As the COVID-19 pandemic is heading into its second year, most people are getting antsy for it to end and making plans for what they will do once all restrictions are lifted. If there’s any silver lining to this crisis, it’s that so many creative solutions have been developed for fighting the virus, keeping people safe, and allowing businesses to stay open in the midst of social distancing and quarantines. If you or your company has developed one of these solutions, it is worth considering whether you can make that solution into a viable business or product on its own after life returns to (a new) normal. Keep in mind that creative solutions are not limited to health-related products, but can include strategies to keep businesses afloat, such as sending out business thank you cards. The following are some helpful tips to get you started.
Do Your Research and Make Sure It’s Thorough
CB Insights released a fascinating post-mortem of the 20 factors that cause most startups to fail. Understanding why they fail is critical to developing a strategy to avoid those factors and a plan on how to overcome them. Consider the top eight reasons startups fail in order of importance:
- Not enough demand
- Ran out of money
- Hiring the wrong people
- Too much competition/competition is better
- Pricing/cost issues
- Product not user-friendly
- No business model
- Poor/no marketing strategy
It’s critical to study your demographics to make sure you understand your customers and their needs, that your product fulfills the need or solves the problem, and you are prepared with a solid business plan before you launch. With COVID-19-inspired solutions, it’s also important to evaluate the long-term market need and the viability of your product and whether they both may lessen or change over time.
Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
Know your brand identity, your story, your business goals, and your product, and develop a strategy for how you will communicate these things to your audience. Marketing is more than advertising; at its heart, a great marketing strategy relies on relationships built between businesses and consumers. Sending out business thank you cards, for instance, can be part of that strategy by maintaining relationships and communication, and establishing your identity and reputation as a company. Decide how you will measure your success and how often you will create reports detailing your progress. To combat reason #3 that most startups fail, hire qualified people to work with you and get your message out there.
Secure Your Funding Through Loans and Grants
Do what you can to prevent your new business from running out of cash. Contact the Small Business Association to be connected with helpful resources and professionals, and directed toward the right banks or organizations to get you the capital you need.
Be Ready to Pivot
Successful businesses usually have a plan-B in their back pocket and a sharp eye to see opportunities-in-the-making so they can seize upon them when the time is right. Be prepared to proactively pivot to a different product, strategy, or goal if the forecast seems dubious for your original solution, or if post-COVID life exposes a new need or different opportunity.
Network to Foster Business Relationships
Networking is more than swapping business cards at happy hour; it’s establishing trust, sharing expertise, and building relationships with other business professionals in your community. You will have the opportunity to meet as a group and get to know people better over coffee in one-to-one meetings. Business thank you cards sent after each get-together will keep your name and business fresh in people’s minds and let them know how much you appreciate their time and comradery.
If you’ve happened upon or developed a product, service, or solution to a COVID-19 problem, your hard work and ingenuity have already paid off in great dividends, though that may not be in the monetary sense. However, it just could be the start of a great business opportunity, with some planning, preparation, and a little luck. This difficult time has made a global situation very personal, and most people are more aware of the value of human connection than ever before. To let your business community, family, or friends know you care, visit Cards For Causes for a great selection of cards for every occasion.