It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic caught most if not all of us by surprise. The pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the world economy which further crippled our already struggling local economy. We are yet to fathom the full effect of the pandemic but what’s for sure is that the new normal is Business Unusual.
For entrepreneurs, these have been strange times because no one would have ever imagined such a dramatic change in the way we do business. For some, business has been through thick and thin, for others, they are barely just surviving but for some, the pandemic has opened up new opportunities and now they are thriving.
But amidst all the confusion and hopefully once all of this is over and we can pick up where we left off and slowly melt back to our regular lives, entrepreneurs can – [and should!]. learn some valuable lessons from these interesting times. Here are my three most important ones in no particular order:
1. There is an opportunity in every situation (Good, Bad or Ugly).
For an entrepreneur, having the ability to see every situation as an opportunity is critical. An opportunity for growth or to learn something. An opportunity to internalize new insights and an opportunity to make money (as morbid as it may sound given the circumstance currently).
They say “Curiosity killed the cat” but what they don’t tell you is “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” To be honest, the ability to see an opportunity in every situation can be gotten by being curious, always looking back and asking questions. For instance, what have I found that works for me is asking myself: What would a two year old ask, do or say? Or what would my eighty-something year old grandmother ask, do or say? By asking these questions, you break out of your cocoon and start thinking from a different perspective which will make you see things that you would have otherwise missed.
Lesson: Instead of negatively looking at the changes and challenges we are faced with, you should look at the situation with fresh eyes and as an opportunity to innovate. As an entrepreneur, you should learn to always ask questions and try to look at situations from different perspectives.
2. Analyze, Align & Act.
- Analyze: You should start by critically looking at the situation, weighing the options and looking for solutions.
- Align: You should take necessary measures to adjust to the situation both internally and externally.
- Act: Do whatever it takes for your business to adapt.
Lesson: Weigh the options and look for solutions, take necessary measures to adjust and do whatever it takes to make your business adapt and stay afloat.
3. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
If there’s one thing that has been reaffirmed during this pandemic, is, we should always be optimistic but prepare for the worst. Why? Because, optimism is what gives us hope for tomorrow and hope is what gives us the motivation to keep on going. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Lesson: Be optimistic but prepare for hard times as well. Don’t get me wrong, we should definitely expect the best results but all the while being prepared and having contingency plans in case things take a turn for the worst. Just as the scout’s motto states, BE PREPARED!
“Hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”
Watch: (Speech given by Barack Obama after he won a second term as US president)
So there we go. Here are the 3 things I believe we as entrepreneurs should learn from the pandemic:
- There is an opportunity in every situation.
- Analyze, Align & Act.
- Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
A special thanks to, Ivy Wandia, Mark Mutungi & Joyce Nyingi, for taking the time and helping with this one.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I am curious to know what are some of the challenges you have faced and solutions you have come up with.
Which vital lessons have you learnt form this period?
Comment down below and let us get the conversation going.