Resilience is a required skill that is learned and leads to tangible results for all of us
and particularly for small business owners. It is during a crisis that a resilient leader
will be able to take calculated risks and think outside the box to create opportunities
and forge new ways to meet new challenges. It takes an immense amount of grit and
dedication to try new things and to find a new way particularly when things don’t work
out as expected. A resilient leader will always find a way to move forward. I was
encouraged to read a recent survey (The American Psychological Association (APA)) of
1,000 business owners which found that 61% are optimistic about business in 2021
(Millenia optimism was even higher at 75%). The resilient optimism of entrepreneurs
is inspiring. Here are takeaways from resilient entrepreneurs during this crisis:
Revisiting definition of success: I always encourage everyone to know their
definition of success and not let it be defined for them. The pandemic has caused many
to rethink their goals in life and what they find is truly valuable to them. For some, this
is about how they live each day and for others it is about their legacy. Your definition of
success allowed you to make tough decisions with confidence. It should allow you to be
at peace regardless of the outcome.
Changing what your business does: The pandemic has forced change or
disruptions that have illuminated a new path for some businesses. The American
Express Entrepreneurial Spirit Trendex found that 76% of businesses have already
pivoted or made a change and 73% of those that pivoted say they will change again in 2021.
Resilience allowed many to keep those things they most valued while making
essential changes. In some cases, new businesses were started and in others a new way of doing the same business was developed.
Changing the tools used: It is important that a business be aware and ready to
implement useful tools when appropriate. A study from Google and the Connected
Commerce Council found that 75% of business owners are using more digital tools
since early 2020. Among those who use these tools, the majority project less revenue
loss and more business revenue. These tools do require an investment of time to
evaluate since there are too many technology tools were the hype exceeds the
Starting a new business: According to the increase in Employer Identification
Numbers (EINs) applications in quarter 3 of 2020, we have a dramatic increase in new
businesses compared to 2019. Entrepreneurs are starting new businesses at record
speeds. Resilience and optimism are essential characteristics of entrepreneurs who
take the financial and personal risks to create, organize and operate a business.
Pausing your business: For some businesses, temporarily ceasing operations has
been hard but a necessary financial decision. It takes a lot of courage to go down this
road either to allow for an easier exit to meet personal goals or, more often, to allow
the business to restart and survive once it is reshaped to meet the new challenges.
Edi Alvarez, CFP®
BS, BEd, MS