Opportunities and Pitfalls to Starting a Business during a Pandemic!

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If you have ever started a business or contemplated starting one, more than likely you have asked yourself “Where do I begin?”  That is a very common question because there are so many things to consider. 

Tom Byelick, owner of Ingenuity Small Business Collaborative (Ingenuity), shared his insights and experiences of starting a business during the virtual luncheon that South Suburban College – Business and Career Institute and the South Holland Business Association (SBHA) co-hosted on August 5, 2020. (www.ingenuitysbc.biz)

Change yourself and how you think about your business

In addition to Ingenuity, Mr. Byelick has started two other businesses including Pretty Amazing!, a driveway, patio and porch revitalization service.  What’s “pretty amazing” about this is that he did not intend to start a business offering these types of services; he was not an expert at providing these types of services; and he started it during the pandemic when many businesses are struggling to survive.  

Mr. Byelick said starting a business during this uniquely challenging time requires having a willingness to retrain, reflect, plan and press the reset button on where you thought you were headed. Taking these actions will help you see new possibilities and options that you may not otherwise have noticed.  If you are reluctant to take the entrepreneurial leap, Mr. Byelick shared this quote that may spark a shift in your thinking, “You can either go through this crisis or grow through this crisis.”

Watch for pitfalls and traps

Although Mr. Byelick encourages anyone who has considered starting a business to explore the possibility of doing it now, he identified some potential pitfalls and traps that you may face and offered tips for how to avoid them:

Possible Pitfalls

•Loving your business too much

•Lack of focus

•Lack of adherence to the plan

 Avoiding traps

•Get closer to your customer –listen!

•Create a brand of quality

•Invest in the right team

•Focus on revenue

 If you are ready to explore starting a business, you can check out the Small Business Administration’s guide, “10 Steps to Start Your Business.” (www.sba.gov/business-guide/10-steps-start-your-business

Some are going, but they are growing

Amy Todd, the director of the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce and owner of Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders also spoke.  She shared her experience of running an existing business and the process that she and her business partners are undertaking now to open a new business. Ms. Todd readily admits that the pandemic was a consideration when they contemplated whether to convert an old coffee shop into The Pour on Roy wine bar (Lansing); however, she and her partners believe that they can overcome any challenges that they may face. In fact, she noted that some of the COVID-19 restrictions that the state put in place for businesses afforded them additional time to remodel the space and to prepare for their grand opening.  Although the future is unpredictable, Ms. Todd and her business partners look forward to bringing this unique business to the south suburban area.

SHBA thanks ComEd for sponsoring this month’s luncheon.

Author: Cassandra Griffin

Cassandra Griffin has a passion for helping businesses and organizations to enhance their internal and external communication effectiveness and customer service. She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and a Distinguished Toastmasters which augments her natural ability to lead, communicate, and engage with people from diverse backgrounds. She demonstrates these skills and talents when she facilitates events, conducts presentations, and delivers training. Cassandra’s writing portfolio runs the gamut from drafting social media posts, public relations and marketing materials, and newsletter articles to preparing bylaws, policies, and technical reports. She is very active in her community and has served on the Executive Board of the South Holland Business Association and as a liaison for the Village of South Holland’s Economic Development Commission.

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