The coronavirus pandemic suddenly and dramatically changed the entrepreneurial landscape around the world. However, many entrepreneurs thrive in times of great change and uncertainty because of the newfound need for innovation.
Historically, pandemics have driven incredible innovation and progress. For example, the Black Death of the Middle Ages forced Europeans to reassess their medical practices and led to modern medicine being rooted in science rather than religion.
Similarly, the onset of the COVID-19 crisis has spurred innovation and progress, with many companies introducing artificial intelligence and other smart technologies to combat the virus.
Even entrepreneurs who reacted quickly to the pandemic to introduce new technologies will face many internal hurdles to keep their companies afloat. During challenging and unpredictable times like a pandemic, companies need to adapt quickly, and entrepreneurs must figure out how they can effectively support their teams to keep everyone productive.
Many entrepreneurs will need to grapple with internal pressure and cultural barriers to keep their companies profitable in the months to come. Some tips entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they adapt to a new, uncertain environment include:
1. Focus on a single problem at a time.
As an entrepreneur, you will suddenly find an overwhelming number of problems on your plate during times of crisis. These problems can be both internal and external. Your reflex may be to address each situation as it arises, but you may find yourself burning out as you attempt to juggle each problem at once. Plus, dividing your attention means that no one problem gets the focus it needs to find a sustainable solution.
Entrepreneurs need to prioritize and delegate effectively to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and that everything gets addressed promptly. When it comes to adapting to a new market, you should focus on making one significant change rather than many small ones. Focus is extremely important for effecting meaningful change.
2. Accept that there is a new normal.
The world has changed dramatically in 2020, and entrepreneurs need to reconcile their old way of thinking with the new normal. Too often, entrepreneurs become so focused on maintaining the status quo that they fail to realize it has changed.
Rather than continue to push things back to how they used to be, you should spend some time listening to your customers’ ideas and feedback. The core issues that arise in these conversations point to the new normal, as well as the issues that have arisen as a result. Addressing these issues is a much more effective expenditure of energy than working on old problems that have already been forgotten. Flexibility and adaptability are extremely important for entrepreneurs in these unprecedented times.
3. Deploy solutions as quickly as possible.
During times of crisis, you will need to implement changes very quickly. After all, an innovative product or service will likely lose its lead over the competition if it is slow to hit the market. For many entrepreneurs, bringing their new ideas to market in a timely fashion will mean creating completely new processes. Internal bureaucracy creates many speedbumps when it comes to bringing new ideas to the market, so you will need to focus on how you can address these issues while continuing to guarantee the safety and efficacy of new products and services. Deploying solutions quickly does not mean skimping on quality control practices but instead figuring out the bureaucratic and unnecessary steps that can be bypassed.
4. Build personal and organizational resiliency.
For your business to survive the pandemic, you must be resilient. Importantly, rather than an intrinsic quality, resiliency is something that must be practiced.
You should first focus on yourself and create a routine that provides an effective outlet for negativity so that you can focus on the issues at hand. During a pandemic, it can be difficult not to become reactive rather than proactive, but resiliency is the key.
With practiced resiliency, you can remember to pause before taking action to make sure you are making the best decision. Once you feel comfortable with your resiliency, you can start addressing that of your company. Organizational resiliency helps keep insecurities about the state of the world at bay, which can discourage reactionary behavior.
5. Think about how to help people in need.
Social entrepreneurship is growing in popularity across the globe. A pandemic is a perfect time for entrepreneurs to ask themselves how their work can be used to benefit people in need. In other words, you should figure out how your solutions to new problems will not just make money but also address some of the social issues that have arisen since the start of the pandemic.
Improving access to health care, education, sanitation, and energy have long been major challenges, but these problems take on more gravity in the setting of a pandemic. Not only does addressing these issues earn customers’ respect and admiration, but it makes a meaningful impact on a world that is in a state of panic.