Starting out

Starting a business in the 'new normal' 

When the pandemic broke out early this year, we saw small businesses across the country shutting down amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic. It’s forever changed the way we do business – and chances are it will also impact the success of a business launch. So, the question is, should you start a business during this time? What are some of the things to consider in the ‘new normal’?

Despite the dismal ‘closed’ signs hanging on many doors, the great news is starting a business is definitely not out of the question.

In fact, past downturns produced some high-profile companies such as Airbnb, Disney, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Slack and Uber, just to name a few. 

The spread of the coronavirus has challenged entrepreneurs to think and meet new needs. For example, the virus outbreak could pave the way for new tech ventures focused on health care and medicine. New businesses are forming despite the pandemic, though at a significantly slower rate than before.

Reasons why it’s a good time to start a business 

There are some advantages to starting a business now:

  • There is less competition for resources.
  • Greater innovation: whatever changes we face, positive or negative, new business ideas come up with ways to solve new customer needs.
  • Potentially low-interest rates for borrowing capital.
  • Cheaper equipment as businesses sell off inventory.  
  • Potentially lower commercial lease rates as landlords scramble to fill empty spaces.
  • Talent is everywhere. Since there have been many layoffs, there would be a large talent pool of people to source skills from if you were looking to hire.

Questions to consider before starting

Do you want to start a business now? Ask yourself these five questions first:

1. Have I identified a new need that customers have as a result of the current crisis?

2. Can I fulfil this need in a way that is substantially better than the current alternatives? Or am I just recreating old systems?

3. Do I have the right experience or qualifications to solve this customer problem?

4. If I don’t have the experience, can I hire others (freelance or consultant) or find a co-founder to help me?

5. Do I have enough money to sustain me until my business is profitable?

Health and safety in the ‘new normal’

When starting a business in the new normal, ensuring the health and safety of customers, suppliers and those operating in the business should always be the number one priority. 

The National COVID-19 coordination commission (NCCC) has released a planning tool available for businesses to work through to develop a plan to keep worker’s, customers and the community safe.

Visit the SafeWork Australia website for useful tools and checklists to help you get started. 

Catherine Ngo

Senior Editor and Content Writer, Business Australia

Catherine is passionate about unravelling the latest news and insights to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and employers.

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