Five crucial tips you need to follow in preparation

Lockdown has been a massive change for almost everyone across the world, both in our personal lives and in our profession.

Many of us have not only started working from home, but also began taking advantage of the increased flexibility and extra free time to look at starting a business of our own.

But whilst there’s opportunity to be found, the landscape for starting a company has changed dramatically. There’s a lot to be taken into consideration before diving in, especially under current uncertain circumstances. Here are a few key points laid out by Capital on Tap to help you get your new business on track.

Investigate your target market

Even when we aren’t under lockdown, it is vital to follow some steps. Before you start offering a product, you need to define whether there’s sufficient demand – and how to reach your target customer.

During normal times, you might want to investigate a high street space to sell to passers-by, but many businesses will now focus on remote sales and contact. Look at what existing businesses in the same space are doing – and think about what you can do to match- or improve their models.

Don’t just assume older guidance on the market will be right, either. The massive changes as a result of coronavirus have flipped many industries on their heads, so make sure you’re looking at the latest news and reports to get a clear idea of what people are buying and where they’re tightening their purses.

Work out startup costs

Another key factor in a new business is the cost involved. For businesses like small agencies or service providers, these might be smaller, such as starting a website or hiring someone to do social media part-time. Other businesses might need to purchase initial stock or supplies to get off the ground.

Whatever your intended model, there are going to be costs, and even if you think they’re going to be small, it’s crucial to make a note of as many as possible.

By planning for costs – even ones that might not come up – you can plan your finances ahead and you won’t be caught out by any nasty surprises.

Develop a finance plan

In line with working out costs, you need to work out how you’re paying for the business.

You might be able to afford it out of your savings, which puts you in a great position to start recovering your money as soon as business picks up.

But it’s also possible you might need a loan or business funding to cover the initial spend before your clients and customers appear. You might want to consider looking for investors if you’ve got a great idea or you already have some experience in the space.

Leverage online spaces

While the internet isn’t a new tool for business, lockdown has meant that many communities and markets have migrated completely into online spaces.

That means that there are opportunities online for sales in completely different areas. Web forums are more active with people unable to go out as often, and customers who would usually be on the street are more likely to shop online to protect themselves.

Look for communities in your space – whether there are people talking regularly about the product in teams on services like Slack or Discord, or if there are industry boards or groups on Twitter that you can take advantage of.

This kind of networking can be great for finding some of your early customers, and you’ll benefit from being able to move faster than businesses who were working without the same digital native approach.

Communicate with employees and providers

Whether you’re starting a business alone or by hiring employees to fill necessary roles, communication is key to getting off the ground, and now more than ever.

With employees, providers, and customers all likely to be at arm’s length and operating remotely, you need to be a lot more vocal than you would be outside of lockdown.

Regular communication with all parties to promote your business, maintain relationships, and monitor behaviour is the best way to keep on top of money both coming and going out of your business.

Make sure to set aside time exclusively for communicating with your employees if you have any, and regular meetings with your providers or clients to keep them friendly, as it’s all too easy to leave that behind other priorities.

Starting a business isn’t easy, and it’s a real challenge during lockdown. These tips should provide a good starting point, no matter your intended business model.