Post pandemic entrepreneurship and work culture
In the pre-pandemic world, most businesses were dependent on face-to-face contact, clinging to ideas and conventions long held to be true.
But the lockdowns disrupted the business landscape. The most vulnerable ones turned out to be micro, small and medium enterprises, which suffered losses and faced liquidity issues. Some were slow to react and found it hard to adapt immediately to the shift to online channels, while some had to lay off employees and shut down operations.
In contrast, there were organizations that showed resilience and agility, adapting to emerging trends and changing consumer behavior, and successfully coping amidst the crisis. Financial literacy, cost optimization, and flexibility in technology adoption proved to be invaluable.
We saw an abrupt migration of societal and economic activities into digital platforms, including digital entrepreneurship. Companies, big and small, had to come up with digital strategies or accelerate existing plans. After all, the goal of a business is to adapt to whatever operating environment it finds itself in. For those with disrupted businesses, you must be agile, as there is no going back to the pre-pandemic world we were used to.
Now, as we look at the aftermath of the pandemic, many businesses have closed, but new ones emerged in their place.
My advice to you: Be bold, take risks, and have the courage to act on your ideas.
The virus destroyed a lot of value, drove some products and services into obsolescence, and brought a lot of problems. But this is where innovation is born, when entrepreneurs solve a problem by taking advantage of opportunities. By nurturing creativity, we renew products and services; applying new ideas and processes and introducing new techniques, therefore creating value, once more.
Being an entrepreneur is a difficult task. It requires you to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions for your organization to survive. The ability to innovate proved essential in this difficult operating environment. If an organization does not innovate, it will be left behind and lose its customers.
As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a surge in entrepreneurial activities. Many individuals left their nine-to-five jobs, voluntarily or involuntarily, and found the courage to put up new ventures.
They embody the spirit of entrepreneurship: anticipating the growing needs of a community or solving a problem by replacing the old and outdated. They bring ideas to life, offering them to the market and making a profit at the same time.
Entrepreneurship may be a scary and risky approach to making a living, but it can yield great rewards and lasting fulfillment.
So, take heart, identify gaps in the market, and find opportunities in this pandemic-induced economic disruption.
The Era of Disruptors
We are seeing the birth of new business opportunities, with many retailers pivoting from their traditional brick-and-mortar stores to establishing an omnichannel presence, with online shopping, live selling, personal shoppers, and call-to-deliver options.
When the government prohibited indoor dining, restaurants delivered frozen food packages to their loyal customers. They also veered away from capital-intensive physical stores and put up ghost kitchens, while converting restaurant spaces into al fresco dining.
The pandemic boosted food aggregators like GrabFood and FoodPanda, and brought employment opportunities for riders and delivery men. Forms of digital payments proliferated such as Gcash and PayMaya, and led to the rising adoption of online banking and fund transfers.
There is a growing trend focused on health and fitness, online education, and new software solutions. Meanwhile, work-from-home setups created alternative and inclusive sources of income, as Filipino professionals shifted from office work to online freelancing.
Diskarte Amid Limited Resources
In this context, I also acknowledge that you may be dealing with limited resources, especially at a time of rising inflation and supply chain bottlenecks.
This is another challenge for the entrepreneur: starting a business while making do with what is available and utilizing labor and capital in the most efficient way possible.
It is advisable to review your supply chain and pinpoint potential weaknesses, especially logistics issues. Figure out alternatives, diversify your sources, and secure your inventory for the near future.
There is a silver lining in all of these – the digital revolution.
The Internet lessened the barriers to entry, cut down startup costs, sped up processes and made them more convenient while boosting productivity.
Taking advantage of technological innovation and analytics tools can equip you with the right strategies, and help your company expand into different market segments.
Maximize Technology to Boost Stakeholder Satisfaction
In this time of crisis, it is essential to remain transparent with your stakeholders. Communicate proactively with your employees to reassure them and ensure seamless operations.
Be honest with your customers as they are the heart of your business. Maximize online communication channels to reach out to them, such as instant messaging, social media channels, and product feedback and rating systems.
Take their pulse through surveys and recognize that they are also adapting to the problems caused by the virus.
The Future After the Pandemic
Now that mobility restrictions have eased and people are starting to leave their homes, you may wonder if the newfound opportunities will be gone.
But I believe that consumers will not go back to all their pre-pandemic behaviors. For example, online shopping and online deliveries are here to stay as shoppers already got used to the convenience of online shopping and deliveries.
In addition, more opportunities keep on cropping up as people are eager to socialize in person and there is pent-up demand to spend and travel.
In my view, the post-pandemic generation of entrepreneurs are more fortunate compared to us traditional entrepreneurs.
Nowadays, you enjoy more flexibility over how, when, and where you work. You can have a virtual office, and your employees do not have to be physically situated together. It is also more meritocratic as anyone can run a business with just a laptop, as we see in the boom of freelance workers and the gig economy.
Remote Work as a Weapon Against Climate Change
The digital economy lowers barriers to entry and facilitates ease of doing business. You can take advantage of technology to communicate more effectively with your customers and partners, and in promoting your products and services in the marketplace.
I believe that pushing for a remote work culture will help decongest our cities, especially the central business districts, therefore reducing air and noise pollution caused by overcrowding and heavy traffic.
It also reduces or totally eliminates time and effort spent on commuting and sitting in traffic, cuts living costs by allowing workers to move to affordable cities, and allows companies to recruit talent without proximity-related issues.
We should seize this momentum to help in fighting climate change, and take the pandemic as an opportunity for a great reset.
Some of you may feel that the pandemic destroyed a lot of hard work and value. You may also feel that it amplified the risks associated with entrepreneurship.
But it is up to you to view this pandemic as a setback or an opportunity.
Beyond the profit, what we are seeing today is the democratization of entrepreneurship, especially among the young.
Entrepreneurs emerged as the unknown heroes of the pandemic, showing unwavering passion to solve economic and societal concerns amid the chaos.
Being an entrepreneur means transforming the world by solving big problems through small steps. Continue to nurture your commitment to create a positive change in the community by creating value.
Entrepreneurship and its innovation will play a crucial role in rebuilding the nation. I hope these tips will be instrumental for you, not just to survive the crisis, but to thrive over the long term.
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