These are the two words that come to mind when thinking about #covidpivot. See, I am someone who lives and breathes entrepreneurship. I am blessed to work for The Entrepreneurs Center where I get the chance to support entrepreneurs every day. I am also fortunate enough to get to teach entrepreneurship at UD and WSU where I am, hopefully, doing my part to shape the way tomorrow’s entrepreneurs think. And, one onion peel closer to the center, my wife and I are entrepreneurs. This is where my empathy and experience come from when speaking about entrepreneurial resilience.
This pandemic has affected us all…some more than others. There was a day, for many entrepreneurs, where the world slowed to a mere pause, and during that pause there was an immediate reaction to reach for the “O’$h!t” handle and brace for impact. And now, it’s how we proceed after the impact that will reveal our true colors; so, be strong… be resilient. Being on the frontline, I have already heard/seen/supported entrepreneurs who turned this chaos into opportunity, and that is how we should be thinking right now. We should be putting on our optimist hats and opening up lemonade stands because the pandemic has provided plenty of raw material. Let me quickly shed a little light and share how my wife and I are making lemonade during this unusual time.
That pause that I mentioned earlier, for me the day was March 15th. This was the day when Mike DeWine announced the closure of bars and restaurants. So, being a restaurant owner, I knew this was no time to sob but rather a time to #covidpivot. There were a couple things that went through my mind: 1.) how do I reach/engage my customers now? 2.) and what aspects of the business can I strength that will lead to increased revenue and sustainability once the dust settles and operations go back to normal? I wrote these questions down followed by a list of answers and things to execute. And…a month later, we now have tighter, more efficient operations, we deployed new ways to reach customers, new recipes/products, and we were able to shed services and expenses we probably didn’t need. Now we are stronger than we were.
During this ‘stay at home order’, ironically, I’ll be driving to the grocery, or a favorite local restaurant to grab carryout, and I analyze the impact of each small business in every strip mall I pass, thinking of the implications the pandemic has on their business, or how they might #covidpivot. On my wives’ side of house, we own a dance studio. This is a type of business where others would probably think, “man, sucks for them right now”. Our “brace for impact” moment was the day the CDC made the announcement where gatherings of 50 or more people were now prohibited. We had about a day to put together a plan, basically pivot or die. Luckily, Sierra has built a studio filled with great dance families, and she is really good at what she does (it’s true but, yes, brownie points if she reads this). After socializing the possibilities, talking to the dance families, and getting creative, she made the pivot to online dance classes. This has not been easy, ask her, however, it has given the students an outlet in these trying times, it’s added to her technical capabilities, and, well…proven her entrepreneurial resilience.
In closing, the word resilient is defined as a person able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. So, if you are an entrepreneur, I hope you were able to withstand economic injury during these difficult times. And, for those who were more severely affected, be resilient and recover quickly. Use this time to plan, execute, pivot, and build yourself stronger.