It’s no secret that the local St. Louis business landscape (like the rest of the world) looks much different than it did just a few short months ago. The impacts of a global crisis have put many entrepreneurial plans on hold until the future seems more certain, and many businesses are changing their approach and offering different products and services.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, now could actually be the perfect time to start a new St. Louis business. With the right approach, streamlined tools, and strategic partners in place, it’s possible to create a thriving business that’s sustainable now and well into the future
These unprecedented times have left everyone vulnerable to new problems for which businesses aren’t yet providing a solution. Doing some research into these problems will help you shape your new business around the way to solve those pain points in more affordable and reliable ways.
In the current climate, tech and geospatial products are especially important as much of the world becomes more dependent on their remote workforce. Pay close attention to the businesses that haven’t yet pivoted in these areas to adjust their strategy, and use that information to create something new.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a model for growth, you need a plan — there’s no way around it. While you may be tempted to jump right in, and while that may work for now, a business plan allows for a business blueprint that works now and in the months and years ahead. It’s a resource you can depend on regardless of how the economy ebbs and flows.
If you received PPP funding or tapped into other sources of financing for your business, draft up a comprehensive budget that’s in line with your business plan. It’s crucial to understand which parts of your business need more budget allocation than others, and it gives you a clear picture of how much revenue you need to be bringing in to make your new business profitable.
New businesses may be known for having small budgets and equally small overhead, but that could be an advantage for you in the current economy. It can actually help you reduce your cost of goods or services, helping customers looking to cut costs to choose your inexpensive option over some of the competitors that may exist already in the market.
The combination of lower costs and innovative new services can help you create a loyal customer base. Create a relationship now that allows their businesses to survive a crisis and, in turn, they can help spread the news about your new brand through word of mouth and referrals. When the economy begins to recover and you expand your services, you’ll already have a solid customer base to leverage.
One of the unfortunate side effects of an economic downturn is that organizations large and small may be forced to close up shop. For industries that were once overcrowded, this “thinning of the herd” can make room for your new venture. While they’re looking for ways to scale down, you’re just starting out — with low overhead and a reason for customers to switch.
This is another area where market research through online forms and digital tools can help you better understand what you can do to prompt that switch. Take a dive into your field of prospects to find out if their current providers are helping them to weather the crisis, and if not, how your new business can step in to take over.
Once again, all businesses are looking for ways to pad their profit margins — even if it means lowering rates and pricing on services, products, and equipment. Things like office rent and tech tools are less expensive, and that means you have more wiggle room in your budget. There’s also more empty office space available as businesses move to a remote model and cut down on staff.
Shop around for partners who may be offering discounts and room for negotiation on monthly costs. Locking in lower prices now could mean that you have some leeway to continue saving as the economy starts to trend upwards. For office space especially, look for partners that offer the “whole package” — even if you may not need amenities now like parking for a full staff or a high-tech data center, choosing a partner like the Globe Building that offers those amenities will help build a foundation for success.