Some might say it's a tough time to start a business. With all the tragedy, turmoil and disruption over the past year, maybe it's better to play things safe and just stick with what's gotten you this far.
There may be some logic at play there, but the cold reality is that there is never an easy time to build something from the ground up. If you have the drive and truly want to live out your dream, you will find a way to make it work.
Besides, the Federal Reserve now expects the U.S. economy to grow by 6.5 percent in 2021 — a figure unheard of in modern times — as the world recovers from the pandemic and vaccination programs continue to progress. From a pure business opportunity standpoint, now might in fact be the perfect time!
Regardless of the prevailing economic climate, there are some common tips for owning a business right now. The following real-world examples will help highlight a few of these and serve as some practical business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
1. Think Digitally and Globally
Now, more than ever, the world truly is your oyster. The digital world has knocked down borders and connected us all. Any business idea that can take advantage of this fact and spread its reach will be better positioned to succeed than those that are stuck in a single geography.
In that vein, it's no surprise that Instacart has been one of the firms to do so well over the past year. It provided its service at a unique time in history, sure, but it had already done all the groundwork for years to take advantage of its new role in society. This doesn't mean online delivery is the right sector to jump into. But it does mean that being digital and widely available now offers so much in terms of growing a customer base.
2. Be There for Your Community
Despite all the press given to disruption and the start-up culture ethos of "move fast and break things," not all businesses need to be flashy. Many are thriving in traditional industries that help maintain and build the backbone of how we all work, live and play. Few businesses represent this better than Morsco, a Dallas-based plumbing and HVAC company.
Make no mistake: Within its industry, Morsco is innovative and continues to adopt better ways of operating. For the wider public and the community it serves, however, its key role has to provide an invaluable service when people need it most. Never has this been more true than the past year, when the company leaned into its newfound role in the community, proclaiming itself "Proudly Essential" and willing to serve those in need no matter the emergency or project. Just by stepping up and proving its value in a critical time, it has solidified its reputation to both loyal and new customers alike.
3. Look for Opportunity in Crisis
So many people had their life flipped upside down last year. While there is no shame for those who struggled — and are still struggling — some others were able to use this as a time for positive change. Sarah Kleist, an actress in New York, was faced with having nowhere to perform as soon as everything shut down.
During the infancy of COVID-19, she used this as a time to build up her side hustle in web development into a legit job. Kleist built up a stable of clients and has found a whole new lane that she didn't even see as an option at the start of 2020. Now, she still has the ability to pursue her passion in acting — but on her own terms, taking roles she really wants and not just looking for a paycheck. As much as anyone, she serves as a great example of how freeing it can be when you really go for it.
Learning from the Success of Others in 2021
No piece of advice will ever ensure success. Even those who have built massive companies can fail later in their next venture. Nothing is foolproof — especially in today's climate — and every entrepreneurial endeavor comes with some risk. Which is half the fun!
It's important to realize you need to do everything possible to tilt the odds in your favor. No matter whether you want to build a massive digital venture, a traditional industry service provider, or just turn a side job into your main source of income, there are good examples to follow. Start by learning how to leverage the digital world to build your customer base. Make sure to always be there for your community. And don't be afraid to seize an opportunity when it arises.
These tips alone won't necessarily get you where you want to be. But they sure can't help and hopefully, if nothing else, they will help inspire you to chase your dream.