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How COVID-19 has Inspired ‘Hidden’ Entrepreneurs to Take the Leap

Previous economic downturns led to the advent of high-profile companies like Uber, Airbnb, CNN, Slack, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

The present coronavirus pandemic has started churning out its fair share of entrepreneurial success stories.

Are you willing to ditch your fears and be part of this season’s profitable startups?

There’s no doubt that the last six months have been very challenging in a number of ways, and I by no means do I want to take away from the hardship that COVID-19 has brought. Nonetheless, I believe it’s important to highlight the success that has come from the current situation. 

The phrase, good things come out of bad situations couldn’t be more correct for online SME’s this year so far. With an impressive 83% year-on-year growth in online sales in the UK and  29% growth in the U.S. & Canada. It’s safe to say that now is a fantastic time to think about taking the plunge and setting up your own online SME. 

 I’ve found it fascinating to watch people take this awful situation and turn it into something great for themselves.  

To help spark the entrepreneurial fire inside of you, let's take a look at the top industries that have seen a massive spike since the start of the global pandemic;

  • Home improvement: 140% growth in consumer interest 
  • Pet products: 50% growth in consumer interest
  • Home beauty products: 36% growth in consumer interest
  • Gaming: 145% growth in consumer interest
  • Fitness and Health: 2,000,000% growth in consumer interest

Now you can see why for aspiring entrepreneurs… this is your moment.  

One of my personal favourites include Patrick Osman, the previous Senior Director for the Private Office of Dubai’s royal family, before everything vanished into thin air when the pandemic hit.

Rather than rue the woes of the pandemic or spend time procrastinating, Osman started brainstorming, and embarked on a 30-day research and launched “I’m Cartoonified.” An online business that makes customised cartoon-like portraits of people, families and friends alike.

Osman is not the only person the COVID-19 crisis motivated to start a business.

There’s also the success story of local man, Tom Shiers from Halesworth in Suffolk who launched Fupburger last July, after being made redundant from the job he had been doing for 14 years, he decided to take the leap and turn his burger hobby into his career after receiving mind blowing success, with day after day sellouts.

These people were able to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams and they have flourished despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The best part is that they aren’t isolated cases.

You may be surprised to know that even as some businesses are closing shop forever, more and more people are actively taking the entrepreneurial plunge. In the US alone, official figures show that the Census Bureau filed 67,160 applications in the last seven days of May from people who want to set up new companies.

This is an impressive 21% rise when you compare it to the same period in May 2019.

Here are some reasons I believe now is a great time to start an online business.

  • Increased opportunity for e-commerce businesses - 32% of UK consumers say they’re spending more money online.
  • 45% of companies across the world will now outsource rather than insource their departments - making it a great time to think about offering external marketing and sales support to companies.
  • Challenging periods create new customer needs, leaving gaps in the market.
  • The epidemic brought about low-interest rates beneficial for raising start-up capital. 
  • Often, downturns are the best times to launch a business since competition is less when compared to good times.

Opportunities like these aren’t easy to come by in other times and smart entrepreneurs waste no time in taking advantage of it. 

Ensure Your Startup End up is a Success and Not Another Statistic 

Here are a few tips you should keep in mind:

  • It’s important to seek learning experiences to broaden your knowledge base - look at investing in a CPD certified online course - the Affluent Academy could be a great place to start 
  • Research the industry and the competitive landscape, then try to differentiate yourself with your value offering.
  • You need a network of support - start by leveraging your current network
  • Keep your business model simple to begin with and don’t immediately start piling on high costs 

There’s no doubt this period is a good time to start a business, especially a marketing agency. The pandemic has given us several once in a lifetime opportunities and what better time to start than now. 

Wishing you the best as you take these unprecedented steps.

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