Don’t Let COVID-19 Destroy Your Entrepreneurial Dreams
“Only the bold reinvent a business when the traditional environment that made them successful has been completely altered.” – Dr. Anthony M. Criniti
Risk assessment is an essential piece of planning for any business. That said, I would bet very few people approach a social or business enterprise with a pandemic on their risk assessment chart. A global pandemic is as unpredictable and potentially detrimental as it gets. It was March 15, 2020, Dow Jones fell 3000 points, and all of my investments were bleeding. My hands were shivering and there were tears in my eyes looking at the Questrade app on my phone. After a stellar six-figure freelancing revenue in 2019 and spending one week in Cozumel, Mexico in February 2020, I was hoping for a better 2020! I had moved my condo mortgage from a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate in early 2019 (as a “risk management” against rising interest rates) – so the three prime rate cuts in March 2020 did not ease my pandemic pain.
How has the pandemic affected entrepreneurs?
COVID-19 has had a definite but still unmeasurable impact on the global economy. Those who are feeling the effects the most are small and medium-sized companies without endless financial safeguards and investors to keep them afloat. But as grim as endless lockdowns and capacity restrictions may have felt for those in affected areas, there may be some positive takeaways from this worldwide learning curve, especially in the sphere of entrepreneurship. As it has never been required before, resilience has become a necessity, alongside a capacity for adaptation and persistent ingenuity.
Fear zone, learning zone, growth zone.
Businesses are crucial for helping society survive an economic crisis and driving the innovation that shapes society post-crisis. A successful entrepreneur operating in the pandemic needs to think outside the box. An open mind and an opportunistic mindset can be a gamechanger. To take advantage of widespread uncertainty, an entrepreneur needs to compartmentalize the surrounding chaos and identify their role within the unpredictability.
An entrepreneur’s outlook is often quite different than others. The average entrepreneur will see a chaotic time (like a pandemic, for example) as a perfect chance to make a move, turning ideas into financial rewards. This can be true in any industry. Of course, specific sectors are doing better now than before the pandemic. Cleaning services, delivery services, liquor stores, online gaming companies, video communications, telehealth, and tutoring services – most business models prioritizing convenience and at-home enjoyment, alongside sanitization and health spheres, are faring well within the global crisis, at least in terms of profit.
There are also new companies being invented or reinvented almost daily. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented ways of thinking, which leads to changes in consumer behavior. Everyone – consumers, business owners, market analysts – is adjusting to a new business model. The move online has uprooted established habits and expectations, replacing them with entirely different methods of communication, advertising, and functioning.
How can you maintain (or build up) your business within pandemic uncertainty?
Consider how your product or service fits into the pandemic lifestyle. The world has changed, and so have the values and priorities of different market segments. Be very conscious of your ethos and the way you’re conducting business. Reputations are strengthened and destroyed during times of crisis. Businesses that can support their customers by helping with shortages or making donations are quite often remembered for their goodwill when the economy bounces out. The same is true for the treatment of employees. A respected and supported team during hard times (and anytime, really) enhances a company’s credibility as an employer.