Seize the Day and Think Business
Although it might appear counterintuitive, the huge market disruption accompanying the pandemic also represents business opportunity.
And although the number of individuals filing business applications or applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS is down 4% to 5%, we recently saw a slight uptick. This hopeful sign followed eight weeks of year-over-year COVID-19 related declines.
This increase is expected to continue as the economy rebounds and reinvents itself. New opportunities are being driven by the new needs emerging out of the COVID-19 crisis. The Great Recession had the same affect and many successful businesses grew out of the opportunities that prior crisis created.
For small businesses the impact of COVID-19 is especially impactful. And although small businesses have always had a difficult time finding capital, money does find its way to good business ideas. Currently there are huge market disruptions driving new customer needs. And this is what new businesses thrives on – new unmet customer needs are just waiting for your new business idea.
Here are four thoughts which we hope prove useful as you consider how your business navigates the next normal.
- Know Your Market
Right now, is a great time to reconfigure your business or even start a new one. There is a deal of disruption in the market and this should get us all thinking about innovating new products and services.
The pandemic and economic recession make for a more challenging environment, so focus on products and services that are in real demand currently, like: fitness, digital tech support, hygiene services / products and delivery, etc.
Once you have identified a customer need – think about how you can profitably meet that need. Here are some points to guide that thinking:
- Who is the customer for my product or service, and will they be delighted?
- Also consider where do those customers spend their time? Analyze the data on where your target customer spends their time. This permits you to dig deep on both their on-line and off-line preferences. This approach allows you to better understand the needs you hope to meet.
- Based on a solid understanding of who your customer is and what they need, you should refine your proposed product or service experience. This is where pricing, your relevant differentiated benefit, and any other special offering applies.
- Our Network is Your Network – Use It
While stay-at-home is shifting to phased opening, until we have a vaccine, we will need to carefully manage the balance needed to coexist with COVID-19. One way to make good use of this new normal, is to connect with people also in the business community.
As your Chamber, you need to know that we are largest business organization in EL Paso and that we have both large and small businesses you can access for your smart network. The collective business wisdom represented in our staff and our membership is really an outstanding resource and it is there to help refine your business ideas.
While all successful businesses must have a solution to a customer need, they will also benefit from our in-person and online coaching. We are a place you can refine your ideas and skills and even get a certificate in the process.
Whether you seek a network or more focused coaching, you will find we are committed to help in any way possible to make you successful. Starting and running a business is tough, especially now, we are here to help and make your business plan a reality.
- Be Adaptive
This is a great time to try something new. Test and learn about your product or service with potential customers. Given the uncertainties now, we recommend running a cost-effective pilot to minimize downside risks. If your idea tests well, you and scale up to meet the demand.
Also focus your efforts on investments that provide you the best return on your investment over time. Be adaptive and persistent in your research, building connections and building your brand. And remember, necessity is indeed the mother of invention, especially now.
- Profits & Principles
We know you understand that business is it not just about the money, it’s also about making a difference for your customer and community. So, do not forget to consider how your business vision might create value for both your business and our community. Here at the Chamber, we have a Resources Center where we host and share the best thinking from across our network on this subject, in an effort to support leaders in business and government as we think about the economy we want. This is how the Chamber transforms business and improves lives in the El Paso metropolitan region.
In the end, business is about meeting customer needs and about you finding meaning in doing that. It is about your passion, finding purpose, in what you do and how you bring home a paycheck. We all spend a great deal of time at work, so enjoy it, especially in these difficult times. This is a great time to rethink your business – there’s a lot of opportunities in the market to provide new products and services that people are looking for – and if you are lucky your will make a real difference.