In addition to a dramatic loss of life, the Covid-19 pandemic led to lockdowns, school closures, quarantines, an economic recession, layoffs, and widespread fear and anxiety.
Surprisingly, the pandemic also fueled an impressive growth in entrepreneurship. Attributed to individuals turning to self-employment and developing their own businesses, this startup boom continues to grow.
In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of business applications in 2020 reached 4.5 million by the end of the year, which is 51 percent higher than the 2010-2019 average and a 24 percent increase from 2019.
There is no question that the pandemic has led to evolving consumer demands as the business world tries to adapt to a new normal. And these changing demands have fueled the creation of many new businesses.
If you are thinking about joining the trend, there are several important things to keep in mind when starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur during this new normal. Let’s take a look:
Be savvy and strategic
The key to success is choosing the right industry at the right time. With so many consumers at home and on the Internet, it is vital to steer clear of businesses that solely depend on in-person interactions.
Instead, consider an industry that supports current business trends, such as online learning, home improvement, digital marketing, and online shopping.
Recognize the importance of SEO
Search engine optimization, the process of enhancing the quality and quantity of website traffic, is vital for organizations looking to increase visitors, which can be converted into paying customers. Keep in mind that all content should include target keywords. These are crucial, as they will help your business appear in search engines when individuals look for the phrases relevant to your products or services.
Understand your audience/customers
Knowing the age, occupation, habits, and motivations of your audience will help you develop products and services that will resonate with them. As an entrepreneur, always ask the following questions: How does my product/services improve the lives of my customers? And how can I help customers meet their unique needs and achieve their goals?
Train and develop your team
Consistent training and coaching is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve performance at work, whether in public speaking, demos, or career development. Effective training can be the best investment in employees when:
–Management believes in the importance of training
–Training is a regular, ongoing activity
–Includes exercises, role playing and feedback
–Training is fresh and applicable to day-to-day tasks
–Training is challenging and relevant
Make cyber security a priority
It is common for entrepreneurs to think that cyber criminals will not be interested in their small business. However, according to statistics, about 70 percent of today’s cyber attacks target small businesses.
Small businesses are actually the perfect target because they typically have insecure networks, small or non-existent security budgets, and weak security programs in place. And with so many employees working remotely during the pandemic, cyber security is more important than ever.
The key to protecting your business from cyber criminals is understanding the current trends involving prevention and widespread methods of attack. Additionally, entrepreneurs must protect their business by educating employees about cyber threats, using a secure firewall, consistently updating virus and spyware protection, developing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that outlines security precautions, and regularly backing up all data.
Help motivate your employees
Recognition and incentives are commonly considered top motivators for employees. However, making progress is actually the number one motivator for employees because progress in one’s work is associated with positivity and motivation—more so than anything else.
And managers have the ability to impact an employee’s motivation. In order to achieve this, managers should do the following:
–Help develop meaningful goals
–Protect employees from irrelevant demands
–Avoid changing goals, holding up resources, or being indecisive
–Support employee efforts
–Never create unrealistic timelines as this causes stress, instead of creating learning opportunities
–Develop a culture of helpfulness
–Pitch in and practice teamwork and collaboration
–Celebrate all progress – big and small
–Consistently recognize employees
–Develop work groups so employees can learn from each other
Add blogging to your marketing strategy
As a new business owner, think about using blogging as a method for sharing valuable information with your audience, while also building brand awareness and positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Not only does blogging build relationships with customers, but blogging creates a business following and differentiates you from the competition by creating a connection between the author and reader.
The bottom line is that while the pandemic has been quite challenging for all of us, entrepreneurs have found a way to make lemonade out of lemons. “It’s people being resourceful when they see a change,” explains Donna Kelley, professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and a member of the oversight board of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. “There are so many opportunities that are opening up. Entrepreneurs see these opportunities. Technology is enabling it, and market change is also enabling it.”
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