Starting a Business during a Pandemic:
Bad timing… or the Best?

The year 2020: What will we remember? We have seen and experienced millions of people losing their jobs, being stuck at home for months, and trying to figure out how to live in this strange time.

So many people getting laid off and trying to keep their children occupied inside their homes instead of going to school. News…. Lots of news.  And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

How have you been processing the changes?

Have you been thinking about how you might enjoy working for yourself instead of an employer? The benefits of flexibility, being your own boss, the stability of working from home in case of another quarantine situation… it can sound pretty good! There are a few things we should consider as we plan, though, because some small businesses have had an especially difficult time due to the fact that people aren’t spending money on optional things.

Here at Sparrow, we are passionate about helping people grow small businesses and our aim is to help you get started and thrive, even amidst a pandemic.

WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS THRIVES DURING PANDEMIC?

Yup – you read that right – some businesses legitimately grew during these past few months and we aren’t just talking about ‘essential’ businesses. Since people were home (and often bored) and, for the foreseeable future, their homes were going to be their ‘new office’, they were looking around their homes finding things they needed to change in order to make their work and life more enjoyable. So, naturally, if you were in a home service business you got their phone call to take on their project.

Businesses that are more easily insulated from disasters (like pandemics) are home services: Painting jobs, lawn care, home makeovers, backyard sheds/offices, puppy sales (to destroy all the home makeovers!), and the Sweaty Startup actually grew. They are thriving as people are more often working from home.

But those aren’t the only businesses that grew. Knowledge-based businesses (like podcasts, how-to-video classes, and expertise services) also grew in subscribers and online course registrations. What do you know that others would pay to learn? You may be surprised at how you can build a subscription-based company online simply sharing your knowledge in a specific area!

The question becomes, which area of business do you want to launch into?  Where are your interests and will it be profitable during quarantine and beyond?

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Since we’re mostly still stuck in our homes, you can begin by thinking about a hobby or pet project you’ve always had in the back of your mind. Got it? Okay.  Maybe you’ve never had the time before to start….Well, now is definitely that time. 

Questions to consider

Have you thought of a business that can’t possibly get shut down in case of another quarantine? Obviously, we can’t plan for everything, nor is anything completely disaster-proof; but, consider your options. The flu season is a constant every winter. If things get perpetually shut down for periods over the next year (oh, heavens!), your choice should be something you can do despite those inconveniences. What is something others look for as they are shut in their homes?  What can you provide that is a simple luxury, a meaningful service, or an activity for bored minds?

Get your pandemic-proof business idea and begin planning how to get started.

HOW DO I GET MY NEW BUSINESS NOTICED?

Getting noticed is where Sparrow comes in! If you’re a home service provider or small business owner who services residential clients, you have a big opportunity. You can start your brand and get noticed with a smart, mobile-friendly, basic website. How? Here are the three ways to get your brand online:

Social media

Given the rapid growth of Facebook membership over the last 6 months, as well as other online platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll want to establish your profile with a simple landing page you update at least once a week (or some experts suggest daily) with some brand statement, service feature, or special insight to help your followers find value in what you offer.  Use a service like NameCheckr.com to see what usernames you can grab on each platform and go for simplicity and consistency!

Ads for visibility

Just because you launched a social profile doesn’t mean you’ll be found (nor does it automatically happen when you launch a website) – so you may want to consider a really simple ad budget to place your brand in front of people. You don’t need to jump into Google Ads (as it takes a few thousand dollars to get a smart campaign setup and in front of people), but you can start with something simple like BoostPoint’s services and some cheap social ads (check out our Why Facebook? blog post). You can sign up for a free demo of BoostPoint’s services here.

Website

What’s going to happen when people hear about you? They’ll Google your name – so you better have a website and a Google My Business Profile set up – both of which are now easily accomplished here at Sparrow.

You can certainly use free website builders (see our blog post all about that!), but you run the risk of not owning your content or graphics or being locked into contracts, and bad web design practices. They may look good from the outside, but they don’t perform well.

Sparrow has put together ‘the best of the best’ solutions to create a smart, fast, beautiful website for you. It is indexed with Google. It is mobile-friendly.  It is set up with a Google My Business profile for local search results (this is our Launch Kit)! 

Once you begin the process, you can be live in five days. You will be able to share your domain with people on your social profile, hand out business cards, flyers, and even run inexpensive Facebook ads and direct them to your website. Your website will clearly explain your services, build your reputation online (with the Google My Business review — a platform we set up for you), and grow strong.

And you can do this all during a pandemic.  Let us help you get started fulfilling your dreams as a small business owner as you meet the needs of others and serve them with excellence!

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