“Uncertainty”, “layoff”, “compulsory closure” protected from creditors”. So many expressions that we have associated a lot with companies since the start of the health crisis, and we are not going to hide it, it’s a little scary.
If you’re thinking of starting a business, the timing certainly doesn’t seem ideal. But at the same time, hoping to launch your box without “risks”, isn’t that just wishful thinking? Yes, maybe… but a health crisis coupled with a period of recession is really not the right time, right?
Rather than continuing to have a discussion with myself, I went to talk about it with Bérénice St-Martin, consultant and independent trainer with companies.
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SPOILER: It will never be the right time
Clearly, for the consultant, you shouldn’t wait to see the planets align or to have someone roll out the red carpet for you to decide to launch her box. There are never good times or bad times. “The economy being what it is, everything can change from one day to the next, no one is immune, if it’s not COVID, it will be the economic crisis”. Or something else.
In the end, the pandemic should not be a brake on the ambition of an entrepreneur. It includes, like other periods before, opportunities and obstacles that must be carefully studied. “Based on this principle, someone who intended to start should do it and adapt.” This is also one of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur: knowing how to adapt.
What does the consumer need?
A basic question that every entrepreneur asks, but it is essential to remember it. A product or service will not be of much interest if it does not meet a consumer need.
There, Steve Jobs could tell me “I can start a business to create a need!”. True, but it is here that the health crisis is to be taken into account, according to Bérénice St-Martin. “The nuance with the current period is that someone who starts a business should play it safe and meet a need rather than launching something new to create a need”.
From the moment there is a fit between the offer and the need, anything is possible, confirms the consultant. And the current period should not be an exception.
Observe the movement and adapt
In the current period, it must be understood that the consumer has adapted, but has not changed. For example, a person who wants to get started and bypass the web, it’s risky because we could experience new limitations. In addition, the client has become accustomed to being at home and to receiving without having to travel. With the health crisis, the consumer has definitively overcome his reluctance in relation to distance purchasing, assures the consultant by illustrating his point.
Find a mentor
Knowing a resource person who has experience and who can make himself available when you need urgent advice is an obvious asset. For Bérénice St-Martin it is even essential, because being an entrepreneur is not just a job, it is also a lifestyle. “Having someone who understands what you are going through is relevant, because the loneliness of the entrepreneur is enormous. You need advice adapted to your reality,” she says.
According to the consultant, many established entrepreneurs want to do mentoring. “You access these people by participating in events, online conferences, entrepreneur circles”.
If possible, have investors
Of course, this last piece of advice is not suitable for every type of entrepreneur. I am thinking, for example, of self-employed workers or those who want to keep 100% of the shares of their company.
But for the cases of start-up companies whose initial investments require borrowing a certain sum, introducing investors into the equation means distributing the capital, but also the pressure. “If you have a project that makes sense and people want to invest in it, in my opinion that’s the best way to do it, because the risk is shared and the investors are involved in its success”. Basically, they put marbles in the company so they have no interest in seeing it sink.
So, pandemic or not, if the project is there and it holds up, don’t wait for the hypothetical “right time” to get started.