What’s Next for Small Business Post-COVID?
Small business is already a difficult endeavour, global pandemic or not. As the COVID-19 pandemic impact sinks in, many aspiring small business owners have found themselves questioning whether their dreams are even feasible. While challenges remain, here’s why it’s certainly not time to give up on your small business aspirations.
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Is it worth starting a business post-COVID?
While it may feel as if starting a business in the wake of COVID-19 is risky, it could actually be an ideal time to launch your new venture. Research from Roy Morgan indicates that 52% of Australians prefer Australian-made products post-pandemic, and 90% say they are more likely to buy products made at home. When nationwide lockdowns forced people to shop within a small radius, Australians developed a taste for locally-owned small businesses.
If you’re looking to start a new business post-COVID, you might want to angle yourself towards an industry or niche that has boomed during this time:
E-commerce truly reigned supreme during the pandemic and continues to be a preferred shopping method for many consumers. When establishing your new business, make sure you’re set up to provide online shopping from the get-go. Even if you’re not offering a physical product, think about how you might also establish an online presence (i.e. online fitness classes, e-learning resources or apps).
Self-care, at-home activities and non-digital forms of entertainment all grew in popularity during the pandemic. Could your new business idea align with Australians’ growing desire for leisure and recreation? Board games, puzzles and other creative ways of passing the time at home could all be fantastic business ideas. Self-care subscription services like beauty and wellness boxes have also been on the rise.
Food and beverage
Australians also developed a penchant for fine foods and beverages, while unable to dine it at restaurants for some time. Pre-cooked restaurant meals or bake-at-home pastries and DIY kits for cupcake decoration or tacos are still popular after the pandemic. Could your hospitality or food and beverage business idea also cater to Aussies’ desire to enjoy the finer things at home?
For inspiration, aspiring small business owners can also look to examples of business who pivoted beautifully during the pandemic. Think of the countless clothing brands that quickly shifted to selling face masks, or the small US candle maker that began to offer an online, custom candle making experience to their customers.
These examples demonstrate that even if a crisis occurs again, your small business can still come out of it okay.
What are the long term economic effects and trends post-COVID?
Xero’s Small Business Insights report indicates that small Aussie businesses are well and truly on the road to recovery. As of November 2020, small business jobs had already returned to pre-COVID levels, and new business registrations are up 34% since July of 2019. Australia also recovered from its recession very quickly, with massive spending seen over the Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day periods.
How can small business owners come out ahead?
If you’re considering establishing your own business, make sure you incorporate the lessons other small business owners have learned due to the pandemic. This might include:
Becoming digitally literate
so you can meet business demands and customer expectations.
Incorporating consumer trends into your business model
by offering online shopping options, click and collect, delivery and cashless payment options.
Mapping out your supply chain
Aussie businesses lost 10% of their revenue as a result of COVID-related supply chain delay, so keeping a keen eye on every level of your supply chain can help you adjust faster if a problem comes up.
Ensuring your business is capable of pivoting
should a similar crisis occur, and developing an appropriate contingency plan. For example, can you smoothly transition to providing delivery services or at-home versions of your product if you needed to?
What support exists for small business owners?
The Australian Government has implemented several measures to support small businesses during the pandemic. This includes JobKeeper, state and territory grants, commercial tenants’ relief, and even a free marketing kit for small businesses to use.
It is certainly not all doom and gloom for small businesses in Australia. By tapping into megatrends and consumer preferences, you can set your small business up for a greater chance of success in our post-COVID landscape.
Find out what seasoned small business owners wish they’d known before starting. Learn from their experiences and make your own startup phase smoother.