By Curtis Bailey, Business Development Director at TechNET IT Recruitment, explores the challenges faced by entrepreneurs following Covid-19, and suggests ways in which some entrepreneurs will be able to leverage these changes for future business success.
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a profoundly negative impact on business the world over. Recent analysis by the Institute for Employment expects announcements of nearly half a million UK redundancies this autumn. The job market is in turmoil, many small businesses will not last the winter, and people are less willing to take business risks. Most businesses have downsized and moved to strategies of survival rather than growth.
Conversely, some savvy entrepreneurs have used the extra downtime to get their own projects off the ground. Many entrepreneurs have either left their roles during the crisis or reassessed their own career priorities in the wake of it, moving into freelance positions on the verge of beginning their own businesses.
The rise in home working is likely to promote a skills and knowledge driven economy, and so entrepreneurs are at a distinct advantage when it comes to growing their businesses beyond the constraints of geography. Entrepreneurs who are guilty of taking on too much will now be free to outsource to exterior workforces, allowing them to refocus on the core principles and objectives needed to grow their business. This, combined with access to an increasingly growing skills pool of freelancers following Covid-19 redundancies, can only be beneficial to 2020’s entrepreneurs.
The move to a home-based workforce will have further benefits, as a more digitally focused world means more opportunities for entrepreneurs to automate processes, saving them valuable time to focus on other areas of the businesses. Technologically proficient entrepreneurs able to find clever solutions for managing contacts or data will stand to get ahead despite the pandemic’s impact.
Going one step further, some entrepreneurs will be able to use the pandemic’s impact as a genesis for further innovation. Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on the world’s landscape, leading to changing practices and processes on both a consumer and business-led level. This creates a fertile new market for innovation.
Take Andrew and Rachel Montague, an Edinburgh based couple who were able to make more than £30 million with a well-timed ethical hand sanitiser launched in March this year. Find a problem or market need which needs addressing and look for creative solutions. But remain aware of the market, and assess whether your product or service is a short-term or long-term solution – will there still be a passion for this product once the pandemic is under control? Have a game plan to account for this, and don’t be afraid to pivot depending on business needs.
Finally, entrepreneurs should take on board the human-cost of the pandemic and bring empathy to the forefront of their endeavours. The media discourse has hinged on how companies have been treating their employees throughout the crisis, and health – both physical and mental – is at the forefront now. Leadership in the pandemic is about handling stress, and the stress of your team. Entrepreneurs who focus on people first, and build employee empathy into their campaigns, stand the best chance of growing in the post-Covid 19.