Starting a Business During COVID-19

Why is an online pharmacy education service writing about helpful ways to start a business?

Because we are in the business of learning and starting a company has been nothing short of a learning experience. These past few months have taught us much about business and ourselves. Coming from a limited business background, we have gained tremendous insight and knowledge in our journey, including developing a business plan and marketing. We want to highlight what resources were vital to our growth to help other aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses.

During these uncertain times, innovation and creativity have become necessary. The economic strain may seem like a barrier to starting a business, but that did not stop us, and neither should it stop you. 

Here are a few low-cost educational resources we utilized while starting Memory Pharm that could help get you started:

Take advantage of your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

One of the best resources we have found was our local SBDC. Our company was founded in Atlanta, GA, and our SBDC referred us to a local mentor. Not only is mentoring free, but also the training courses which have become free until the end of the year (usually $50-75 per course). All services are rendered online since operations have temporarily gone remotely.

The SBDC has been an incredible resource; they paired us with a similar industry mentor that ended up being an excellent fit with our company’s vision and mission. Our mentor provided us with comprehensive materials on how to start a business and market research studies. They have access to databases that usually come at a cost but were made available to us at no charge. The mentor can help you with anything from completing the paperwork required to form your company to connecting you to a member of their network. With our mentor’s guidance, we learned how to strategize our growth and brainstorm ideas for a sustainable business model, saving us time and energy.

The SDBC also provides virtual training courses in subjects offered at no cost until the end of the year 2020, thanks to special funding from the CARES Act. Topics from these courses include how to start a business, online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), tips on developing a content calendar, how to write a business plan, tips on Quickbooks, and much more. You are not solicited for payment information throughout the process of registering and attending these courses. In our experience, all course instructors have been knowledgeable, experienced, and enthusiastic. The SBDC has been and will continue to be an incredibly underrated resource. With the SBDC office’s eventual opening, they plan to offer free office and meeting space for members to use.

Find free and valuable mentoring through SCORE

SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and educational resources for small businesses at no cost. They offer a full library of free content with templates, tips, and other community resources to help you start and grow your business. They also offer free networking events and paid workshops. The workshops are generally $25, but some company-sponsored workshops offer coupon codes.

Meeting our SCORE mentor was vital during the early stages of founding our company. We were initially overwhelmed with all of the bureaucracy and technical details with starting a business. Our mentor guided us through the early stages of starting our business, and weekly sessions with our SCORE mentor helped push us out of the planning process and into implementation.

Need to brush up on the basics of starting a business? Small Business Administration (SBA) Learning is a great start!

The Small Business Administration (SBA) collaborates with local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. The SBA website in itself is a thorough guide on how to start a business. It offers a virtual campus for anyone wanting to learn about business. The courses are module based and require Adobe Flash.

Were these tips helpful? Are there other great resources that you have come across? Please feel free to share and comment.

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