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The coronavirus pandemic has been and continues to be an unprecedented challenge for humanity. Beyond the trauma and tragedy, it has fundamentally transformed the way we connect with one another and live our daily lives.  

It’s in times like these that the entrepreneurial spirit thrives. While many people are finding themselves having to rethink their careers and relationship with work there is also a market offering challenges and opportunities in equal measure.  

Standing out and finding entrepreneurial success in a post-COVID world will be a significant test, especially when you consider we don’t know what the world will look like in 2021 and beyond. However, there are things you can start doing now to prepare yourself and ensure a strong starting position to capitalize on an industry-changing idea. 

Do your research 

Going in blind is a bad idea whatever the situation. In business, it can put a stop to your vision before you even get started. 

Businesses are built on great ideas executed intelligently and effectively. Great ideas are formed and refined through research. If you’re not putting the research into your entrepreneurial idea, it’s not likely to get very far.  

Research gives entrepreneurs a clearer understanding of their own idea, the space it would occupy in the market, and how audiences are likely to react. Without this, entrepreneurs tend to make significant mistakes that turn people off their business.  

In a sensitive post-COVID world every decision has to be made based on significant research. Pushing high-value products on people with less disposable income isn’t just a bad tactic, it can give your business a negative image.  

Of course, research doesn’t just mean exploring product trends and where you’re most likely to find an engaged audience, it’s about learning the fundamentals of how to run a business. Coronavirus, whether it’s due to boredom or lost employment, has led to a lot of people considering entrepreneurial endeavors for the first time. Hobbyists are trying their hand at low-budget ecommerce, creatives have become virtual teachers, and marketing professionals are turning to freelance work.  

Jumping straight into those new initiatives without a guide can be tricky, which is why first-time entrepreneurs should use this period of doubt to read up on their chosen career path, whether it’s learning the basics of managing an e-Commerce store or marketing themselves as a thought leader. No one knows when markets will return to pre-COVID attitudes and solidity, so take your time and be prepared.  

Understand the new business landscape 

If the data and financial estimations coming through are anything to go by, a post-COVID world is going to be a very different one to navigate through. Not just for businesses, but everyday people. As an entrepreneur, you thrive off having a better understanding of everyday issues and consumer desires, and there is no more pertinent a skill right now.  

Entrepreneurs looking to come out of COVID swinging need to understand the new business landscape. As mentioned before, this involves research, but also an understanding of how attitudes will have changed since the beginning of 2020.  

People are already significantly less financially well off than they were six months ago, with many facing long term unemployment. Businesses will not be able to move forward with ventures they’ve been planning for months.  

How susceptible people are to marketing material is likely to change. They may not embrace content in the same way and be more picky with how they choose to spend their money. Prior to coronavirus, influencer marketing seemed all-powerful, but now it faces new challenges as content resources dry up and people reconsider their relationships with them.  

Your business idea needs to take all of this into account before it can truly flourish. Listen to what people are telling you about their personal struggles and use social media to gain a greater understanding of the national conversations and concerns both in and out of your industry.  

Digitize your service 

Coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown measures designed to prevent the spread of it have exposed generations of people to new digital tools. We have grandmothers using Zoom, old-fashioned businesses communicating through Slack, and whole communities forced to move onto social media to stay together. 

This is one of the biggest developments likely to carry over into a post-COVID world. These tools are too widely known and enjoyed by people to be fully pushed aside once measures are more widely relaxed. Businesses, in particular, are more likely to be operating remotely for an extended period or embracing it as a long-term option for staff. They will need these tools to stay productive and in touch.  

It’s essential then that your entrepreneurial project embraces the digital landscape of a post-COVID world. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. You need a fully fleshed out virtual presence to both attract a more online audience and provide them with a more refined service. B2B businesses in particular are going to need to understand employer’s desires for digital tools and services, as they sure up their operations in case of another outbreak.  

Your outreach in particular needs to be fully virtual to reach an audience more inclined to browse social media than read a newspaper. Consider the type of ads that will best represent your business, promote your message, and reach your desired audience. If you sell products, for example, investing in Google advertising and SEO will improve your ranking in search results, whereas a service business may benefit more from pre- or mid-roll YouTube advertising to give themselves a more visual presence.  

Make smart investments 

Investing smart doesn’t just mean finding great priced stock or the next big business idea, it means making sure your business expenses are spent on tools and campaigns that are going to help your long-term future.  

A business starting out post-COVID is likely to be running on diminished funding, either due to your personal financial situation or a lack of available investors. Every decision you make in regards to investing in your business needs to be meticulously planned out and accounted for.  

Tools are an essential part of what makes a modern business tick. Remember what we said about becoming more digitally minded? That’s done successfully through the use of social media management programs, email management tools that offer an overview into your company outreach, and analytic tools that help guide you in the right direction towards your most profitable audience.  

However, a business cannot just dive in and sign up for subscriptions for all of these leading tools. They’ll end up being a huge cost to your business, especially if you don’t know how to get the most out of them. Research the most effective tools for your industry and make use of free trials to find out which ones suit you. An industry favorite might not suit your style of work.  

It’s hard to predict what a business will need to succeed in a post-COVID world because we still don’t know when that will be or what it will look like. The most we can do is learn from these smart lessons and try to be as prepared as possible for the day when we can launch new businesses and explore our entrepreneurial dreams.