8 minute read

The coronavirus curve is starting to flatten in most countries, but now we are feeling the financial effects. The crisis is hitting hard on several SMB categories with massive business slow down and even shut down. Even with partial or full return to business, it is apparent that this crisis will have long term effects, especially on employment rates. Many of the businesses who will make it through the crisis will not take all of their fired or furloughed employees back. People will have to look for new jobs. Some will find new employment, but for many others, this just might be the push they need to make a lifelong dream come true and become their own boss. They will turn into entrepreneurs or solopreneurs and open their own business.

We call them – The New Entrepreneurs.

Some of them might continue in their own profession, as lawyers, engineers etc., only as self-employed. Others might experience a change in career. For many, a career change will become a necessity. We already know that high end categories will narrow down, and industries that are heavily challenged – the
wedding industry
, travel industry, live concerts, etc. – will suffer dramatically. People working in those industries might need to rethink their career path. This may be a frightening prospect, but for many, this situation is actually a push in the right direction. Especially if people are smart about it and open businesses in rising categories.  

If we look at previous crises – although very different from the current one – one can find a silver lining to this cloud. During a major crisis, many SMBs close, but after a while, there is a spike in the opening of new businesses. Learning from the financial crisis of 2008, one might be able to find similarities to the present situation. Just like now, that crisis hit SMBs hard. But according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, most negative effects were reversed in the following decade.

Right now, we are at the beginning of a new reality in which many new businesses will arise. And new businesses mean big opportunities for providers of digital solutions for SMBs.

And it is not only necessity that will push individuals to open new businesses – it is also the business environment. Though the economy is not yet back on its feet, these are actually great times to become an entrepreneur. Many of the costs involved in setting up and operating a business – office space, human resources, car lease, etc. – are cheaper at the moment. A new business might find that many of its would-be competitors have closed their businesses during the crisis. As a new entrepreneur, starting from scratch, one is focused on the living-with-coronavirus needs and modes of operation. The new coronavirus entrepreneurs are better prepared for these times than veteran business owners! They do not have to adapt to the new situation, because they are born into it. They are unburdened by the constraints of pre-coronavirus businesses, such as lack of digital presence or having to pay for a big office or retail space, when it is clear that physical consumer traffic is dramatically reduced. Adding to which, hiring staff will be much cheaper, as will equipment and many services. In some countries, governments will encourage new businesses with loans, grants and easier regulation – in some they already are. For those who are able – the time to open a business is now…

Based on experience, many people will turn from being employees into being self-employed entrepreneurs or solopreneurs. And this is exactly where you come in and where we come in. All these new business owners will need digital presence and tools to open, build and grow their business.

As operators, where will you find these new entrepreneurs and make them your new customers?

  • Follow the new business journey: Where do entrepreneurs go to when they want to open a business? Where do they get funding from? What does regulation require? Can you make yourself available at these crossroads?
  • Social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Groups and communities for entrepreneurs starting a business. You can also search for relevant SM groups by business category.
  • Crowdfunding platforms with relevant categories helping businesses to start up.
  • The Small Business Administration or any other government agencies that provide support, licenses and permits to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Professional organizations, trade unions etc. Collaborating with them can give you access and leverage to a mass of new businesses.
  • And most importantly – advertise! Use every media to let new entrepreneurs know that you have specifically tailored solutions for them. Make sure every new SMB or entrepreneur knows you are there for their digital presence, custom fit especially for people starting up on their own.  

The new SMBs and solopreneurs that will arise from the COVID-19 crisis, will probably start their business venture with little capital, having already used up some of their savings since they first lost their jobs. As operators, you need to provide them with digital solutions that fit their new businesses and their budget – small as it may be.

As we learned from past financial crises – every crisis brings new opportunities. As the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the job market, new SMBs and new entrepreneurs will be born. This is the time to find them and make their new journey easier with the help of new digital solutions.

Title photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash