Monday, September 21, 2020

Covid-19: A Catalyst for Entrepreneurship


The moment we are in is truly unprecedented. Then again, we’ve been here before. Across the pages of history are chapters written with stories of global upheaval and unexpected crises that forced the world to change its course in unexpected ways. Heroes and villains emerge on both ends. Inefficient ways of living and doing business fade, replaced by new innovations and inventions that change the global landscape.

Every global crisis gives rise to new opportunities for individuals who are bold enough to seize the moment and introduce new solutions for unique problems.

 Consider the global market crash of 2008. While many businesses closed their doors for good and individuals lost their life savings through plunging stock prices, some entrepreneurs rose above the dust and gave the world innovations that are considered commonplace today. Wildly successful companies such as Uber and AirBnB were launched following what many - until 2020 - considered one of the worst economic downturns in history.

 The novel coronavirus pandemic is no different. COVID-19 has a remarkable ability to bring the entire global economic system to a shuddering halt, yet the past few months have shown the resiliency of both humanity and the market. Many businesses are now reemerging from the global shutdown nobody expected - and some are rising up stronger than ever.

 In navigating crisis, businesses have played a vital role in helping communities work their way through the economic rubble caused by global upheaval. At the head of those businesses who shine in emergencies are courageous and bold entrepreneurs who seized the moment and saw the crisis as a catalyst for cultural and market change.

The Power of Pandemics To Shape Innovation

Unfortunately, many businesses and brands have felt the stab of COVID-19’s total economic shutdown. For those who were unable or unwilling to innovate their practices to meet the needs of individuals stuck at home, their death was almost guaranteed as the weeks of shutdown turned into months.

Yet amid the seismic changes in the market, some industries took advantage of the opportunity to get creative with their services to meet the new need. Grocery stores turned to delivery services to send products to consumers through online ordering. Restaurants moved from dining service to curbside and contactless delivery, allowing for greater convenience for consumers and jobs for employees. Distilleries turned their operations into sanitizer manufacturing and carmakers began to build life-saving ventilators.

For entrepreneurs who have an eye on the changing needs of the world, changing their operations to reach a unique need born of crisis can make all the difference. Not only do these businesses see increased relevance in the market, but many begin to thrive as the community responds to their increased service availability.

A Case Study: Digital Education

An entrepreneurial catalyst that has already emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic is the market for digital educational tools. As schools struggle to form reopening policies, education systems are becoming increasingly dependent on technological solutions such as Zoom and Google Hangouts to offer digital classrooms for students.

In answer to the sudden need for digital learning, businesses that offer new innovations in this market have incredible opportunities to shape the industry moving forward. Not only are schools searching for learning apps solutions, but parents are eager to provide their children with entertainment options that encourage positive engagement.

In a similar way, online gaming apps have become a catalyst for entrepreneurial opportunity during COVID-19 as well.

How Will You Take Advantage Of This Entrepreneurial Moment?

After the tidal wave of COVID-19 abates, it will be the strong, bold entrepreneurs who will be given the unique opportunity to direct how the economy recovers, and in what new directions the world moves. As an entrepreneur, how will you respond to the catalyst that the COVID-19 pandemic is offering in this unique moment of an economic restart? Will you implement strategies that you have developed to address the concerns that COVID-19 revealed, or will you return to the same old habits? (Hint: You won’t survive long looking back to the way things used to be!)

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