The Woodlands, TX, USA – So much is happening around the world but yet so few would think to start a business during the coronavirus pandemic which is also known as COVID-19. While the entire globe is at the edge of their seats, and economics are drastically shaken up, it is easy to think that the business world is coming to an end. Some may even think this may be the worst time to start a business especially when everyone is getting laid off, staying indoors and considering how families would survive this inevitable recession. However according to Ayo Jeremiah, digital marketing business guru and founder of Leoserv Inc., this is not entirely true. Ayo Jeremiah claims that even tough everyone is under quarantine and stuck at home, it also opens doors to industries to bloom as people’s daily behaviors and lifestyles change.
Ayo Jeremiah started Leoserv Inc. (formerly known as Fortune Spark) after the 2008 recession when he got fired from a high paying job. Since then he has been coaching individuals of all scales to always have multiple wells of income so that when (not if) one well dries up, the other wells can provide sustenance. Even during the pandemic, we caught up with Ayo Jeremiah and he shared with us that Leoserv Inc., faced some setbacks but ultimately started acquiring new clients as businesses and nonprofit organizations started to realize the dire need to have a digital platform. Ayo Jeremiah goes on to mention that “So, a church in Atlanta, GA reached out to me about 5 years ago and after weeks of going back and forth to understand how our services could help them reach greater peaks digitally, they respectfully declined. Now they are blowing up our phones 5 years later asking us to help them ASAP!” Ayo Jeremiah goes on to say that even if you are a professional athlete, celebrity figure or work as a simple minimum wage blue collar worker, you should never put all your eggs in one basket and find ways to diversify and multiply your income. He goes on to challenge individuals that now is the time to start or revamp a side business which automatically fortifies your finances while creating a contingency plan for the any future financial crisis.
Ayo Jeremiah’s 7 tips for starting or rebuilding a business during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
1. Access the damage the Pandemic has caused.
– The first step in creating an assessment of the type of businesses that have been affected by COVID drastically and determine how, why, where, and when they got affected. For example, COVID wreaked havoc on Disney and over 100,000 employees got furloughed. Learning how, why, where and when they got affected the most, creates leverage for anyone to learn from and move on to the next step.
2. Create or revamp your Business Plan to mitigate issues cause my COVID damages.
– After understanding why business failed, create a business plan that helps mitigate the HOW, WHY, WHEN, WHERE they failed. For instance, if you own a local restaurant that thrived based on foot traffic, after learning from COVID shutdowns, you should now revamp to offer pickup or delivery. Some marketing tips are also in step 7 to help streamline profitable business strategies.
3. Transition to the Virtual World. Build a virtual team or have virtual products and services.
– Most businesses with employees are now understanding the value of a virtual employee as much as a physical location. Organizations are realizing that remote meetings through Skype or Zoom could have just been as effective as physical meetings. The need to go virtual is now more at the forefront of technology more than ever. Luckily the virtual business like Amazon, Uber, Air BnB, and others have mastered the art of having virtual services, customers, products and much more. A close acquaintance of mine who is a preacher called me and reaffirmed that if he listened to my advice 5 years ago when I challenged him to increase his online presence by also focusing on getting online church members just as much as physical members similar to what some megachurches are doing, that his church would be in a much better place.
4. Consider funding and understand your options to scale.
– If you did not have a large amount of cash on hand going into the pandemic, it’s likely that you will need capital to jump-start your business operations. I personally was never afraid to ask anyone I came across for money when starting my business. From family members, to banks, to credit unions, to even strangers because I was determined to success. Luckily there are now avenues to secure some form of capital even during the pandemic. These include but not limited to:
• Traditional SBA 7(a) loans and microloans
• Small business term loans from banks, credit unions and online lenders
• Business lines of credit and Business credit cards
• Merchant cash advances
5. Revamp your budget in alignment with your new business plan and goals.
– It is important to understand that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely you will spend more money before making a single profit. If Step 1 and 4 are highly optimized and implemented effectively, you should have a clear idea of what you need to be budgeting for during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Before the pandemic, I had more physical employees which I paid by the hour. Now during the pandemic and after, I am considering cutting costs have more virtual contractors and also by paying commission. The goal is to eliminate the monetary waste and get your operating budget as lean as possible.
6. Develop a strict timeline and have SMART goals.
– If you don’t know what SMART goals are, please do a Google search and the come back to finish these steps. You may have several things you need before you can start or revamp your business while recovering from COVID-19, but doing everything at once may not be realistic. This is where SMART goals come in play. What can help is having a time line to follow that prioritizes your most important actions first. The goal here is to assess progress in the initial stages of COVID-19 recovery, and then review your goals and progress again at a later time. This would build a bridge in helping you shift to reviewing your business goals overall as things begin to stabilize.
7. Implement new marketing strategies.
– While the coronavirus pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, understand that an emergency can happen anytime and disrupt your business at any time. Similarly, to having multiple sources of income, it is crucial to also having multiple pipelines of marketing and lead generation to ensure that if one pipeline dries up, others could help stabilize your marketing goals. Below are just a few that has successfully worked for millions of businesses. The goal is to have each one yield just as much traffic as the next.
• Website marketing
• Social Media marketing
• Video marketing
• Influencer marketing
• Print marketing
• Email/SMS marketing
Ayo Jeremiah goes on to say that “Over the longer term, Covid-19 has irrevocably changed the way businesses will compete over the next decade. Those that choose to capitalize on these underlying changes will succeed and the ones that don’t will get disrupted.”