4 Tips for Discovering a Great Business Idea During the Pandemic - Entrepreneur

4 Tips for Discovering a Great Business Idea During the Pandemic - Entrepreneur


4 Tips for Discovering a Great Business Idea During the Pandemic - Entrepreneur

Posted: 22 Sep 2020 12:00 AM PDT

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's been a struggle trying to remain optimistic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Between adjusting to new routines and facing so much uncertainty, the crisis has definitely taken a toll on us emotionally, mentally and physically. And it's probably going to be this way until the foreseeable future.

But, as a resilient entrepreneur, that's not exactly a bad thing. Times of crisis, after all, drive creativity and innovation. Some examples throughout history include:

  • Adding more cars to trains to limit the number of passengers in each during 1918. The 1918 influenza pandemic also led to the establishment of a national disease reporting system.
  • During the Great Depression, patents spiked. These inventions included ballpoint pens, photocopying, the first working helicopter, the discovery of nuclear fission and the car radio.
  • As Bill Gates noted in a blog post, "During World War II, an amazing amount of innovation, including radar, reliable torpedoes and code-breaking, helped end the war faster." The mass production of synthetic and vehicles like the Jeep also came out of this period.
  • Airbnb succeeded following the Great Recession, since it was an alternative for anyone who had been priced out of hotels.

More recently, we've witnessed this as well. Whether it's clothing companies pivoting to producing facemasks or Dyson designing a new ventilator, there are opportunities to hack the COVID-19 crisis.

"In good times, companies get fat, dumb, and happy when it comes to innovation," said Jay Rao, author and professor at Babson College. "There are no boundaries, and it's chaos." During turbulent times, however, entrepreneurs are forced to think differently to solve problems.

Let's take a closer look at how you can make the most out of COVID-19.

Related: Startup Failure? Let's Find Where Are You Going Off the Track

1. Follow the three Rs

No. I'm not talking about reduce, reuse, and recycle; this is something different: It's actually a rapid-recover-revenue. And, according to McKinsey, the three Rs is one of the strategies you should use if you want your business to come back stronger.

"Speed matters: it will not be enough for companies to recover revenues gradually as the crisis abates," write Kevin Sneader and Bob Sternfels. "They will need to fundamentally rethink their revenue profile, to position themselves for the long term and to get ahead of the competition."

How can this be achieved? Well, your company is going to have to SHAPE up:

  • Start-up mindset. Instead of extensive research, take action. action.
  • Human at the core. "Companies will need to rethink their operating model based on how their people work best," Sneader and Sternfels explain.
  • Acceleration of digital, tech, and analytics. It's to just make the shift to digital. You need to go further by enhancing and expanding your digital channels.
  • Purpose-driven customer playbook. "Companies need to understand what customers will value, post-COVID-19, and develop new use cases and tailored experiences based on those insights." 
  • Ecosystems and adaptability. There's a good chance that your supply chain has been disrupted. As such, you will probably have to change your ecosystem and think outside the box.

"Rapid revenue response isn't just a way to survive the crisis," say Sneader and Sternfels. "It's the next normal for how companies will have to operate." And, when you're in good SHAPE, you'll be able to rebuild operations and rethink your organization, accelerating digital adaptation.

2. Update how people and processes work

Considering that things have probably slowed sown at least somewhat, it's an opportune time to reevaluate how your team works. Are they more productive working remotely? Or, do you think that they still need face-to-face interaction -- even if it's just a couple of days a week.

Moreover, take the time to see where there are any bottlenecks, financial waste or inefficiencies within your organization. For example, maybe you were using ineffective tools, a flawed product strategy or not managing their time effectively. Knowing this, you can improve these areas so that you can come back even better than before.

Related: The Importance of Product, Process and People

3. Search for local, state or federal assistance

Regardless of whether you're having difficulty paying your bills or hoping to expand your business, you should take advantage of local, state or federal assistance. Funding options are an excellent start point. These can include:

Additionally, you may want to look into the following small business grants from agencies like Grants.gov, Challenge.gov, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. But, don't forget to consult local and state agencies as well.

