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Challenges of starting a business now

by Sourav Mukherjee
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The end of 2019 brought with it a melancholic feeling of yet another year passing and a whole new world of chaos. While individuals suffered much, businesses witnessed an equally devastating phase. The lockdown led to a number of business sectors shutting down, leading to a stark drop in the economy and made those looking to start their own businesses take a step back into anonymity.

All this does lead to a really vital question – how will upcoming businesses survive this catastrophic phase? While there is no right answer to the question, there are ways to tackle the issue head-on.

The ongoing crisis has had a significant effect on every industry, making businesses lose important clients due to lack of funds and resources, leading to projects being scrapped mid-way, and numerous companies carrying out mass-firings to stay afloat financially. And these are just a few visible signs of what has truly occurred within industries.

Understanding the current scenario is what can help every potential entrepreneur prepare for what’s to come.

Aftermath

There is no dearth of possible outcomes of the crisis on various segments of a business. With the way things are currently going, there is no avoiding the effects to come in the following months. Here are some really hard-hitting possibilities that one must prepare for:

Financial depletion

This is an after-effect that every existing and upcoming business is bound to suffer. With existing investors pulling back reserves and lack of clients and customers, revenues are sure to take a huge hit. Further, the impact on the economy will affect businesses as well as individuals to a great extent.

Uncertainty

This particular sentiment will resonate with business as well as all individuals involved in the business, from the decision-maker to the lowest-paid employee. Coupled with the economic meltdown, uncertainty will soar more than any other feeling.

Increasing debts

For businesses reliant on investors, the consequences of the crisis are even higher. These businesses are bound to incur more debt as the months pass by, leading to a whole new crisis.

Challenges

After the lockdown, there is no telling when and how the economy will pick up, considering all of the calamities that rolled by during the entire phase. However, one is for certain. Anyone intending to start a business once the crisis is past us needs to be prepared for these challenges that, once you overcome, can be the stepping stone to the business’ success.

Consumer needs

What seemed like a necessity earlier may now become a thing of luxury. The on-going pandemic has taught many of us to really value things as they should be. And it also made us identify all the things we can do without. Unlike before, it may take a while to understand customers and their needs and to classify whether the services you are about to offer will make it to their must-have list.

Funding

Any business, irrespective of the industry, requires the right kind of funding. Starting something solely on the pillars of a grand idea and people to support you will not get you much further. Capital is the foundation for every business and gathering funds and investors is sure to be a challenge in the post-COVID world.

Restrategising

Yes, this one would probably be the biggest challenge if you slaved weeks and months planning a proper strategy before the pandemic hit the world. Considering the change in consumer behaviour that is bound to happen owing to the crisis as well as the change in B2B tradings, it is only expected that upcoming business takes a hard, long look at the existing plans and recheck its fruitfulness.

While these challenges are sure to cross the paths of every business, whether existing or in the inception process, how to deal with them is something each business would have to look into individually. Here are some crucial factors that every business would need to consider in the post-COVID daze:

Experts on board

Facing a crisis teaches one a lot of things; one of them being the need for expert advice. Businesses can hardly take decisions on a whim. Neither can one take a decision for another sector involved in the business cycle. Having an expert come on board can help you look at things in a more objective manner, being more informed about every segment or process within the firm.

Crisis management

If there is anything this crisis has taught us all, it is that we can never be too prepared for anything. Many businesses, while being sure of reserve funds to survive the pandemic, have had to do so at the cost of letting go numerous employees who have been assets for years.

Setting up a crisis management programme, irrespective of the size of the business, is something every upcoming business should focus on, taking cues from all the setbacks that existing businesses have had to go through during these challenging months.

Short-term plans

Now that we have all learnt to take things one day at a time, the mantra has proven itself enough to help us understand the effectiveness of short-term plans over long-term strategies. Quarterly plans, or even bi-annual plans, are better suited to help organisations set up achievable goals that are less likely to be affected by things not within their control.

Altering business strategies 

We’ve already mentioned what a challenge this could be. Strategising all over again for your business plan can be daunting. And the time you spent working on the strategy before will, in no way, be compensated. One way to reduce the timeline to when your business finally breathes its first, and to make sure you don’t suffer a great deal in terms of resources, is to alter the strategies to evolve with the times.

While the crisis is almost past us, there is no guarantee that another will not come our way soon enough. What we can take away from all the things we’ve been through in the last couple of months is to find out what can be done to avoid the effects that we have all witnessed lately and the after-effects to come.

There is nothing stopping you from starting your own business. The good news is, you now have the chance to make all of the choices that existing businesses couldn’t to make your business thrive even through a crisis.

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