The current state of the nation’s economy has taken a major impact during the COVID-19 era and current small businesses have suffered greatly. If you had plans on starting a new business you may feel that the timing is not right and possibly surrender any idea you may have of being an entrepreneur. Though many sectors of the economy have seen a downturn, startups can gain a new foothold during this time.
Startups are exciting! Entrepreneurs can provide creative ways to provide new experiences to consumers. If you’re serious about starting a company, now is the perfect time to get yourself setup for success. I provided answers to frequently asked questions. I enjoy working with small businesses and I want to help Alamance County businesses and startups and I’m willing to listen to any of your questions or concerns.
Q: Is there anything I can do to start my business before developing a business plan?
A: The North Carolina Secretary of State (“SOS”) continues to process paperwork for new businesses daily. Even though you may not start your business venture right not, it still is a good idea to fill out the paperwork to establish your company’s entity structure. You have several entity options to select from: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, Corporations, S-Corporations, and more. Filing with the SOS is the first step in legitimizing your new business even though you may not be ready to operate.
Q: How do I develop a business model that will work during the COVID-19 era?
A: COVID-19 has changed how local businesses operate. Businesses can thrive during this time if they are quick to adapt to new economic disruptions. However, if you’re starting your business during this time, you’ll have a prime opportunity to analyze how businesses are functioning and what industries are in demand. For example, companies that solely relied on one set of vendors or partners are experiencing extreme difficulty due to many non-essential companies currently not able to operate. This symbiotic type of relationship forces companies to rely solely on each other as vital business resources. Now might be a good time to figure out if the companies you partner with are going to adapt to a new economic landscape.
If your company deals with providing goods to consumers, take advantage of developing a way to both market and sell your product online. Today, it appears that the entire world is functioning on the internet and will be in the future. You can easily look for opportunities to market your product to new consumers through online ads, web searches, and email campaigns. Also, if you’re delivering a physical product to consumers worldwide you need to think about the impact to transportation and logistics. Imagine the customer is not able to receive your product for several weeks or even months. In today’s world, speedy delivery is becoming
essential and if you can’t find ways to follow through then you’ll jeopardize your company’s reputation.
Do you really need a brick-and-mortar location for your new business? If you are providing services to clients or manufacturing and shipping goods directly to consumers than you may want to consider eliminating the need to sign a lease for a physical office location. Most business owners like the idea to keep their home and work setting separate, but if you can manage operating your company remotely then you can seriously reduce overhead costs.
Overall, the key to starting strong is developing a well thought out business plan that can adapt to changes in the economy.
Q: How can I promote and manage my company’s brand?
A: Everyone has a website nowadays and you need to have a website for potential clients and consumers to navigate. If you’re about ready to fully operate your business, then get your website up and start providing information about yourself and your company. People love to research both the products and services they going to transact for and information on the company itself. It’s never to late to add information about yourself as a business owner and what your company values.
Make sure to add information that is current with the times. Most companies today are adding their response to the COVID-19 crisis. This information shows that the company can adapt to the situation and communicate effectively with its target audience.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to startups at this time?
A: Start now! You don’t have to wait until the pandemic is gone. You can start building your business contacts by networking remotely. You can file you paperwork with the SOS office and use this time to analyze your business plan. Don’t get discouraged!
Tony Campbell resides in Graham and is an attorney for Ivey & Eggleston practicing primarily in bankruptcy, general business law, estate planning & administration.
*This is a guest post provided on behalf of the author as a courtesy to Alamance Strong. Posting this article does not represent an endorsement, recommendation or legal advice on behalf of Alamance Strong.