“Starting from zero, got nothing to lose”... If Tracy Chapman’s words from her 1988 hit are ringing true in your head then perhaps you had a business which has become a victim of the Coronavirus. Wandering around areas of Palma that used to be bustling with vibrant businesses it is quite apparent that some of our well known and much-loved restaurants and bars will not be opening again. Tight margins in the hospitality industry mean you have to keep turning those tables in order to pay the bills. And if your overheads and your income are more or less the same then it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge and that Traspaso sign goes up. Nip to the coast, my own backyard of St Elm for example, and you will see another situation, many restaurants have not yet opened because it is not economically viable for them to do so. “July 1st” is the magic date when many of our seaside businesses will open again hoping for a sniff of a tourist. We are all crossing our fingers for them that they get the trade they need.
But what can you do when you are forced out of business or you have lost your job? How do you start from scratch, where do you find the ideas, and the energy, to begin?
Countless people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but they never do. They’re burdened with excuses and fears of failing. From money to time to responsibilities, you can make a million cases for not starting a business.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Firstly, don’t beat yourself up about it if you have lost your job or your business, plenty of people are facing this situation. You aren’t alone. There will always be peaks and valleys in life and in business. When you are down, don’t isolate yourself. We are social beings so contact your friends, family, customers and colleagues. Your network is a good place to start and will certainly help you through feelings of depression and anxiety if you are suffering.
SLOW DOWN AND DREAM
Now is a big opportunity to launch an idea which you might have had for years. Focus on your desired outcome for a new venture, set goals and design a strategy, think about who you would have as part of your team.
Figure out who is in your gang, Identify what you are looking for and have a list of questions to determine if someone shares your vision. Attend networking events and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Pay attention to what others have to say. When it comes to things that have to do with your entrepreneurial goals, be a sponge. As you learn, start to work out the idea in your head. Write things down. Keep notes from all the resources you come across to develop a detailed plan. When you tell people about your idea, read their body language. Do they like the idea? The collective opinion you get from peers could be a reflection of how consumers will react.
SOLVE A PROBLEM
Rather than starting with the idea of a product think about what problem you can solve. It’s a lot easier to gain a solid customer base when your business is fixing a problem. Your startup should fill a hole in a certain market or niche. Home in on why you are opening your own business. Understanding your motives will help you create a brand and market your company. Know what problems your target customers face and how you can solve them.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
As a new business owner, try to start small and narrow your focus. Learn how to test your business idea. Create a simple, quality good or service. A successful business idea should fulfil promises to customers and exceed expectations. Cut unnecessary features that water down your offerings and cost you money. As a small business, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a giant corporation. It will be easier to add to your business as it grows. Once you have a grasp on all your expenses, start to create a business budget. At first, you might need to get some outside capital to make ends meet, like a small business loan. Go over all of your options before putting your money in.
One challenge many business owners face is that they don’t know how to sell. It can be intimidating to share your burgeoning idea with the world, especially when you’re new. If you’re worried about what people will think about your business, you need to get over it. If you really want business success, you can’t afford to be shy. Be ready to speak confidently about your business, even if it makes you uncomfortable. As a new business owner, you will need to market and network constantly. From networking with clients to negotiating supplier payment terms, you must be able to communicate.
GET A GOOD GESTOR
Starting a business is exciting. Laws are not. But, you need to understand the rules that come with opening a business. If you fail to follow government expectations, you could face steep penalties.
USE YOUR HEAD AND YOUR HEART
One of the most important ingredients in a successful business idea is passion. Passion will consistently drive you to improve your process so your business grows. But check in with your head, conduct market research and talk to target customers. Ask for help and guidance from other business owners.
LEARN FROM OTHERS
This week in the Majorca Daily Bulletin we will talk to some business owners about how they are doing, how they are reacting and pivoting depending on their industry. If you want to contribute then contact us here at the Bulletin.