I have been asked a few times this week if now is a good time to start a business?
Normally I would say anytime is a good time, but there is one big stumbling block, meeting clients and others critical to starting your business. Yes, you can speak to them virtually but it’s not the same as meeting up in person.
But should that stop you? No not really!
If you have an idea and it’s a good one, that’s assuming you’ve validated it in all the usual ways, then I would say go for it. As most people hunker down and try to ride out this storm others will be growing their business in ways they never thought possible. This gives you an advantage because the competition is quiet.
All I would say is make sure you don’t come across as profiteering and lacking empathy for what people are going through. Yes, you’re dealing with real people not businesses.
First thing to do is speak to your accountant or bookkeeper and find out what’s available in the funding arena as you might get all the help you need financially to get started without having to wait.
The bottom line is if you have an idea and it’s a good one go for it.
WHAT ABOUT PIVOTING YOUR EXISTING BUSINESS?
This could mean doing something you wouldn’t normally do. So, say you’re a builder and work has dried up, you could help in the building and fitting out of the new hospitals etc, there is always work if you’re willing to make a few changes.
All I would say is be true to yourself and your business, only do what you feel comfortable doing.
Work is out there if you want it.
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought over the weekend and as things stand we all anticipate that business, probably life, will never be the same again once this crisis is over.
With that in mind what will be your new supply and demand if things do change?
For me it could be that people are reluctant to start their business, they might put it on hold, I think that’s a mistake, but maybe I would say that, the reason not to wait is obvious, opportunity.
There will be a lot of opportunity for the rest of this year, in an earlier post I said no ripping off or profiteering, but there will be a new supply and demand for us all, we just have to spot it. I actually think its happening now for some.
I urge you to think about this while we’re going through this quiet time and take action.
Reflect on where you are now and where you want to be in 12 months’ time and go for it. This is the perfect time to plan and get your strategy in order, plus as most of us are working from home, everyone is ‘online’ 24/7 making getting in front of people even easier.
So again, make your plan, create your strategy and go for it. It’s now or never.
If you want to talk it through let me know and I’ll send you the relevant links and times.
I have been thinking about putting a strategy document together for change and growth in challenging times, let me know if you’d like a copy.
I have been asked a number of times what my thoughts are on the ‘new economy’ and how we should operate our businesses through it.
Here’s 5 tips that might help.
This is the perfect time to take a long hard look at your business and decide if will work or not in the new economy.
Keep the parts that are working, ditch the stuff that isn’t or reset altogether.
Take a look at your core business and make the changes today.
1, Finance - Look at your overheads and decide what you need and what you don’t. Do you need an office, do you need the new car, do you need to keep whatever is draining your cash? Help you and you’re your suppliers by negotiating a deal that helps both of you, you need to keep cash in the business to survive but speaking to suppliers is key. As is talking to staff if you have staff, keep them informed of what’s going on. Go through your finances with your accountant or bookkeeper, if you don’t have one, please hire one today.
LOOK AT YOUR CASHFLOW OVER THE NEXT 3 to 4 MONTHS VERY CAREFULLY, YOU NEED TO SURVIVE.
2, Communication will change, people will change, people will not travel in the numbers they did before all this. Online meetings will become common place in the new economy. Technology will be the new ‘norm’ when this is over so there will be no need to travel miles to meet people, we are now used to meeting online. Keep up with technology as this will be the way to survive. If you’re not ‘techie’ find someone who is and employ them to help.
3, Brand - your brand will be key to what you do and who with. The ones who tried to ‘frig’ the system will be forgotten or looked on in a totally different light, Virgin, Rail operators, Sports Direct and Wetherspoons come to mind. We will remember the ones who have gone the extra mile such as McLaren supplying ventilators, PPE from clothing manufacturers the list is endless. They will be remembered and revered. Will you?
Your brand will be key over the next 12 months so work on it constantly.
4, It’s me or the business - your business will be the number one thing you have to concentrate on over the next 12 months. But remember you cannot fail along with your business, that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about.
Are you and your business ready for the new economy?
5, Start Up - If you were starting your business today would you start the same business, and would it survive?
Take today to decide how you go forward and what your contingency will be if it won’t.
Innovation, ideas and determination will see you through. But if you can’t see your business making it through this strange time, stop now and think of something else.
The first step is to spot the opportunity then solve a customer’s problem, and there will be many, and you will survive and thrive. This is the first rule of being an entrepreneur.
If you have any questions on how your business is changing and what to do about it please get in touch, we are here to help.
It is becoming the ‘norm’ across Cumbria that we are seeing people, entrepreneurs, going above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic. We see it every day on social media where communities have come together, usually lead by one individual, to take food to people who need it most and to organise drop offs etc needed in their community, usually for the elderly and the vulnerable. This has been mirrored across Cumbria throughout this pandemic.
Yet also across Cumbria we are not seeing or hearing much other than the odd email or link to a government website from our industry leaders other than to give more information for employers on how its intended to recover economically from this pandemic.
It was Sir Tom Hunter the Scottish businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who said, “The best social policy ever invented is a good job”.
We will need a greater emphasis on job creation if Cumbria is to come through this economic catastrophe ready for business.
Across Cumbria today boardrooms are alive with the chatter of ‘restructure’ and ‘how are we going to move forward’? It is without doubt that some of our larger organisations will be planning redundancies and job cuts.
Yet we do not have anything in place that sets out a plan for Cumbria’s youth and what they will do for a job going forward. There is no strategic plan in place to get us through this troubling time and beyond.
We already know that public sector finances will be under pressure for at least the next 10 years. We cannot borrow at these unprecedented levels and not have to pay it back. We will not find the new jobs here.
We know that we are unlikely to find new jobs created anytime soon in Cumbria as there is no pipeline for this to happen currently in place. That leaves two sources for these essential jobs.
We can import them from outside of Cumbria and internationally by attracting companies to move their offices and production operations to Cumbria, important as these jobs may prove to be, they can be precarious and at the whim of a distant head office.
It is staring us in the face, these vital new jobs will be created by people who want to start and grow a new business or social enterprise (the entrepreneurs) or those who have the ambition to drive growth from within (the intrepreneurs).
It is these people who will shape our future. These are the people we should celebrate, nurture and support. We should be putting entrepreneurs, the intrepreneurs and Cumbria’s entrepreneurial culture and spirit at the heart of any and all recovery planning. This will create our pipeline; this will help us recover. It’s not surprising, although a little sad, that very little or nothing of substance has been mentioned about entrepreneurs in any report or recovery plan for Cumbria in the last 3 months. If there is such a plan in existence.
Research by The Kauffman Foundation and the Enterprise Research Centre estimates that all net new jobs are created by new and young firms. Further still, growth companies and scale-ups create the most jobs of all, whilst representing only 5% of companies, they create 50% of new jobs.
The ScaleUp Institute’s research shows these firms not only create more jobs, they are also more productive, export more, generate tax revenue and do better for their communities. Is this not what we want for Cumbria?
It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs are Cumbria’s job creators. Entrepreneurs should be at the heart of our recovery strategy because they will create jobs. We know that they cannot do it alone, that is where the rest of us come in. They need our help, let us give it to them.
Keith McMean is MD and Founder of The Entrepreneurs Group Ltd
The article was inspired by Sandy Kennedy’s original article in the Herald.