Why now is (always) the best time to start an online business
So you're ready to take the big leap and become what we call an Everyday Entrepreneur. Huge economic downturns like the one we’re currently in with 30 million people unemployed at the blink of an eye, might not seem like the best time to start a business, but the world has been forever changed and there are tremendous opportunities right now in the online arena. For brand owners and eCommerce veterans alike—now is a great time to dust off your big idea for a new product, so let's take a look at where those opportunities lie and how best to get started.
There are a few key trends to pay attention to, driving the opportunities for eCommerce startups to get started selling online.
- Brand dollars are way down. The big brands are spending less on advertising right now, leaving the door open for smaller brands and start ups.
- There are effective, efficient and affordable technologies for ecom startups like Shopify, Klaviyo and Custom Social that allow direct-to-consumer companies to launch quickly and effectively. (Check out our post on 3PL providers).
- consumers are in discovery mode - using social media, influencers, etc. consumers are looking for new brands and new products to enhance their lives during these times.
The upside for upstart entrepreneurs getting into the online game.
In a recent interview with Tim Chen, founder and CEO of NerdWallet, he says, “now is the best time ever to build a company”, citing lower ad rates on Google & Facebook, better access to top talent and less competition in your business’ niche area of focus. Chen urges entrepreneurs to think differently when developing new businesses or products, as “the world is not going to be the same when we come out of this pandemic.” (CNBC)
So... what business should you start?
As we start to prepare for our new-normal lives, think about what people really need or want, right now. Consumer behavior is one of the key economic drivers for the economy but we prefer to think of your new potential customers as living and breathing human beings, and not just consumers. What products and services can you provide right now, that address people’s short-term and longer-term needs? People have been isolated and they are lonely, and many of us are nervous or just downright scared. How can you help make it easier for them—to make their lives better—as we all make this collective transition back to some semblance of normal? Think beyond masks, sanitizers and other essential items to more health, wellness and even beauty products that help us to be happier, healthier and more productive.
Key Considerations For Connecting with Consumers
Direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) are often founder-driven and the products behind their why have a history and story. Think about your ‘why’ and what is important to you.
- What’s your passion? - Do you love dogs? Or hiking? Or maybe your life just wouldn’t be the same without tennis? Maybe you have a passion for flowers, and you’ve always thought, how awesome it would be to make large floral bouquets for weddings and events? Time to pursue your passion and not just a good idea for making money. Not that there’s anything wrong with just the pursuit of money, but do something you love— first and foremost—and think differently about how you might help meet those needs of your new potential customers.
- What life experiences can you leverage? - What are good at and uniquely qualified to do? What do you know more about than most of your friends and those in your extended family community? What unusual or unique experiences have you had that make you who you are and help you stand out from a crowd? Whether it's how to work on cars, making great cupcakes or even playing a certain video game, dig deep and think about the things you love and are uniquely qualified to do. Narrowing down your realm of possibilities and getting niche-focused will help you build a great business.
- What solutions are you providing? - This is key. What can you provide for people right now in their time of need? What will help them solve their problems, make their lives easier and make them feel better? Really thinking about the problems we’re facing—not just now, but six, twelve and eighteen months from now—and how you will help guide your customers towards the right solutions to make their lives better.
One thing is for sure—brick and mortar businesses have forever changed. If you’re changing with the times and rethinking what’s possible, including connecting with your new potential customers online, you’re on the right track.
At the end of the day, what humans really need and want is love, now more than ever. How are your goods and services going to provide for more love, happiness and joy in the world? How will you help your new-found customers solve their problems and feel safe and secure. Now is the best time to get started with your new eCommerce venture—good luck!