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We all began quarantining with the thought that this COVID-19 pandemic might be something that would ‘blow over’, but we’re now realizing that it’s not the case. While it looks like we’ll have to stay isolated and socially distant for the next few months as a safety precaution, that doesn’t mean life has to come to a standstill.
The Wall Street Journal reports that applications for new businesses is at its highest rate since 2007. The pandemic has proven that the future is never certain, and as a result so many entrepreneurs have considered just biting the bullet and starting their own company.
The question is now, how do you start a business? To help you plan out your path to entrepreneurship, below is a guide to starting a business from the comfort of your own home.
Pick your niche
The first step is one of the hardest: figure out what you have to offer. It is daunting knowing that there’s so much competition around, but don’t let that discourage you! The recent success of intelligence platform Socially Determined lies in its ability to identify a need (in this case, pockets of risk connected to health care access and other social factors) and pivot their business accordingly. If you’re stumped for ideas, try to see if there’s a community need that you can address.
Make a business plan
Once you’ve figured out your niche, the next step is to start your business plan. A thorough business plan should outline not just your name and product offerings, but also other factors such as your marketing plan and how you’re going to fund your business. A business plan can make you eligible for local grants should that be an avenue that you want to consider.
Choose the right business entity
Most entrepreneurs choose to start out as a sole proprietorship, as there is no necessary registration process and you can get started right away. But because sole proprietorships don’t offer any liability protection, some business owners also opt for limited liability companies (LLCs). Creating your own LLC allows you to separate your personal assets from your business, letting you focus on growth. LLC forms can also be completed online, which means you can get your business registered as early as now.
Establish digital presence
Everyone is online nowadays, especially with us all being stuck at home. Even if you don’t have the necessary funds available to make a website just yet, creating social media accounts for your business (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) allows you to connect to audiences and start marketing your services for free. You can also tap into your current network of family and friends to help spread the word, and having these social media accounts can make it easier for them to link back to your business.
Start personally reaching out to customers
Of course, our post on Your Business is Only as Good as Your Communication highlights that it’s not just about churning out digital ads. You should also make yourself available to customers by answering their emails and calls. You can even host live Q&A sessions on your social media accounts to introduce potential customers to your business.
Starting your own business is always going to be a daunting process, so why not start now? Keeping these five steps in mind can help you decide whether you’re ready to take a leap into the big wide world of entrepreneurship.
Written by contributing author Amanda Thompson.