You can also check out:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
  • STEP Awardees
  • EPA Grants
  • USDA Rural Business Development Grants
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Program

You should also meet with your accountant or tax advisor to see what tax relief is currently being provided. One example would be payroll tax deferral relief for the self-employed. Another would be tax credits to cover COVID-19 related employee paid leave.

Related: Want to Adopt a Proactive Approach to Disruption? Here's How.

4. Be proactive, not reactive.

There's a good chance that you have had, and will continue, to have some spare time on your hands. Some people haven't had a problem spending their valuable time wisely. I've had friends and family who have learned to play a musical instrument, get back in touch with nature, and engage in some much-needed R&R.

But, you should also dedicate some of this extra time to reflect on your company's future and what it will take to get you there. Will that require you to update your business plan? Do you need to expand your online presence, interaction, and capacity? Should you take some classes to develop or strengthen your skills?

To put it another way, don't ease up on the gas pedal. Use this time to get your business in a prime position to jump on opportunities and stay ahead of your competitors. Just be mindful that you don't burn yourself out. You don't want to be exhausted when the business world awakens.

10 Best Business Ideas with Minimal Startup Costs - NuWireInvestor - NuWire Investor

Posted: 17 Oct 2020 04:03 PM PDT

There is no ambitious person who has never thought at least once about starting his own business. If you're feeling the itch to get into business for yourself, here are 10 ideas that have little to no startup capital requirement.

1.  Wedding Makeup Artist, Hairdresser at Home

Such a business cannot be built without investments at all, but they are minimal. If you have the skills and abilities, it is enough to create an account in one of the social networks for your small business without investment. Place a catalog of services there and immediately start working at home, gradually switching to salon services.

When the business starts to grow, build your website and control the online reputation management of the salon. This will help you get a good name in the market.

2.  Monetizing Hand Made

This type can be called especially relevant for homemakers and women on parental leave. It is enough to indulge in your favorite hobby and sell your masterpiece through Internet sites, your friends, or at city fairs.

3.  Consulting and Tutoring

Another win-win option for starting a business from 0 without investment is private lessons for children and adults. Most often it is used by experienced teachers. They work in their free time with their own students, if they need additional training. The attraction of customers from outside is also possible. There are many special Internet sites available for this.

4.  Blogging or Creating Your Own Website

If you have the skills to write, you can become a blogger. Earnings are carried out through advertising; however, it is necessary to collect a large audience. And if earlier it was possible to do it on your own, now you have to involve specialists who help in promoting the pages. Once your blog starts getting the response, you can take services of PR Fire to increase the traffic on the website or blog.

5.  Advertising on Cars

The list of simple types of business without investment would be incomplete without this way of earning money. The number of funds received largely depends on the brand of the car, the territory in which it drives and many other parts.

6.  Renting Out Housing

To implement the idea, you will need your own apartment or house, although some owners manage to rent out a separate room. There are a lot of options for disseminating information in this case: special booking sites, mass media and many others.

7.  Earnings on Freelancing

If young people think about what kind of start-up business can be opened without investment, they often stop at this. All you need is a fairly stable internet connection. You can acquire skills over time. Copywriting, rewriting, translation of texts – even a high school student can do all this.

8.  Real Estate Agent

The essence of the idea is that you have to act as an intermediary between the landlords and people who want to rent it for a short or long term. The amount of earnings depends on the commission received, and special skills play an important role in the work.

There are a lot of realtors in the market, as well as rental housing. But the reputation of many companies leaves much to be desired, which means that you will have to fight with prejudice.

9.  Organization of Holidays

To work in this area, you need special skills, a good sense of humor, and some other qualities. However, if it makes you happy, you can start making good money with no investment at all. True, it would help if you were prepared for the seasonality of your business.

