If you have been thinking about starting your own business to run from home, you might not have guessed that a worldwide pandemic was the push that you needed to get started. But if you are currently furloughed because of the Covid-19 crisis and have a lot more time on your hands than usual, it could be the perfect opportunity to turn your business idea into a reality.
While some businesses, like restaurants or non-essential retail shops, aren’t doing all that well right now, there are several businesses that actually thrive in this kind of situation. For example, we are seeing a lot more online shopping than usual throughout the lockdown period as people are stuck at home and craving something new, so it could be the perfect time to start an e-commerce store.
Perhaps you have a skill, like content writing, web design or social media management that would be useful in helping other business owners improve their online presence during this time. Something that’s in quite high demand right now as business owners try to capitalize on this new boom in customers looking to engage with brands online.
Whatever kind of business you want to start, if you’re setting up from home in the middle of a pandemic, there are some basics that you will definitely need to get started and achieve success.
A Reliable Internet Connection
First and foremost, make sure that your home’s internet connection is up to scratch. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to set your business up at home with Wi-Fi that keeps dropping out, lagging or slowing down. In some cases, all you might need to do is upgrade your router to a newer, faster model, or you could be having problems if your router is covered or you are working too far away from it.
In most cases, you can compare broadband online and upgrade to a better package, so spend some time looking for the best broadband deals for you. You can compare broadband packages at usave. Just enter your postcode into the comparison site, and you’ll be able to run a quick broadband comparison on all the broadband deals available in your area.
The Right Tech
Once you’ve got reliable broadband, make sure that you have the technology to match it. If you’re trying to start a business from an old, slow laptop, then it doesn’t really matter how fast your new broadband connection is. It’s still going to get frustrating if your hardware isn’t up for the job. Shop around and look for deals on newer computers and laptops. You don’t have to get the latest MacBook or iMac, but a reliable, fast computer with a decent amount of RAM is a must, especially if you are planning to do things like building your own website.
A Catchy Business Name
Spend some time coming up with a catchy business name that describes what you do and is fitting for the brand that you have in mind. If you are offering a service, you might consider coming up with a brand name that involves your own name in some way. This can be a good option for web developers, writers, tutors, or virtual assistants. On the other hand, if you are selling products online, then come up with a name that is clearly connected to the products that you sell and tells your potential customers what you are all about. Once you’ve got some name ideas, don’t forget to check that it is available as a domain name for your website and as a handle on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
A Business Plan
Okay, so you’ve got the basics covered, and you’re ready to get started with your new business name, but don’t do anything until you have come up with at least a simple business plan to guide you through the next steps. Your business plan is important because it acts as a guideline for you as you make decisions regarding your company in the future, and it will be essential if you want to apply for business funding or pitch your idea to an angel investor in the future. Consider who your market is, who your competitors are, and your plans to attract your target market and beat your competition over the next few years.
A Visual Brand
Once you have a name, you can start designing a visual brand around it. The first thing that you will probably start with creating is your logo. You can do this yourself if you have the skill, or you can pay a professional to do it for you. Sites like Fiverr are a great place to get professional business logos designed at a reasonable price. Make sure that your logo clearly shows what your business is all about and is relevant to the product or services that you are selling. Consider brand colours, too — what kind of colours will really mesh with your business and brand and complement what it is all about? For example, greens and blues are an ideal choice for businesses selling eco-friendly or vegan products, while purples and pinks are a popular choice for women’s fashion brands.
A Business Website
Now you are at a point where you can get a business website and start forming your company’s online presence. There are several options to consider. You can pay a professional web designer or developer to create the website for you, but if you want to save money and have more creative control over the site, you can use a platform like Wix, Shopify, Shopblocks or Squarespace. Each of these is aimed at different types of businesses.
Shopblocks is great for online shops while Squarespace is an excellent choice for a service-based business, so do some research on what’s available, sign up for free trials if available, and get a feel for the different platforms on offer to make sure that you select one you are comfortable working with over the long-term. Consider your own abilities, too. Some platforms, like WordPress, will require a little more technical ability compared to Wix when customising and personalising your website.
Social Media Presence
Now that you have a website to link back to, get started with setting up social media profiles for your brand. You should have a profile on the big networks at least, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. LinkedIn is also a good option for businesses as it allows you to connect with a wide range of professionals, and even if you are not selling services to other businesses, it’s a great way to get your content out there and increase brand awareness.
Now that you’re set-up, the last thing to do is create a content calendar. If you are selling products online, you will need to make sure that each product has clear photographs and descriptions. If you’re selling services, make sure that you have a page for your services, or even a page per service on your website so that potential customers can easily figure out what you do. But don’t stop there. Come up with a schedule for posting on a business blog, make some catchy social media graphics using a tool like Canva, and make some short but interesting videos about your brand. A good way to approach this is to spend some time making content in advance so that you can schedule it to publish each day automatically.
Many businesses are thriving during the Covid-19 crisis, so if you have a business idea and more time than usual to get it started, it’s the perfect time to turn your dreams into a reality.