When I look at entrepreneurship during a crisis, there are three things that immediately stand out to me: Entrepreneurship is all about surviving, adapting, and helping. And what else could you ask for during a crisis?
As we navigate these uncertain times with COVID-19, entrepreneurs are the ones making the big changes that will allow us to get through unscathed. And this isn’t the only time we’ve seen this—it happens time and time again during all types of crises. There is extreme power in entrepreneurship during normal times, but it increases exponentially during times of crisis.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen this in action as entrepreneurs everywhere are stepping up to help people in need and changing their businesses to better suit this rapidly changing environment.
Entrepreneurship is about surviving.
Entrepreneurs have a different way of thinking than the rest of the world. We’re not just focused on generating income—we’re committed to constant growth and we’re willing to risk everything to achieve our goals, which becomes ever more crucial during times of crisis.
These principles of entrepreneurship are great during normal times, but they’re invaluable during extraordinary times like we find ourselves in now. It’s becoming more and more apparent that entrepreneurship will get us through this crisis, as business owners everywhere are working to help those in need and find solutions to the problems we’re facing.
After all, entrepreneurship is about surviving. Business owners are used to being faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and overcoming them time and time again. There are no guarantees in entrepreneurship. You’re setting out on your own with no safety net, no process to follow, and no rules.
And just like there are no guarantees in entrepreneurship, there are no guarantees with this current crisis. There is no guarantee as to what will happen when this is all done, how many people will be affected, and what our world will look like in the next few years.
For most people, this is a terrifying prospect—we’re used to it, and we’re ready to do what we need to survive. That goes not only for our businesses, but for all the people around us. So if there’s one thing we can lend to others right now, it’s that sense of being a survivor. Because we know that no matter what happens or what the crisis is, we’re going to get through it.
I believe this is one of the most beneficial examples of entrepreneurship during a crisis. Our ability to survive as entrepreneurs has set us up for this—and we can use those abilities to help everyone around us get through not only this crisis, but many more in the future.
Entrepreneurship is about adapting.
In times of crisis, we traditionally look to governments and the establishment to help us. We expect the government to provide masks to hospitals, to make sure our frontline workers are well-equipped, and to keep food on the table for people around the world. But we’re starting to see that the government and establishment can only do so much.
The difference between the establishment and entrepreneurship is that the establishment has bureaucracy—and bureaucracy slows things down. The establishment has the right intent, but they’re unable to get things done quickly and effectively. The power of entrepreneurship during a crisis is that we’re able to respond quickly and effectively to whatever comes our way.
Entrepreneurship is all about taking different approaches and finding solutions where others have failed. It’s about going in the back door instead of the front—or even making our own door, in some cases. That’s one of our unique strengths as entrepreneurs, and it’s absolutely crucial to getting through this crisis unscathed.
We can create entirely new products, businesses, or services within a matter of days or weeks. In just a few days, we can accomplish what might take the establishment months or years. Entrepreneurship is agile, while the establishment is the polar opposite. When we look at all the problems we’re currently facing, entrepreneurship can solve all of them—and quickly. In fact, we’re already doing it!
Additionally, one powerful tenet of entrepreneurship is that we’re ready and willing to collaborate. We look at the world with an abundance mindset, so competition means nothing to us. Around the world, we’re seeing entrepreneurs from all walks of life collaborating with each other, their community, and their governments to help those in need. I find it incredibly inspiring, and it’s something you don’t see within governments or the establishment.
Entrepreneurship is about helping.
At Strategic Coach, we’ve been amazed by the number of incredible stories we’ve been told over the past few months that showcase the power of entrepreneurship during a crisis. Our community is stepping up like never before, pivoting and changing their businesses to best help those in need—often with no personal gain. The vast majority of entrepreneurs are not looking to capitalize on this crisis; they just want to help people. And I think that says a lot about the power of entrepreneurship.
One thing we’re seeing is that entrepreneurs everywhere are stepping back and looking at how they can provide additional value to their current customers, prospects, and leads during this time. There are many people out there who are frightened, scared, shocked, and don’t know what to do with this crisis. We are uniquely equipped to help these people by pivoting our businesses and offering whatever value and information they need at this moment.
And because we’re the experts in our niche, we know what they need more than anyone else. It’s important for us to think deeply about what our audience needs right now and then figure out how to package that and give it to them so they can extract the most possible value from it.
We’ve seen our entrepreneurs doing this in many ways, including:
- Holding educational webinars
- Creating community groups to provide support during this crisis
- Releasing products or services for free to help those in need
- Collaborating with other businesses or organizations to provide more value
- Converting in-person events to virtual
- Utilizing their networks for good
- Utilizing their resources to provide assistance for frontline workers
We could write dozens of articles just about what we’re seeing from the Strategic Coach community during this crisis, but that’s for another time. The takeaway here is simple: as entrepreneurs, we have many resources available to us that we can use to help those in need.
We are uniquely equipped for crises just like this. We have vast networks we can draw on, distribution systems we can utilize, social media presences that can provide influence … And everywhere we look, entrepreneurs are using these resources to help people.
Looking for some guidance on how to get through these uncertain times and set your business up to weather any future crises? Check out our “Scary Times” Success Manual.
How we’re seeing entrepreneurs navigate these uncertain times.
In addition to looking at how we can help people, we also need to look at how we can keep our own businesses running smoothly during these uncertain times. As a business owner, you have an obligation to your employees, your customers, and yourself.
As selfless as many entrepreneurs are, we still need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and those close to us. It’s like when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put your mask on before you help others with theirs—we need to take care of ourselves before we start helping others!
As I mentioned previously, one of the tenets of entrepreneurship is being able to quickly pivot and adapt to changing circumstances. Now, more than ever, we need to look at our businesses, recognize the opportunities available to us, and do whatever we can to come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
Here are a few examples of businesses led by Strategic Coach entrepreneurs that have been able to quickly shift and adapt to the current situation:
- A crossfit gym owner pivoting to virtual classes and holding five online classes via Zoom every day. He found that what customers really need right now is a sense of community—so he gave that to them with personal classes (instead of recordings) and is offering far more value than any of his competitors.
- A restaurant changing to takeout-only orders, adding beer and wine sales, and selling groceries for pickup or curbside delivery—all in seven days.
- A company that makes custom wall coverings shifting their production to create face shields, masks, and large screens for hospitals and frontline workers.
- A vacation resort company staggering their visits to include multiple days in between guests, extensive deep cleaning, touchless room entry, telephone checkout, and to-go ordering from their restaurant.
That is entrepreneurship at its finest! These are just a few of the many stories we’ve heard, and there is one clear thread through all of them: No matter what situation you find yourself in with your business, there is always a way to pivot and adapt to these uncertain times.
In many cases, you can do so while helping people and generating more revenue for your business—it’s just a matter of getting creative. (Which is yet another reason why entrepreneurship is so powerful during a crisis!)