10.  Training

In fact, such activity allows you to share your professional experience with people who want to acquire some skills. For example, improve the quality of sales, change the motivation for life and work. For successful implementation, you will have to master the skills of public speaking.

Final Words

The main advice to follow is to find your unique niche. Then analyze the situation in the economy and the market, soberly assess the risks and think over how to minimize them. These ideas may help you decide which business will be easy for you to set up with minimal investment.

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6 Ideas To Earn Money From Home - Entrepreneur

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Step out of your comfort zones and explore different ways to earn money during COVID-19 pandemic

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3 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Staying at home and witnessing incomes subside surely doesn't feel good, which is a reality during the current pandemic. While the traditional source of income may have diminished, there are a lot of other things that one can do to make some money staying at home.

Here are some avenues for making money online while staying at home. With an abundance of time on hands, one can try out one of the following to get started.

Teach online

If you are academically strong, you'd be surprised how many people would be keen to learn from you. Start tutoring online. You can begin with a small batch of students, maybe those that you are locally acquainted with, or perhaps advertise your service to get started with it.

Start a blog

This is the best time to get started with a niche blog. While it will take some time to grow, people are consuming content more than ever from their homes now. The blog can extend paid collaborations for linking, advertising and other ways to generate decent revenue.

Freelance

If you are a writer, coder, artist or one with any skills that you can relay online, freelancing is a great option. Just update your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn with what you are offering and look out for clients. Set your rates and earn money at your own terms.

Try affiliate marketing

If you are up for learning a few savvy skills of setting up an affiliate marketing gateway, you can earn some really good money. You can employ this either through blogs, a YouTube channel or any other site where you can use an affiliate link and make a portion for each purchase through your link.

Set up an e-store

If your business has suffered due to COVID-19, just take it online. Set up an e-store on Shopify or perhaps an independent one and list all your products. Market them on relevant sites and you can initiate sales in no time. If you already have a production line, this can help you earn a significant amount at home.

Initiate online consultations

If you are a professional such as a therapist, career counsellor or legal aid who gives consultations, start finding an online client base. Set up a fee, find clients and use your existing profession to make money from home.

Monetizing your skills online isn't as hard as you think it is. Just make sure to have an organized approach with whatever you choose to start and bring in local customers for your directed service. Anything you start will take some time to start running smoothly. So, get on the band wagon, have patience and put in the work to make decent bucks online. Start today!

COVID-19 Will Continue To Test Small Businesses—Here’s How To Respond - Forbes

Posted: 18 Oct 2020 04:00 AM PDT

The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of dissipating any time soon, which means more challenges are ahead for the small businesses that haven't been forced to close their doors for good. Eventually, however, this crisis will pass. When it does, your performance during this period won't be judged solely in terms of profit and loss, but rather in terms of the value you created for both internal and external stakeholders.

But how do you create value when demand is stagnant, margins are thin, and the future is more uncertain than ever?

Getting back to your roots

Almost every business, regardless of size, has had to make adjustments to cope with the new realities accompanying the pandemic. The near-universal pivot to remote work, government-mandated stay-at-home orders, and ongoing health concerns have created a business environment that looks, for all intents and purposes, dramatically different than it did just months ago. Yet this is exactly the type of environment in which entrepreneurs thrive.

Your creativity, willingness to embrace risk, and ability to spot opportunity where others can't are what allowed you to start a business in the first place, and those same attributes will serve you well as you seek ways to adapt in the months and years ahead. Your business may be struggling now, but by relying on the traits and instincts that got you to this point, you can keep moving forward. Plus, there are plenty of proven strategies you can deploy to continue to create value, even when your resources are stretched thin. Here are five:

1. Refine your marketing strategy and increase your focus on digital tactics.

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If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we're more reliant than ever on modern technology. Even if you're not positioned to make substantial investments in new tools, you should constantly evaluate the digital strategies and technologies you already use, and now is the perfect time to do so in preparation for "the next normal." Owen Loft, co-founder of Socium Media, recommends that companies take this time to optimize what's working and explore new ideas.

