Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

Advice for startups: What you can do during a pandemic

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Chaiarong Prasertthai
Getty | Chaiarong Prasertthai

Related tags startups Innovation Investment Entrepreneurship

This pandemic is causing huge economic uncertainty and that’s scary for any startup but it’s also a once in a lifetime opportunity for health and wellness entrepreneurs to educate and engage with a health-focused and captive online audience.

This is the advice given by Laura Campbell, head of marketing and partnerships at The Centre for Entrepreneurs, the UK’s leading entrepreneurial foundation.

Campbell says that one great positive to come from this is that never before have food and health been more central in consumers’ minds and whilst costs may need to be cut, there is still huge scope for building audiences, perhaps with better success than ever before.

“Although people aren’t wanting to spend money, people have got the time to research and educate themselves about things they’ve never had time for before.

“Everyone is online now so it’s a great time to tap into that. Use this time to educate and build up a customer base so when this is over, they can hit the ground running.”

When it comes to the best ways to communicate online, Campbell suggests Instagram is the place to be.

“Focus on building an Instagram following. Instagram is doing incredibly well at the moment as a result of everyone using their phones more for entertainment and watching people’s live videos and enjoying cook-alongs.

“I would suggest entrepreneurs use this time to be innovative online, put some videos up and actively meet and engage with your audience.”

Sports nutrition brands may well benefit the most from this, Campbell believes, as the lockdown has brought health and exercise to become a key focus and a top priority.

“I do think this will be causing a real polarization in how people choose to use this lockdown. While there will be some who are replacing other joys in life with food indulgences and delicacies and choosing to reduce boredom by eating cakes and ice cream, there are also a lot of people who want to use this extra spare time to make positive changes and they are actively searching online for inspiration on how to eat smart and stay in shape.

“This is a huge opportunity for sports nutrition brands to educate people about nutrition as people have finally got time to listen.”

Campbell says the majority of entrepreneurs turning to The Centre for Entrepreneurs at this time are particularly concerned about lost investment opportunities.

“With the massive lack of security, investors are holding off giving investment they previously promised and they are being much more reluctant to take risks and without that funding startups can’t scale up their businesses.

“So the main questions on startups’ lips are ‘how long is this going to last?, ‘am I still going to be around afterwards?’ and ‘how do I manage cash flow?’”

Campbell suggests small business owners work to slimline their businesses wherever possible, by cutting marketing costs and taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme where necessary.

“Take this time to regroup, put your efforts into areas that you didn’t previously have time for – like branding and marketing ideas.”

But she advises entrepreneurs not to lose hope as this is only temporary and possibilities for the future are perhaps even better than before.

"Bear in mind, this pandemic will end. Once we are let out, the public demand for things restricted in the Coronavirus outbreak will increase exponentially.

“Stay positive and focus on getting your business branding and internal systems ready to scale up and reap the benefits of the opportunities that will come."




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