Business Mentor: Building a startup during a recession

Armando Bartolome

Posted at Jun 06 2020 09:02 AM

A lot of entrepreneurs are wondering if they could survive the COVID-19 crisis. Some tough-thinking and risk-taking entrepreneurs would say that life. Others are pessimistic doubt that they can overcome the financial and emotional turmoil that COVID-19 has created.

Everything happens for a reason. And most of the time, we are left staring blankly, deeply thinking of the why’s and how’s. However, we should not burden ourselves thinking negatively every time we stumble.

Instead of sulking in a corner and feeling sorry for what happened to us, we must strengthen ourselves and think of possible solutions so that we can still enjoy life.

How do you build a startup during a recession?

Is it possible to start a business when other existing businesses are put into halt because of COVID-19? My answer to that is a resounding YES. Why? Because I believe, as the common Filipino saying. “habang may buhay, may pag-asa”.

We are capable of rebuilding our lives and need to take advantage of every opportunity for the sake of our family.

When a catastrophe or a crisis happens in our lives, we need to sit down, think, and ask ourselves what is really happening. We need to see things in the right perspective and realize that these challenges that we are facing are a wake-up call.

No matter how challenging or complicated the circumstances are, we need to trust that these changes can ultimately benefit us. The positive effect of the community quarantine was it helped contain the virus. It has also allowed people to spend more time with their families. People have become more health-conscious. Most importantly, the world has slowly healed itself from pollution.

This situation has forced us to plunge into a “new normal” which means we need to accept change and realize that we need to see that a different way of living is possible, thus gradually, we are able to rebuild ourselves with a better understanding.

Some entrepreneurs have created a new kind of business that would enable them to help not only themselves but as well as others.

Ricel Veneracion started a franchised salon business in 2016. With the success of the lash salon, she thought of branching out the business. However, when COVID-19 emerged and the city was placed under community quarantine, she had no choice but to close the business.

But it did not stop her from looking for other possibilities. She thought of a clever way of bringing a very popular Korean food to people’s homes.

Starting Go Grill Samgyupsal at home was quite a plunge because she was really unsure if it would succeed. It would also be tiring to prepare all the food per order since it is composed of a lot of side dishes that she cooks herself.

But it was a huge hit. From her capital of P100,000, she was earning P60,000 a day. The ROI was just in 2 days! She was truly overwhelmed at how many people were enjoying samgyupsal with their families at home.

Her story is inspiring because with just small capital, she succeeded with her new business in just a matter of days.

Why is it a great time to launch a startup during a recession?
Not everyone would have seen the possibilities. But starting a business during a recession means being able to hire more capable employees with great skills who are are just thankful to have a job. Not that you are being stingy, but you also need to consider other factors like the utilities, the cost of your products, etc.

In reality, there is no good or bad time to start a business, just different challenges depending on the market, business plan, and how prepared are you to take the risks.

Starting a business during challenging times also has advantages like:

•    It is likely that you will start at home, which means lesser employees, minimal overhead
•    Supplies and materials are cost-effective
•    Less competition
•    Since you probably initiated the business during the recession, it is likely that you get a good start over others
Just be wiser in choosing the kind of business to startup.