learn more about the niagara falls ryerson innovation hub
June 18, 2020
Will your business survive COVID-19? Take the test to find out.

It’s been about two months since a Pandemic spread across the world, changing the way we do business. We’ve identified key indicators to a business’s survivability with tips to pass this test if you’re not there yet.

It’s been about two months since a Pandemic spread across the world, changing the way we do business. While some have been able to thrive, others are desperately waiting for government restrictions to completely lift to salvage what remains of their venture. At Spark Niagara, we’ve been working overtime to help entrepreneurs keep their spirits up, along with a strategy to keep their businesses above water. We’ve identified key indicators to a business’s survivability with tips to pass this test if you’re not there yet.

Have you mastered social media marketing?

Updating your social feeds might have been on the back burner of priorities for your business, but it’s time to move them to the front. Experts estimate that the average person’s screen time has increased in ranges of 70% to 500% since the lockdown, because it’s our main method of interacting with friends, news and brands. This means that not only is your online presence critical, but high-quality content of posts, images and videos are needed to stand out and communicate with your customers.

2. Do you offer your products and services virtually?

This one should be a no-brainer. However, for businesses who relied on customers walking into a shop to make a purchase prior to COVID-19, finding an e-commerce platform is essential to facilitate cash flow during quarantine. While there are large corporate sites like Shopify and local Niagara services like CanShopLocal, you’ll need to decide which pricing system works best for you. For example, if you plan on selling high volumes of products or services, paying a flat monthly fee at Shopify might allow you to make more profit. However, if your volume is lower, paying a percentage of the purchases to CanShopLocal might be a better fit.

3. Are you listening to your customers?

What your loyal customers needed from your business before the Pandemic has likely shifted now. Now is the time to engage with them via Instagram livestreams, live polls and email marketing to understand how they’ll behave moving forward, and how you need to adapt to keep their business. But don’t just post, reply to the comments and engage in others’ posts.

“Keeping consistent communication and investment in the customers who invest in you will pay off in the immediate and long run.”

4. Have you seized government and other financial support opportunities?

Those of us in Canada are fortunate to have a generous CERB/ CEWS program to support individuals and business owners during COVID-19; however for small businesses, things are still financially tight. Take the time to explore local and federal business loan programs to help get your business through these tough times like the Business Development Bank of Canada, Government of Canada Small Business Loan Program, and those from your own personal bank.

If accepting a loan isn’t the best option for you, and even if it is, take the time to create a three month financial plan for your business. Speak to who you need to pay in the next few months and explore options to spread out the costs. Take a look at your personal finances and speak to people you may support to have a realistic discussion on how to control your personal spending for the next three months. What costs are necessary, what can be put on hold? Where can you cut costs? While this should be a last measure to savings, consider having a conversation around possibly putting a freeze on hiring full-time employees, working on a project basis with freelancers, downsizing your office, or using a co working space to have more affordable and flexible payment terms (such as Spark Niagara ;)

Now for the tough part. For this test, you need to ace 100% of these indicators for your business to thrive and come back to the “new normal.” However, don’t stress, these aren’t skills, traits and responsibilities that you can’t take on. And if you’re still looking for a boost from a professional, reach out to us. We’ll talk about your options to join Spark Niagara, attend our free virtual webinars and networking events on Fridays. Follow us below to learn more!

Frequently asked questions
What does my membership get me?

Our memberships are all-inclusive pricing which means W.I.F.I, Utilities, Janitorial service, coffee and many other amenities are included. They start at 3 months! Memberships also offer business services including business coaching, perks and discounts, access to Spark’s Member Portal, events and workshops, and much more!

How long can I have a membership for?

Unlike many other incubators, Spark is here for you in the long run. You're welcome to participate in our entrepreneurial community as long as you'd like.

How is Spark connected to Ryerson University?

We work with Ryerson University and the City of Niagara Falls on the Niagara Falls Ryerson Innovation Hub. This initiative is for tech-based startups in or looking to move to Niagara Falls, Canada to grow and scale their business.

Will Spark invest in my company?

We are happy to help provide guidance on the necessary steps towards receiving external investments. That being said, we will not invest in your business nor are we affiliated as partners in your business.

I am a part of another incubator, can I still join Spark?

Spark stands by the mission of building our future with collective impact. We accept entrepreneurs whether they are affiliated with another incubator or not. We aspire to bring together the best talent in Niagara regardless of background.

Do you have a free trial?

We offer a free 7 day trial for serious applicants only.

We're ready to grow your business
Ready to join us yet?
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