Aaron Agius is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning global marketing agency Louder.Online.
A global pandemic is anything but fun. Covid-19 has not just shut down businesses but has taken millions of lives. And yet we entrepreneurs are a strange bunch. Even in bleak situations, we find a way to use the experience to make us stronger. With that said, let’s look at some key lessons entrepreneurs can learn from surviving a global pandemic.
Humans have an innate ego—a sense of pride that sometimes tricks us into thinking we can control our environment. Sure, the human race has catapulted to the top of the “pyramid.” But there are forces much larger than any one person can contend with.
Natural and economic forces take on a life of their own. As the coronavirus pandemic has proven, even the most successful and prepared individuals can be outmatched when facing a global catastrophe.
This is a useful lesson because business is simply a microcosm of the world at large. To be successful, entrepreneurs must learn to focus on what they can control. Because let’s face it, the vast majority of the globe consists of things we can’t control.
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There’s no getting around it—the pandemic has had disastrous effects on the lives of billions. And it’s certainly not over. However, as with any event in life, it is temporary.
When you’re in the middle of a crisis, it’s hard to think about the future. But when it lasts as long as this pandemic has, there is a “bright side,” per se. The ability to think about the long term is a decisive advantage for entrepreneurs. Instead of looking to build wealth and freedom overnight, you must look three, five, seven or 20 years into the future.
Great teams, cultures and products take years to develop. When times are tough—and they certainly are for almost everyone—remember the saying: “This too shall pass.” And then start planning your next stage. Your renaissance. The new life you want to create, even when the sky around you is falling.
Giving thanks is an important lesson to learn for any entrepreneur. First of all, it’s much easier to count your blessings than it is to count all of the things you don’t have. Plus, it’s been proven that gratitude actually makes you happier. And what entrepreneur wouldn’t take the chance to be happier?
But also think of it this way: Without gratitude, you will never be satisfied. There is always more money to be made. There are always more products to create. This global pandemic gives us the opportunity to appreciate what we are lucky to have in our lives. Because, unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed past today.
When the economy is booming, it’s easy to lose sight of your spending habits. A few splurges over here, an unnecessary trip over there, and eventually it starts to add up. Of course, when you’re experiencing an abundance of new money flowing into your business, this isn’t such a big deal. However, the global pandemic brought the economy to a screeching halt. Now, record inflation and supply chain issues are causing entrepreneurs to tighten their belts even more.
So, what could possibly be great about this? The lesson of thrift, that’s what. When you practice financial discipline, it will get you ahead in the hard times. And even more importantly, it could be your only safety net in the downtimes.
One thing we’ve learned through this pandemic is that a record economic boom can turn into a record economic decline in a matter of months. Those aren’t fun things to think about. But as a business owner, it’s your job to prepare for them anyway.
Using Dissatisfaction As A Tool
During the start of the pandemic, the number of people who wanted to start their own business because of dissatisfaction with the corporate world grew by 27%.
Why is that a beautiful thing? Because the lesson is this: Great things are accomplished when people are dissatisfied. Entrepreneurs wouldn’t be able to push through the tough times if their dreams and goals weren’t big enough.
So use the dissatisfaction you have from this pandemic. Draw a line in the sand and make a promise that from now on, you will do whatever it takes to have freedom. That’s ultimately what having your own business provides—choices to live life on your own terms.
In 100 years, people will still be talking about this pandemic. And yet, if you are lucky enough to make it through this, you can accomplish anything. The feeling of confidence that you should have after facing the ups and downs of this pandemic is immense. Own your renewed sense of self-esteem. When you face new challenges, remember what you’ve already gone through to arrive at this point. And use that to take action decisively and fearlessly.
There’s no doubt about it, money is not the most important thing in the world. When people lose their health, lives or loved ones, it puts things in perspective. Entrepreneurs must have empathy for their customers and their market. If they don’t, they can’t serve them at the highest level and grow over the long term.
This pandemic should be a learning opportunity for every business person. The lesson is this: Empathy is important. Because you never know when you’re the next person who needs a shoulder to lean on.
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Author: Aaron Agius, Forbes Councils Member