A 5-Step Guide to Starting Your Own Business During COVID-19

Small businesses nationwide have been faced with many challenges amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of small businesses closing their doors or cutting staff this past year. In light of this unfortunate news, one might assume that starting a new business at this time would be unthinkable. However, recent government data has also revealed that new businesses are opening at the fastest rate in more than a decade, with many entrepreneurs taking advantage of the new opportunities that have emerged since the pandemic reshaped the economy. Starting your own business now is not impossible if you take the right steps toward making your idea a reality.

First, research the current market. Research is helpful for identifying and understanding issues that will affect your place in the market, such as whether your product or service is in demand within the current market, whether similar products or services are already offered, and if your proposed product or service can be safely delivered in the manner you expect and if additional considerations should made due to the pandemic or other outside influences. Market research tools such as the Pew Research Center, which provide data on social trends, and the U.S. Census’ Census Business Builder, which allows you to conduct market research in any geographic area, can help you get started on your research. It may also be beneficial to take other steps like discussing you plans with other business owners to understand the difficulties they may be facing in today’s economic climate and how they are addressing those obstacles. Understanding and anticipating obstacles beforehand will better prepare you and your business for managing these challenges as they arise.

Second, create a business plan. The process of developing a business plan will make the task of financing your business and finding investors significantly easier by giving you and your investors a better understanding of your business idea, as well as any potential issues surrounding it. For example, establishing a business plan will likely force you to think through issues like the feasibility and marketability of your business idea, management and infrastructure needs that you may have, whether adjustments to the original operation plan is necessary, and what cash flow your business will have long and short term, among other things.

Third, ensure your business is protected and complies with all rules. This step encompasses all of the legal and organizational technicalities essential to starting your business. You must ensure that you set up your legal entity and register your business in order to legal shield your personal assets for debts or liability created by your new business.  You’ll also need to understand and eventually obtain any required licenses and permits according to state and federal regulations, purchase insurance, and find a location for your business.  Your business may also need a trademark or have intellectual property that should be protected.  Find a full-service commercial law firm with a heart for small businesses to work with you, so that most of your legal work can be completed by the same team of professionals who know you, your business, and your objectives.

Fourth, establish a marketing plan. The success of your product or service depends in large part on your brand identity. For this reason, you should consider how you intend to get the word about your new business.  Take advice from marketing services who provide information on how to build your brand, which should include everything from choosing a business name, to creating a market plan, creating a logo, building a website and other tools that will work to establish your presence in the marketplace.

Finally, secure funding for your business. This is one area where steps 1-4 will come in handy. You will need to provide investors or lenders information about your legal entity, trademarks, business plan, and marketing.  Your business plan should already contain a financial section outlining the potential financial resources you can use to fund your business, as well as the amount of capital required to propel your business. Small business loan programs, such as through the U.S. Small Business Administration, can be particularly valuable when your business is just beginning to grow.

Though starting your own business in the midst of a pandemic may seem challenging, starting a business at any time always poses challenges and rewards. By taking advantage of the current opportunities and resources available to you, and by making the right steps to build a good foundation, you will be able to face challenges head-on.

The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with Canada Lewis & Associates PLLC. You should discuss your situation with an attorney whom you have engaged to perform legal services for you. If you wish to retain the services of Canada Lewis & Associates, please contact our office for more information.

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