Why You Might as Well Launch Your Startup During COVID-19

The hopes and expectations of politicians, economists and consumers have started crashing and burning in the midst of summer, as states that lifted their lockdown begin to experience significant surges in COVID cases. It seems that a couple months of indoor time wasn’t enough to curb the coronavirus, and many states are once again returning to stay-at-home orders and shutdowns for businesses like restaurants, bars, retail stores and more.

So, you might as well start your business.

Many entrepreneurs preparing for a 2020 launch have been devastated by the economic downturn and other debilitating developments, like limitations on where consumers can go and why. And yet, economic experts are suggesting that the pandemic gives entrepreneurs a fantastic excuse to invest time and energy into their business ideas. What’s more, it might just be the perfect time to launch. Here’s why.

Consumers Are Looking for Solutions

The world looks and functions much, much differently than it did six months ago — and while dramatic shake-ups in lifestyle and economy can be frightening, they tend to provide many opportunities for creative entrepreneurs. Both the COVID crisis and the social justice movements currently underway present many consumer problems that new businesses should be willing and able to provide solutions for.

However, entrepreneurs need to be careful to walk the line of delivering solutions without seeming to capitalize on misery. Especially in the current climate, businesses seen as unempathetic will suffer backlash from an informed and passionate public — backlash that the business might never recover from. New startups need to be particularly delicate with their product design and marketing messages, offering their solutions with compassion and empathy so the brand gains a strong foundation for the future.

Ultimately, the turbulence of the current time provides many inroads for entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs do need to tread carefully to make good use of existing opportunities. Additionally, entrepreneurs need to be able to see past the pandemic to the new normal which will eventually emerge, ensuring their business plan will survive the end of COVID-19.

Marketing Channels Are Limited

Another potential boon for budding businesses is the rapid dominance of digital marketing. By no means was digital marketing impractical in the time before COVID-19; indeed, digital marketing was all but mandatory for new businesses even then thanks to the American consumer’s reliance on the web for finding and researching solutions. However, the pandemic has driven consumers home and online in greater numbers than ever before, essentially eliminating most traditional marketing methods. Today, if an entrepreneur doesn’t advertise online, they might as well decline to operate.

Fortunately, digital marketing is a startup’s best friend. With the right marketing campaign strategy, it is remarkable how much online attention a new small business can accrue. As long as entrepreneurs leave space in their budget to hire a full-service SEO agency, which should include content marketing, online advertising, social media management, technical SEO and more, the limited digital marketing opportunities should fall to a startup’s favor.

Funding Is as Available as Ever

Due to the precipitous economic decline at the outset of the COVID crisis, many would-be entrepreneurs believe that there is simply no money available to launch their dream business — but that is not the case. Though the availability of venture capital funding has faltered over the months since COVID first emerged, the truth is that venture capital was likely enjoying an uncommon boom that would have eventually subsided anyway.

Meanwhile, all other forms of funding remain available, to include small business loans and crowdfunding — in fact, both of these might be easier to obtain given the current circumstances. Especially for entrepreneurs addressing current problems, sites like IndieGoGo or GoFundMe can be incredibly lucrative in acquiring funding directly from consumers looking for particular solutions. Plus, U.S. Congress has continued to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which can help new small businesses survive in the current economic climate.

COVID-19 has proven to be frightening and frustrating, leaving the future somewhat uncertain and present circumstances a bit tenuous. Even so, entrepreneurs should way the costs of delaying their dreams with the risks of launching their business now. In most cases, COVID-19 is less a roadblock to business success and more an additional hurdle, which can be overcome with proper preparation.

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.