2020 has been quite an overwhelming year to say the least. From rampant bushfires across Australia, to a global pandemic that is going to shift the entire future of the world and humanity. Aside from those infected, small businesses are suffering the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many being forced to close their doors, the unpredictability of this pandemic has made one thing certain: that many more small businesses are bound to follow suit. With crisis, however, comes opportunity. Times of chaos are often when few people capitalise and make a lot of money, as there is always a new opportunity that emerges. Being adaptable to whatever is thrown our way is perhaps going to be our biggest asset over the coming years, as now more than ever, we really don’t know what’s coming next.
With the enormous changes and the current redundancy of brick and mortar workplaces, adaptability becomes of critical importance whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner, or an employee. Humans by nature are not particularly receptive to change, which is a major setback in a fast-paced world. With so many industries going out of business, how do we ensure that we stay ahead of the curve? We adapt.
Owning an Australia-wide events company, I had to force myself to pivot and adjust when the pandemic came to our shores. Seeing the severe lockdowns implemented in countries that were first to be impacted by the pandemic, it seemed inevitable that events were likely to be put on hold when COVID-19 hit Australia’s shores. Enabled by my mentor’s foresight and guidance, I was quickly able to adapt and create a new business venture, which has thrived over the past few months. If I’m being honest, its success has profoundly exceeded my highest expectations. I’m positive that they key to my success here is because I possessed the ability to adapt my skills from one industry to another. I’m certainly not alone here, as the world has seen the success of multiple entrepreneurs who have done the same many times. Over the years we’ve seen brick and mortar industries becoming increasingly obsolete, paving the way towards a digital future and leaving those who aren’t willing to adapt behind.
COVID-19 has revealed those who are able to adapt and move fast, and those that can’t. Take, for example, consulting companies with face to face clients: they have all had to learn to deliver their services digitally. Restaurants that were no longer allowed to have customers: they developed an online system for orders and contactless delivery. The most important thing as an entrepreneur is the ability to adapt, as we are always going to be faced with problems. It’s how we respond to these problems, however, that sets us apart. Those who adapt, and do so quickly, are the ones who will get ahead. Those who don’t simply won’t survive.
No One Is Exempt
Even as an employee, adaptability is important. No longer able to work in office environments, many have transitioned to working at home, bringing forth another uphill battle. When there’s a TV, a cupboard full of food, endless distractions and no boss watching over your shoulder, many people simply won’t get much done. The employees who aren’t able to create an office environment within their homes, and believe their employers won’t be able to tell if they’re slacking off, won’t stand a chance. The pandemic has caused a lot of companies to shift and reflect more upon implementing working remotely in the future, and those who can’t adapt to thriving and delivering the same quality of work from home may soon find themselves looking for work elsewhere.
I recently read a book called ‘Art Of Resilience’ by Ross Edgley, a British athlete who decided to swim around the whole of Great Britain. He swam 1800 miles in 157 days, swimming 12 hours per day, and not taking a single day off. Ross attributes resilience to his ability to achieve a feat that no man dreamed possible. Staying at home for a couple of months pales in comparison to Ross Edgley’s Great British Swim, however one thing we can all take away from this is resilience. We’ve faced adversity throughout the entirety of human history, and it is usually the fittest and the mentally strong who survive. By constantly working on ourselves through good times or bad, we become stronger, adaptable and more resilient to whatever challenge we may face next.
It’s commonly said that success happens when opportunity meets preparation. As an entrepreneur, the skills I learned from one business enabled me to quickly pivot to another, achieving relative success in quite a short time frame. The fundamentals of many businesses are the same; how to manage a leads list, how to make a sales call, how to brand yourself and market your products. Like many before them, those who are experienced in business will know exactly how to transfer those skills into a new venture. This emphasises the importance of constantly evolving our skill-sets. Without improvement and progress, we face the potential of falling back into the hamster wheel like so much of our competition.
There’s no doubt we’ve seen enormous changes recently. It’s unclear how long they will last – or what normal will look like post-COVID. Being adaptable to any situation is a fundamental skill that begins with shifting our mindset toward change. Learning how to become prepared for whatever comes next will be what sets us apart, and ensures that we thrive no matter what ventures we pursue.