The Failed-Start-Up Club Sieve: Is Your COVID-19 Idea is a Viable Business?

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Though those words may sound like a lesson taken from the Bible’s David and Goliath story, they sure are current and very much applicable these days. That sure rings a bell during the pandemic when businesses are falling like piles of dominoes. It may not be the end of the world when you file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But that can surely mean you’re in a bind.

Certainly, there are many businesses that we can consider as current members of the failed-start-up club. Thousands of these businesses which have closed for good are small businesses. Many are big names that file for a reprieve in the form of bankruptcy. We have names such as Ascena Retail (e.g., Ann Taylor) which has closed 1,600 of its 2,800 stores nationwide, courtesy of the virus. Then, there’s GNC, the 1935-founded supplement company with products you usually find in various gyms all over the country.

Now, you might want to poke your fingers into business these days. And we would applaud you especially if you have a brilliant COVID-19 suitable solution. However, to assure you greater success,  allow us to evaluate your idea before you put a herculean effort into it. Run it through the criteria below which should act as your business sieve.

Is it a long-term solution?

There’s a tendency for us to focus on the problem that we have right now. COVID-19 is such an earth-shattering reality it has upended everything we know and hold dear, from business to religion to sports. It’s true that the pandemic has magnified society’s loopholes.

Take, for instance, healthcare. Not until the virus did we know that the bed capacity of our hospitals is lower in America compared to other developed nations. The virus made that poignantly clear.

However, there’s a business trap waiting for you if you choose to start an enterprise these days. And that involves your solution. Think about it. Is your COVID-19 solution long-term? When the virus is gone, will you still have a market?

A glorious example is the business of masks. The PPE is currently crucial today; but will it be a long-term solution down the road? Let’s say three to five years from now. On the other hand, medical supplies may fare better, even after the pandemic.

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Are you dealing with a long-term market?

You need to do market-wide due diligence. Study your market. Will your solution appeal to a large number of people? Before the pandemic, CB Insights released a study detailing top reasons why new start-ups fail. The #1 reason is the lack of market demand.

So take a page from that study. Look into your target crowd. Even the best and the brightest fall to the trap of lack of careful planning. Often, you could be focused on your technological breakthrough but not the market. Make sure your product has a wide market so you can succeed greatly.

Take the rise in logistics companies these days. No doubt, Amazon became the #1 retailer on the planet replacing brick-and-mortar retail giants such as Walmart during the pandemic. All that has driven the demand for warehouses like never before.

With a global reach, Amazon and a host of online retailers are looking to expand their storage space a.k.a. warehouse space.  That could be your cue.

Of course, if you go into warehousing, you will have to build fast yet strong structures. Metal buildings could be a top prospect for you. In which case, getting in touch with a top-notch metal fabrication company should be a good start.

Can you pivot proactively?

Now, in a perfect world, the business could go on as you planned. But we live in an imperfect world and more often than not you will have to adjust to the call of the times.

So, if your business idea may not cater to a post-COVID market that much, then you may have to pivot. Can you think of ways that you can adjust your business to stay on track? Is there a way for you to stay afloat while waiting for the big break?

For instance, a company has been selling translation services to hospitals in the U.S. catering to the Spanish-speaking market in the country. But the bigger goal is to target the near half-a-billion Spanish-speaking market worldwide.

That should tell you above and beyond, having a business plan is a top priority. Like everything else in life, chance favors those who have a prepared mind. Add tons of hard work and you should be on your way to success in no time.