The global health crisis has truly disrupted everyone’s lives and turned the retail industry on its head. As of September, Coresight Research reported 7,707 store closures around the country — making the 3,344 store openings this year pale in comparison. Unsurprisingly, these numbers have only continued to climb, and they’re expected to escalate even more. With these statistics in mind, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to open a new business now. Despite that, it’s worth remembering that some of the best businesses were born out of the last recession — such as WhatsApp, Venmo, Uber, and Slack. Although we can’t all be the next Silicon Valley behemoth, there are still opportunities to be found during seemingly bleak times. In this post, we’ll discuss if it’s still possible to open a shop and find success in the new normal.
1. What businesses are thriving amid the pandemic?
During these distressing times, some businesses have proven to be more resilient and adaptive than others. While the majority of US businesses have laid off workers and reported low revenues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that cleaning businesses, telehealth services, and food services have more than thrived during the pandemic. This is mostly because the health crisis has put the spotlight on services and industries that can’t be put on hold. It also magnified the essential needs of the population, such as food, health, and hygiene. It’s worth taking note of these trends when deciding what business you want to open up.
2. What do consumers need right now?
In order for your business to retain customers during this pandemic, you should be able to anticipate what the general population expects from many enterprises. For one, this means being able to make them feel safe in the event that you do open your doors. Of course, this includes employing strict safety protocols and hygiene measures. Additionally, consumers also expect businesses they support to help the local community, as well as other relief organizations, in the fight against the global health crisis. So, this means that your business should seek to be as genuine as possible and relay to consumers that they don’t have to endure this crisis alone.
3. How can you connect with consumers safely and effectively?
Many businesses have limited the in-store shopping experience to prioritize the safety of the public — such as requiring masks for all customers and cutting down on store hours. Fortunately, these restrictions don’t have to prevent consumers connecting with your store and brand. Another way to connect with your consumer safely is by taking your business online. According to ZenBusiness in their guide to opening a store, most startup stores lack the budget for large-scale advertising — but social media can make a world of difference in marketing your store and establishing your brand in the virtual space. Utilize platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business to take potential customers on your store’s journey, no matter where they may be located. It will also help you leverage word of mouth, which can be a highly effective form of organic advertising.
So, is it still possible to open a shop in the new normal?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to open up your shop despite the current health crisis. However, it goes without saying that doing this won’t be easy, and you’ll likely face a lot of risks and difficult challenges that might make you want to give up. But with resiliency, flexibility, and a strong desire to persevere, your small business will eventually find success during and beyond these incredibly tough times.
For more tips on how to set up your business for success, be sure to check out our post entitled ‘Can I Start a Business During Financial Difficulties?’