Starting A Business During A Pandemic

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Over the last five months, there has been an influx of new businesses created as people have been finding hidden talents, passions, and interests during quarantine. As a current online business owner, I know that starting a business can be exciting, frustrating, and scary all at once.

When I started my company in 2014, I really had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that I could sell stuff and that I was pretty good at figuring out what kind of stuff Jiu-Jitsu people liked… and I was bored. At the time, I was living in Hawaii and had a lot of time outside of work and training, so I figured that starting a business would be a way to stay busy and make a little money on the side.

By 2016, my company grew faster than I imagined. I realized at this point that I never did any long-term planning in terms of where I saw my company going or where I wanted it to be in two, five, or ten years. Now that I am six years into it, I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons in what makes a business successful and also what can make you back track.

So if you recently have or are planning on starting your own business, here are some tips from a small business owner (me) who has made a lot of progress and a lot of mistakes:

Have a plan. Write out everything. Have a timeline, goals, and a solid business plan for the quarter, year, and so on. The worst thing you could do is start a business with no idea what or where you want it to go.

Make sure you’re legit. File for a business license, trademark/copyright/patent your name and/or products, and buy a domain and build your website.

Get educated. Learn everything you need to know about how to run an online business including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing, intellectual property (trademark, copyright), accounting for small businesses, website building, product development, etc. The more you know, the easier (and cheaper) this will be. Trust me.

Limit the “freebies” you give to your friends. It’s cool to be excited about your business and want to share it with all of your friends because you believe in your products. However, don’t go too crazy giving away all of your inventory to your friends and family. Your friends and family will support you. So let them pay full price if they want even if you insist on giving them a discount.

Treat your customers like family. Brand loyalty is important and is what will bring you success. Additionally, so is great customer service. The more people know that you care about your customers and products, the more they will continue to support your business. Be prompt in answering emails/direct messages and engage with them on social media. Ultimately, these are the customers who will sing your praises on social media and also provide you with free marketing.

Don’t get discouraged. Stay positive. Building a successful business takes time and a lot of trials and errors. Stay the course, recognize what is working and what is not and pivot from there if you need to.

Have fun. Most importantly, always remember the reason why you started your business in the first place, especially if this is a side business for you. The more you are happy and enjoy what you do, the more successful you will become.

Congratulations on starting your new adventure and I wish you much success!

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