Uber, Airbnb, Slack, WhatsApp, Venmo, and Wealthfront were all created from 2008-2009, during the last recession. The creation of these successful companies shows that a recession doesn't have to be a time to be depressed and worried, but can be a time to think about new opportunities that will emerge when the crisis is over.
I went through a rough time in 2012 when I quit my job and started my own business. That was when I learned about simple things like cash flow and the true cost of hiring full-time employees. I made many mistakes, and many of these mistakes are the reason why I'm so resilient today.
This time around, when the Covid-19 pandemic happened, I was prepared for it financially and mentally. It's possible, as an entrepreneur, to navigate a time like this and use it to survive and eventually thrive.
Here are my three tips for entrepreneurs to weather a crisis and come out stronger.
1. Be a creator, not a reader.
I love reading. It's something I try to do every day. But during a crisis, I stop reading altogether and move my focus to creating new things. When most people stall because they're waiting for the economy to play out, this is your opportunity to test the market with new ideas and new creations.
It's also time to get off Twitter and Facebook unless you're using them to test out new ideas. Use all your spare time to pivot your business, create things, and get others on board who are willing to test new ideas and bring them to market.
For me, being a creator actually means writing more.
2. Create a Plan B.
It's hard to not go "all-in" on your business, and I know many successful entrepreneurs who have done just that. I like to build my business, but I've learned to not have all my eggs in one basket, so I usually lean more toward building a Plan B and Plan C in case everything hits the fan.
In my case, building my business in 2012, I lost three major clients in a span of two weeks. It was devastating. But while I was building my business, I also focused on building my personal brand and networking with other business leaders in Chicago. When I lost those clients, I needed a soft landing somewhere, and because of my previous efforts to build new connections and my personal brand, I was able to land a full-time director position a month after I shut down my business.
So, if you have an idea to create a business--and honestly, even if you have a successful business--don't ever think that you're immune to disasters, because disasters come in many different forms that you'll never expect.
Be resilient with your business, but don't forget about Plan B. It might just save you when you need it the most.
3. Make this a time of motivation and hustle, not depression.
This point is easy to say, and hard to do. It's hard to not be depressed when you're looking at the economy, your available opportunities and options, and your bank account, which is getting smaller every single day.
Right now, during this pandemic, I'm using this time to explore ideas I've had for a long time and adjusting them to fit the changes that will happen with remote work and food delivery. I've spent the past week talking to former colleagues, entrepreneur friends, and other business professionals that I've built connections with.
I'm going to hustle and make sure that I'm stronger after this is all said and done. I think you should do the same.