"Ask which platforms and tactics you're currently testing," he says. "If you're not consistently trying new marketing avenues, messaging, and design elements, you could again find yourself behind the competition. What works today might not work tomorrow, and it's vital to stay ahead of the curve in this crowded marketplace."

No one knows for sure what the world will look like when COVID-19 ultimately is behind us. However, it's quite possible that many interactions that used to take place in-person prior to the pandemic will continue to occur in a predominantly digital environment. With that in mind, developing a robust online presence and digital infrastructure now will pay dividends in the future.

2. Launch a new product or service.

In times like these, the most agile companies are typically the ones that win. Especially if sales related to your core offering are suffering during the pandemic, it's critical that you find new revenue streams. This is true for startups, small businesses, and even huge conglomerates.

When Suave began making hand sanitizer and Hanes started selling masks at the onset of the pandemic, these companies weren't just focused on maintaining revenue; they were focused on differentiation. By taking an agile approach to product development and sales, major brands can stay top of mind among their customers and demonstrate the innovative qualities that modern consumers look for in leading brands.

That said, you shouldn't abandon the products that have defined you up to this point. Thanks to domains like PlugMyBrand.net, entrepreneurs can showcase their offerings to the world on a global level, and continue to spread awareness even when traditional markets have shrunk.

3. Embrace corporate social responsibility.

Prior to the pandemic, business and marketing leaders were already looking for ways to meet a growing demand among both consumers and investors for clearly defined corporate social responsibility initiatives. However, CSR must be more than a marketing ploy.

Consumers demand authenticity—especially younger generations—and by supporting COVID-19 relief efforts, whether on a local or global effort, brands can walk the proverbial walk. Aflac's 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report stated that 77% of consumers were more inclined to make purchases from companies committed to fighting social, economic, and environmental issues.

Business leaders who take pay cuts to ensure operations remain smooth and employees are able to keep their jobs might have to make short-term sacrifices, but those sacrifices won't go unnoticed by employees and customers. Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger gave up his salary through the end of 2020, for instance, and top Comcast executives are donating theirs toward coronavirus relief.

4. Orient your business around your customers.

Even if you're not selling products or closing deals at the same pre-pandemic clip, you have plenty of opportunities to create meaningful interactions with customers. For starters, you should maintain open lines of communication and clearly articulate how your business is responding and adapting to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Let customers know what you're doing to keep employees safe and what you're doing differently now that things are, well, different.

Great customer service has always separated the best companies from the rest. At a time when most leaders are inclined to turn their focus inward, great leaders will make every effort to prioritize those aspects of the customer experience that occur away from the point of sale.

Whether it's developing a loyalty program, offering flexible payment options, or simply taking the time to reassure people that you have their best interests in mind, you can ensure customers are still around after the crisis by prioritizing them throughout. For example, 7-Eleven canceled its popular Free Slurpee Day in July to protect customers and staff from increased risk of infection. Instead, it encouraged customers to download the 7Rewards app, where they could obtain a voucher for a free Slurpee redeemable anytime in July.

5. Rally around your employees.

Countless companies have been forced to lay off staff, restrict hours, or make other hard personnel decisions in order to survive. Maybe you have, too. You should be making every effort to ensure the people who have stuck with you during the crisis know you appreciate them—and there are plenty of ways to do it.

The executive team at Best Buy, for instance, is implementing a backup childcare service it introduced in 2019 to give employees access to family support resources that many desperately need. Like many other companies, Best Buy is also providing complimentary mental health services to staff members who suddenly find themselves overwhelmed amid unprecedented uncertainty. Regardless of how you do it, putting your employees first now can help foster a company culture that is strengthened by hardship, rather than one that wilts when the going gets tough.

In 2020, businesses have learned that value creation entails more than fulfilling a market need. It's a product of corporate actions that affect employees, customers, and all other stakeholders. The more value in those areas that you create today, the easier it will be to continue creating it tomorrow.

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