will see an uptick in newly established businesses. But in thinking about this idea, it’s also important to recognize that new startup founders face a lot of specific challenges relating to COVID-19 and the new economic climate.

If you happen to be someone who’s considered making that leap to entrepreneurism in light of the year’s events, we’d suggest that the following are some of the things you should consider about starting your business.

Plan for Digital Operations

First of all, no matter what kind of business you may be looking to start, you should begin to plan for digital operations. We mentioned the transition to the online world when looking into ‘Key Trend in the Companies Culture Post COVID-19’ and the simple fact is that it’s the most important adjustment businesses are making. Broadly, it means onboarding employees to digital communications platforms, setting up cloud storage for company data, building up a web and social media presence, and if possible preparing for e-commerce sales. Even if your business is going to have an in-person element (which we’ll touch on below), a strong and reliable digital operation is essential as we head toward a post-COVID economy in which distance will be valued.

Look for Incentives

Depending on where you’re located, there may be some state- or city-sponsored incentives aimed at helping small businesses get off the ground. In California for example, where Industry Wired is headquartered in the U.S., there are numerous perks available to help business owners offset hefty state tax rates. A rundown of tax credits by CBS Los Angeles goes into detail on some of the offerings, such as the Small Business Loans Guarantee Program (which offers significant start-up loans to companies with 750 or fewer employees), to give one example. It’s always a good idea for a new business founder to be aware of incentives like this, and this will be even more important moving forward. It’s likely that as the recovery progresses, there could be some new stimulus practices and incentives aimed at sparking entrepreneurship.

Learn How to Make Your Business Official

It’s pretty easy these days to start an unofficial business. Theoretically, you could get an e-commerce website up and running in a single day, and call it a company. And with the rush of entrepreneurial energy we expect, there are likely to be thousands of people doing just that. This is why we recommend getting a leg up on the competition by making your business official — which positions it better for hiring and growth (and makes it appear more legitimate to potential clients or partners). And don’t worry! This is not as tricky a step as it may sound like. The California startup process outlined by ZenBusiness consists of just six brief steps involved in getting a business recognized by the government, and the process is similar in other states. It’s worth looking into though, so that you can set up something real while your competitors could be taking more haphazard approaches.

Prepare for Safe Retail

Despite our recommendation to prepare for online operations, it’s also important to remember that retail isn’t going away — it’s just changing. The LA Times reported California retail reopening as early as May, and while there have been subsequent shutdowns, this makes it clear that as soon as the virus allows for it, stores will be active. So, if your business has a potential in-person component, and you’re looking to rent space for it, it’s a good idea to start preparing for safe practices. This may mean planning a floor plan to support open space, setting up protective screens at the point-of-sale location, or even setting up sanitizer for guests. Businesses that are prepared to provide customers with a safe, comfortable experience will be poised to thrive post-COVID.

Use This Time for Development

Finally, use the time you have now for thorough development! This is in part what we’ve spoken to with all of the points above. But it may be the case that you have a business ready to go and you simply have to wait for safer and more open days ahead. If that’s the case, don’t simply wait. Instead, develop your business further. Build your online presence and do networking; create new products and build up inventory; start saving for a rainy day fund for the company. There are all kinds of things you can do in the months ahead to prepare your post-COVID startup for success.

We hope these tips have given you a few things to think about if you’ve been thinking about going the startup route. Best of luck with your new venture!