Despite unprecedented headwinds created by the 2020 pandemic, experts forecast that 2021 will be a stellar year to launch a business. Even before groundbreaking vaccination approvals, a growing body of evidence supported that hopeful outlook.
Pivoting into Prosperity
As contrary as it may seem, business start-ups are already experiencing a boom. According Census Bureau data, in 2020 there was an unexpected surge in applications for new businesses. In fact, they hit the highest level ever recorded. Most of these new enterprises are in the categories of online services and e-commerce, and economists attribute the wild growth in business launches to what they call “creative disruption.” That’s a phenomenon that occurs when a market or industry encounters severe disruption, and business owners and entrepreneurs are forced to pivot into new and different ventures.
E-Commerce on Steroids
Over the past few months, the volume of e-commerce grew by nearly 40%. Any lingering hesitation or resistance among consumers who were slow to adapt to online shopping is gone. Even leading brick and mortar companies have discovered the effectiveness, affordability, and profitability that virtual commerce offers. Online markets are also not limited by geographical distance. Perhaps best of all, technical know-how and costly infrastructure investment is not required. All it takes to launch a competitive brand is the right turnkey technology and a secure, intuitively navigated and integrated payment processing system.
Launch with Proven Best Practices
The COVID-19 crisis is expected to unwind significantly in 2021, but not overnight. New businesses can get a head start by launching with health-conscious protocols in place, such as extra space for social distancing, curbside pickup, home deliveries, and touchless payments. The businesses that thrive will also be those that implement best practices to accelerate collections and shorten the revenue cycle. Electronic invoicing and digital payments, including mobile payments, can speed up collections considerably. Credit card surcharging is also saving start ups significant amounts of net revenue, by reducing credit card processing fees to zero. A new business usually has to pay the highest percentage credit card merchant fees. But a surcharging policy will completely eliminate those fees, which represent one the biggest recurring expenses for startups.
Customer-Focused Problem Solving
Customers will also be hyper-focused on their budgets and income. Businesses that launch in 2021 with products and services to address those financial needs in a client-centric way will be big winners. Traditional sales and marketing approaches should be updated accordingly. Offer a “pay now” button and multiple payment options. Bundle services to increase sales across multiple product lines. Or offer discounted subscription services that involve frictionless, automated recurring payments. Give clients the tools they want and need to manage their finances. A centralized payment portal where they can access all of their past and current transactions and make secure payments from anywhere, 24/7, is another great idea.
The key is to be strategically positioned, with a clear plan backed by appropriate time, money, and labor-saving technologies. Especially important are those that cater to consumer preferences that were triggered by the pandemic, but will remain in big demand in the post-pandemic world. Recent technological innovations have inspired thousands of startups and adaptable business models, across all kinds of industries and professions, to make a strong and permanent pivot into 2021 and beyond.