If you search for the definition of ‘entrepreneur’ you’ll find that it is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”. Risk is part of the whole entrepreneurial concept, and when you started your business, you needed not only passion and creativity but also courage.
Online learning has been clearly on the rise for some time now, and it’s obviously not such perilous an endeavor as betting all your funds on the stock market. However, profit was still not a certainty even before the health crisis made us all aware of what a pangolin is (and subsequently turned our entire world upside down with no foreseeable deadline when it will be back and running).
Winning the entrepreneurial game in 2020
As a result, you may be feeling a little unsure. That’s normal and, to some extent, healthy, but you should also work towards becoming a winning entrepreneur in this time of crisis.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve that.
Follow your passion
You obviously feel strongly (and positively) about learning and development. Odds are you gave it some thought before starting your venture, and that was because you really love doing this, and you want to do it right. Just because things got tough, customers are more careful with their budgets, and you may have less time because of household and family requirements does not mean you ought to put your passion on the back burner.
Quite to the contrary, this is the time to dream big and be bold.
If business is slowing down, take the time to plan and organize, so when it picks up again, your sails will be prepared for winds that take you places. You can device several scenarios (some optimistic, some more along the lines of contingency) and ready to move forward with doing what you like.
Work harder than before
It’s no secret that if you are consistent in working hard at something, the results will eventually show. Even if it may seem daunting with all the extra stuff you have to do – a lot of us got stuck at home with additional responsibilities and less time – you ought to arrange your schedule in a way that accommodates your business as well as everything else.
It’s not easy, and there always is the temptation to simply give up now and try again at a later date. Yet nobody knows for sure when (or if ) things will go back to how they were and when that might happen.
It’s better to keep at it now, work for your business, and put in all expendable efforts to not only keep it afloat but move it forward. Whatever happens, you’ll come out with a lot more experience and the satisfaction of managing to rise to the challenges in your way.
Know what and when to let go
Speaking of challenges, you must differentiate between what you can control or overcome and what is just out of everyone’s hands. You can stay updated on customer preference and behavior, look for new opportunities, and try to figure out what will be in demand in the foreseeable future.
Yet these are not things you may be able to use to your advantage or slightly influence, not control.
What you can do for sure is optimize your business, your website, and social media accounts and do the things you were considering before but never found the time to do them – like learn all about TikTok and how making short, funny videos with minimum equipment can help you reach a whole new young and vibrant audience.
Special attention should be given to people or businesses who need to pay for your already provided services. While it’s good to show flexibility and offer scheduled payment options, you have to be firm about getting the money in the end.
Communicate honestly with your customers, your team, and your family. It’s at least unsettling (if not downright scary) for everybody right now. Big companies have sent their generic ‘responses’ to the crises to everyone who had ever somehow ended on a mailing list. With all of them doing it at the same, it was annoying and not at all reassuring.
As an entrepreneur, you have the advantage of a much closer, more personal relationship with those in your lists. This is the time to capitalize on that personal feel by making your e-mails relevant and compassionate and keeping your online communication along the same lines.
It’s paramount that you remain present and part of the conversations – if you simply go away now and resurface with marketing campaigns later, the audience will be disappointed, and your results will suffer. Try to put out a good vibe on an otherwise bleak reality, and you’ll find positive responses from your follower base.
Entrepreneurs are courageous by definition. This is definitely the time to bring out and demonstrate that fearlessness. Following the advice I’ve listed above ought to help, but the one thing that needs to be on every entrepreneur’s mind right now is to keep dreaming and keep going.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.