This blog is submitted by guest author Marcus Lansky, Founder, Abilitator.biz
Did the COVID-19 pandemic put your business plans on pause? Would-be entrepreneurs were understandably nervous about launching a new business in the midst of a global pandemic, causing many to delay their startup plans in hope of a quick economic recovery. But as the pandemic stretches on, some entrepreneurs are realizing that it’s now or never.
That’s not to say you should move forward with your business plan as-is. While there are lots of great reasons to become an entrepreneur right now, it’s not exactly business as usual. Consumer shifts have caused some industries to suffer while others thrive. And across every industry, COVID-19 has changed the way we work and spend. Not only must entrepreneurs adapt to the times, but they also have to be thrifty as banks tighten lending criteria and families deplete emergency savings during the pandemic.
All of this can make the present an intimidating time to start a business, but there’s a lot to gain if you do it right. HandiFox offers these tips to prepare for entrepreneurship and start your business the smart way.
Are you ready to be your own boss? Entrepreneurship offers autonomy and flexibility, but it also demands a lot. Launching a business without the skills necessary to operate a business is a recipe for disaster. This includes skills like:
● Accounting and budgeting.
● Managing employees.
● Time management.
Online learning platforms like Khan Academy, edX, and Coursera can fill gaps in business knowledge. If you have no experience in business management, consider delaying your startup plans for further education. Delaying a few years to earn an online business degree will provide the foundational skills you need to run a company.
Do you really need a formal business plan? Some experts say no, but business planning does more than show banks you’re serious. It’s also a chance for entrepreneurs to spot flaws in their business idea, decide exactly how much capital they need, and flesh out branding, marketing, and operating plans.
Small business owners can find free and low-cost business planning assistance from SCORE and local Small Business Development Centers. Entrepreneurs can also use the “Write your business plan” guide from the Small Business Administration.
Funding is a crucial part of your business plan. Not only does it determine how much capital you have to work with, but funding sources also affect your risk as an entrepreneur.
The best funding sources are small business loans, crowdfunding, crowdlending, and savings (as long as you have enough to spare). Avoid draining your bank account or using personal loans and credit cards to start a business. If your business fails, you’ll still be on the hook for the loss.
The best way to minimize financial risk when starting a business is to stay lean. The lower your expenses, the less money you need to raise or borrow.
Here are some tips for starting a low-cost business:
● Work from home. Not only do home offices save on rent, but they’re tax-deductible too.
● Stay mobile. A business laptop lets you work anywhere, whether logging hours from a home office or meeting a client on the road.
● If you sell a product, use affordable mobile inventory tracking software like HandiFox.
● Rent equipment or buy used instead of paying full-price for costly equipment.
● Outsource to freelancers, virtual assistants, and other independent contractors before hiring staff.
Nothing is set in stone in business ownership. Trends change, markets shift, and sometimes, a global pandemic throws all your plans off-course. While you can’t eliminate all risk from entrepreneurship, you can give your small business the best possible shot at success. As you prepare to start your first business, make sure you’re honing your skills and building a smart strategy for today’s small business environment.
When it comes to selling a product, inventory and sales management are an essential part of your business. Learn how HandiFox makes it possible to manage inventory in the most efficient manner.
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