- Kimberly Lucht is a business coach who helps women make their first six figures doing what they love.
- During the pandemic, more budding entrepreneurs have decided to finally start their own businesses.
- It can be a great time to get a business started, provided you dodge common pitfalls.
- Ensure you're providing people with the things they need, create a seamless experience, and be sure to add value - and bring some surprise - to a customer experience.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
"I resigned from my job today and, although I'm mildly terrified, I know it's going to lead to even better things. I'm going all in on my business."
That's what one of my coaching clients sent me a few months ago in the midst of a full-blown pandemic. It's a trend I've seen since March: budding entrepreneurs using this time as an opportunity to leave a job that's not aligned anymore then starting a business of their own.
There's also been an upward trend of people using a lay-off as a catapult to get started on their entrepreneurial journey. Take Alexandra Etheridge, for example, who got laid off in July and took it as a sign that it was time to start her plant-based meal prep service:
"In the days following my lay off, I searched for jobs across all industries that interested me, but not a single opening felt like the right fit - or even a good fit. It didn't take me long to figure out that every position I saw was inherently flawed for the same reason: even if the job was a match for my interests or skill set, it wasn't my vision," she told me. "I knew I wanted agency over my own work, from my hours to the projects and clients I take on, and I knew I couldn't have the flexibility I desired as someone's employee."
She's definitely not the only person who feels this way, especially given current circumstances. According to the US Census Bureau, applications to start a business have passed 3.3 million in the first three quarters of 2020 - compared with 2.7 million at the same point in 2019.
As the job market shifts and changes, it's not only the freedom and independence of entrepreneurship that's alluring, but also the security that comes with owning and running your own business. You can't get fired by anyone but yourself!
That being said, during uncertain economic times, entrepreneurs will want to avoid some pitfalls. Here are three keys that new business owners will want to integrate.
1. Create a product or service that people "need to have"
The "gotta have it" factor is crucial in a time where people are a little more hesitant to drop their cash. Remember, however, that wants and needs go way beyond basic essentials like food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Here are some questions to ask yourself so that you can tap into people's desires enough for them to buy your product or service without hesitation.
What would make your offer completely irresistible?
What specific results does your product or service provide that isn't seen elsewhere?
What keeps your ideal client or customer awake at night, and how can you serve that pain point?
People are always buying things that are uniquely useful, distracting, or deeply transformational. As entrepreneurs, we're here to make their lives easier and better so as long as your marketing is centered around results that people actually want, you're good to go.
2. Make the customer's experience seamless and stress-free
If your ideal client or customer is feeling burnt out or fatigued, the last thing they'll want to do is buy or invest in anything overly complicated. Follow this checklist to make sure confusion or complexity won't be a deterrent for potential customers.
Is your product or service description clear and to the point?
Does the customer experience feel seamless? If not, what could be simpler?
When someone buys from you, does it take less than three steps to complete a purchase?
In short, you'll want to make everything from the product description to the check out process simpler than you think it needs to be. A confused customer will almost always say no.
3. Provide massive value
There's nothing that creates a raving fan base more than an element of surprise and delight. If you can add something special and unexpected into orders or services that you render, that's always a plus. Here are a few questions to get you thinking about what that could be.
What's something special I could throw in that wouldn't cost me much time or money?
Is there a hidden desire my customer or client has that I can fulfill easily?
What would absolutely delight my customer or client?
I like to tell my clients to underpromise and overdeliver so that there's never any disappointment, just ecstatic clients and customers. A little goes a long way especially right now so get creative, and find fun ways to set yourself apart.
Starting a business is such a beautiful expression and extension of yourself, and if you've been thinking of doing it for awhile, now could be your time.
As Etheridge said:"I feel fortunate that I was laid off because it gave me the permission I struggled to give myself to mix things up when I felt desperate for greater fulfillment. My decisions have been simplified and my sense of purpose has been amplified since I started my business. I committed to betting on myself while the rest of the world is uncertain."
So if you've gotten laid off or quit your job and have a feeling the "next step" is being your own boss, know that this can be a wonderful time to do so, provided you hold these three keys to heart. You'll probably find that they help your business grow even during normal times.
Kimberly Lucht is a business coach who helps women make their first six figures doing what they love. She's been featured in Money, Well + Good, Greatist, Create & Cultivate, and more. Click here to get her free Six-Figure Business Roadmap.