After Effects Of Covid-19: 10 Entrepreneurial Coping Skills To Learn For 2021

By Michael Baker , Dec 10 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge economic slump globally as markets hit regular lows and oil prices went into negative. For entrepreneurs and starts-ups, things became quite difficult as purchasing power dropped due to unemployment. Consumers had less money to spend and were only buying essential food and household items. In a survey carried out by Goldman Sachs in March, 51 percent of small businesses were under the risk of being shut down within three months. However, as we move towards the next year, things may seem slightly better.

There have been reports that the global economy is on its way to recovery and might bounce back sooner than expected. In the United States, growth is slow due to a severe second wave but businesses and entrepreneurs should remain positive for the future. These are a few coping skills and strategies that might be of help.

1. Transparency And Acknowledgment

As an entrepreneur in these times, transparency in business and customer dealings might be more important than ever. If you openly discuss the ups and downs your business may be facing with the employees and investors, you may be able to increase your chances of survival. Buffer has been the industry leader in transparency and has greatly benefited from it.  According to their practice, entrepreneurs can grow and profit by building trust with honesty and encouraging feedback.

Keith Rabois, who used to be COO at Square and helped build a lot of companies like PayPal and LinkedIn, said, “Ultimately, if you want people to make smart decisions, they need context and all available information. And, certainly, if you want people to make the same decisions that you would make, but in a more scalable way, you have to give them the same information you have.”

2. Adapt, Adapt And Adapt

In 2021, adaptability is the key trait that will help your business grow and succeed. Be it working from home, being flexible and realistic about targets or rebranding to engage more customers, you have to adapt to the changing situation quickly. If you are able to adapt with the new ways of doing business, you might gain an advantage over your competitors and establish a name in the market. In entrepreneurship, it is always a good idea to be prepared for changes and policy shifts. For example, businesses such as Alton Lane who began taking virtual appointments for tailoring clothes were able to keep going successfully.

Whether it is moving operations online or making adjustments to the supply chain, the important thing is your ability to adapt according to the challenge.

3. Focus On The Workforce

For entrepreneurs, now is the best time to focus on and invest in the workforce. Think about it this way. Currently, your employees are your biggest assets and critical to every structure of your remote and physical operation. If you weren’t able to rely on them in these times, your business might have gone into a severe loss. In the upcoming year, try and work towards providing your employees a safe environment and security so they remain motivated. Other than that, help them learn new skills so that they can help the business grow further as well.

In a survey by McKinsey, those employers or business owners who have engaged with their workforce and listened to their needs have seen more progress than those without a response. If it continues afterwards as well, there will be profitable results. The diagram below shows some of the steps that employers can take for their employees.

McKinsey and Company
Image Source: McKinsey & Company

4. Lower Expectations

Sometimes, instead of aiming very high and hoping for the best, it is better to go the opposite way. When you keep your expectations realistic and slightly lower, you can cope up with the ups and downs within the industry without going through any severe losses. As an entrepreneur, your success in the future depends on how you get through disappointments and slumps. By applying this, you can surely increase your chances of survival in a recovering economy.

Even big businessmen like Elon Musk use this strategy when launching a new service or product. When his company introduced the Starlink Satellite Internet Service, they sent out emails to the group of test consumers which clearly said,“Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mbs and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.” This way there were no huge expectations from the beginning and the consumers were able to adjust with it as well.

5. Budget For Long-Term

Basically, you should do your best to plan for at least five to ten years in advance. Where do you see your business going? How do you plan to achieve the set financial goals? If you want to at least break even during uncertain times, you have to come up with a long-term financial plan. This will only happen when there is a decided budget and everyone sticks to it. If you aim to cut down on spending and borrowing, you will have more money saved up for the future.

There are quite a few financial softwares and tools like Xero, Quickbooks and Startup Financial Model available that can help with budgeting. You can take advantage of them to plan well for your business.

6. Stay Connected With Your Network

Your support network of employees, customers and colleagues is and will be of great importance. By connecting with them regularly and asking for help or advice, you can brainstorm and come up with new ideas or plans that could be profitable. If you ask any successful serial entrepreneur, they will tell you how strong and supportive partnerships got them through some bad times.

You can build strong connections through social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and common business forums too. You can even look through organizations that provide assistance or support to entrepreneurs where you can meet people from the community.

7. Avoid Controlling What You Cannot

The current year has probably made you realize that you really cannot control anything, no matter how much you try. As we go into the next one, it is better to keep this mind and focus on things that you can manage easily. When you put your energy into factors that are under your control such as the quality of your products or services, or customer support, you can be more productive.

Mario Peshev of Devri X stated, “Pick your battles.Setbacks are inevitable. The more you keep scaling, the more frequent they get. Instead of stressing over challenges that have a limited impact in the grand scheme of things, focus on the initiatives that will contribute to your company’s success in the long run.”

8. Acquire New Skills

With everything being done remotely this year and all interactions going digital, technological skills have become more critical than ever. You might have noticed that those businesses that did not have an appealing online presence struggled to engage their customers. This is why it’s necessary for all entrepreneurs to keep acquiring new skills such as social media management or web development.

In a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, learning new things can have a highly positive effect on your mind and personality. Carrying out different tasks makes people happy and more satisfied.

9. Show Your Gratitude

According to a report published in a journal by the International Business Research, expressing gratitude is very important in business and can lead to long-term success. As an entrepreneur, you can be grateful to your employees, your customers or supportive network in many ways. Steve Benson, the CEO and Founder of Badger Maps said,“We have an all-hands meeting once a week, and we finish the meeting by ‘giving props’, which is recognizing people on the team for their accomplishments that week. Anyone on the team can give props to anyone else on the team, which fosters an atmosphere of appreciation and teamwork.

This Harvard Business Review Study highlights the ways you can show gratitude during times of crisis. For example, you can encourage your employees to pay their appreciation forward and create a positive environment. Other than that, you can also bring everyone in the company together for a few minutes and encourage them to leave compliments for each other.

10. Be Generous and Socially Responsible

You will see that a lot of young entrepreneurs have and are becoming socially aware and responsible. They are actually bringing a positive change in their communities, environment and on a global level too. If you are in a position to help others or even in cases where it might be difficult, try to find an innovative way. With a generous attitude, you can overcome any challenge or problems in the best way possible and also make an impact within the industry and on the consumers.

There are entrepreneurs who often volunteer at community organizations that focus on teaching children or saving the environment. You can make lifelong partnerships, network and benefit from a positive word of mouth too.

Wrapping Up

As an entrepreneur, your path ahead may not be very smooth but with these coping skills, you will hopefully get to your goals slowly and gradually. The future seems uncertain but in the end, things are going to improve. If you keep looking ahead, your business will reach the set targets and establish a brand name in the market that people are going to recognize.

Entrepreneurial Coping Skills 2021

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Market research nerd with a penchant for graphic design and branding. A digital marketer by profession; a creature of the web by compulsion.


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