Like most businesses, Incfile has not been immune to COVID-19, nor the subsequent economic downturn it brought along. However, as unemployment rates continue to rise and confidence in the U.S. government wavers, we see beyond the grim outlook; we see opportunity and we forecast hope.
And not all of the numbers are disheartening. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports only 1 percent of small businesses have permanently closed in the wake of the pandemic, and a whopping 79 percent say they have fully or partially re-opened. At Incfile, we took a direct hit in March when our number of new business owners saw a steep decline. But in April, we quickly adapted to the new normal, and by May, we were seeing a boom in business formation — our highest performing month in the history of our company, with a +30 percent YoY increase.
How did we achieve this? As one of the biggest business formation service providers in the U.S., we caught the opportunity of helping businesses get started on a model that nobody else was looking at. There were to-be entrepreneurs, eager to look beyond the economic scenario, waiting for someone to show them the way to do it right. And as they say, the entrepreneurial spirit, once sparked, can ignite into a flame that cannot be extinguished. Once this fire is lit, even the darkest times are illuminated by the drive to seek out opportunity, take bigger risks and pursue financial freedom. Now, with more than 250,000 founders and small business owners turning to Incfile to help liberate the entrepreneur inside, we are poised to be at the forefront of a new era of business and economic growth.
How Did the Current Situation Pave the Way for Entrepreneurial Liberation?
Out of great disruption comes even greater change. And while transformation can be painful, it is necessary for growth. The pandemic forced us into a metaphorical and literal cocoon. But we broke through pretty significantly. Here are some of the ways Incfile helped entrepreneurs emerge into a brighter business future.
1. Finding Incentive in Upheaval
One of the heartbreaking things about an economic crisis is the impact on the job market. The number of people seeking jobless benefits is on the rise, but for some, the sudden loss of steady work has created an opportunity. For those who were experiencing corporate burnout even before the pandemic, this has offered them a chance to experience being their own boss (and yes, you can start a business while receiving unemployment). We have been working diligently to provide support to business owners during uncertain times by providing resources and information for guidance. From learning how to take a business online in this new era and how to prepare for taxes during COVID, to helping business owners stay connected during a time of social distancing and information on accessing federal loan assistance, we have aimed to reduce panic and provide business owners with the right information.
2. Looking for Growth in Local
In spite of numerous “shop local” campaigns, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have been on the decline for years. You might expect that the pandemic would wipe them out completely, but you’d be underestimating the resilience and adaptability of small business owners. Many of these entrepreneurs are working to grow their service offerings, with delivery or curbside pickup, or launching a digital arm with channel strategies that reach a far larger community. At Incfile, we've helped local owners navigate everything from the ins and outs of operating a family business, to understanding how to go to a cashless model in troubling economic times.
3. Transforming Hobbies to Side Hustles
From Quarantine Coffee to TikTok dance moves, numerous trends have emerged during the current scenario. For those of us feeling trapped in our comfort zones, we’ve looked for new ways to break down barriers and try new things. Some of those new things have evolved into hobbies, even passions, and many of us have found an avenue to business formation through them. We’ve seen customers take their love of making root beer at home and turn it into an ecommerce brand. We’ve helped personal trainers transition to a completely online membership. Where there were just sparks of ideas, we’re seeing innovative businesses launch. This approach is contagious, and if necessity is the mother of invention, boredom is the mother of creativity. We have worked to make our Start a Business guides cover a wide variety of these types of side hustles. These guides contain the research we've done in key areas of different industries for many years and have included the tried and tested methods, helping entrepreneurs know exactly what they need to do to get started.
4. Improving Cut-Through Via Disrupted Supply Chains
The ecommerce space is saturated; it’s true. But it’s not going away. So, what will the future look like for online businesses? With the strain on international relations and trade agreements, the logistical challenges of importing and exporting and the strain on freighting infrastructure, the global supply chain has been compromised, at least temporarily. At Incfile, we educate entrepreneurs on navigating the supply chain to find vendors, acquire goods and get them to their customers as efficiently as possible.
5. Commoditizing Storytelling
We crave authenticity. The cultural, political and social unfoldings of the last few months have shown us this at a high level. On a transactional level, we want to support unique, quirky and custom businesses. And what do they have in common? Authenticity, and they each have a personal story to tell. That's why, beyond planning and launching businesses, we are also dedicated to growing them, through careful and genuine branding and marketing.
How to Take Advantage of Unprecedented Entrepreneurial Growth
There’s a thrifty, tenacious and creative mindset that entrepreneurs employ. It’s the mental toolset applied to problem-solving, starting a business and navigating your way through to success. These qualities are inherent in successful founders and business owners. But just like everyone, they need the right guidance and the best resources and tools, even during the worst of economic conditions.
At Incfile, we fill this gap. We provide the tools and resources small businesses need to launch, grow and thrive. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey or economic situation, we’re here to help — in these uncertain times, and beyond.
When it’s time to take the next step, Incfile is your one-stop shop for business formation. We help you determine what type of business structure or entity fits your needs, file your LLC for $0 and aid you in acquiring any necessary business licenses.
With the current COVID economy, we know it might be an uncertain time to set out on a journey toward entrepreneurial freedom. But we want you to know that we understand what you’re going through. We live and breathe the digital economy, and the pandemic has been our “lightbulb moment” in realizing the opportunity for small business owners to shine. When the market is as unpredictable as it is now, an agile approach is what is needed. We will see the rise of the entrepreneurial online economy, and at the helm will be “the little guy.” It’s about time.