An Entrepreneurial Mindset During Covid-19
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
This article has been written in collaboration with Yuva, the Entrepreneurship Cell of the Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Delhi University.
Now that it has been over 150 days of the greatest global crisis of this decade, most of us are steadily adapting to this new reality. While the situation is still no better, all of us have to somehow learn to live with it. What began as a health issue turned out to be a multi-facet crisis severely affecting the individual, social, political, and economic spheres of human life. COVID-19 has taken over the world by its reins, putting on halt the entire economy and rupturing the commercial activities. The recovery from this economical depression is going to be a challenging task for all.
Despite the unemployment, low profits, and all the uncertainty, the hope is still not dead.
Can entrepreneurship be one of the significant ways through which the economy could substantially revive out of this exacerbation of global crisis? Read on to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to bounce back during such an unprecedented calamity.
One of the most promising benefits of having your own startup is creating job opportunities for others while earning substantial revenue for yourself. Tacitly, the integral aspect of the post-COVID-19 world is going to be about creating meaningful jobs in abundance. If you have leadership skills and an innovative idea to swipe the world off its feet, this article is for you. However, it is important to keep in mind that entrepreneurship is a lot more than just leadership and innovation – it needs a certain kind of mindset. How do you create this right of mindset for the next great innovation?
"People who are on the energetic, motivated, and creative side are both more likely to be entrepreneurial and more likely to have strong emotional states," says psychiatrist and former entrepreneur Michael A. Freeman, who is researching mental health and entrepreneurship.
Creating an entrepreneurial mindset is all about challenging yourself in every sphere- be it professional, interpersonal, or intrapersonal. Now you must have already read that a successful entrepreneur sees challenges and failures as an opportunity to learn and grow, but let me reiterate this one more time. Entrepreneurship is about creating an open mindset through which new ideas can easily percolate. It is about never giving up and constantly seeking opportunities to improvise and learn. Should entrepreneurs see this pandemic not as a hindrance but as any other opportunity to grow? If yes, then it is going to be an especially challenging one, requiring not only positivity but immense hard work.
Paradoxically, this double-edged sword might sabotage an entrepreneur’s mental health. Entrepreneurs as a responsible leader has to pay a huge price to endure during tough times like this. According to research, entrepreneurs are more prone to depression, mood swings, and anxiety than others, which has increased due to this pandemic. Generally, it is seen that an entrepreneur risks his/her entire wealth, health, and life for the business to succeed. The fear of failure, though makes their business thrive, takes a heavy toll on the entrepreneur's mental health at a personal level. Everyone sees the flowery picture of a successful business, what most of the people fail to see is the hardships and struggle that went into building that empire. It takes an immense amount of indefatigable resilience to persist despite the almost-end-like failures and challenges. Three out of four startups fail, majorly because they are unable to sustain through tough times.
Therefore, it is important for entrepreneurs to have a far-sighted, optimistic approach for their organization. The focus shouldn’t be on the problem, but on finding solutions for it. In other words, approach a problem from all angles and come up with a unique solution. The key is to think differently than others- put your thinking caps on and be creative. An entrepreneur must design long term strategies for their business, and visit them every day. It is crucial to revise and re-evaluate these strategies to suit the post-COVID world by taking into account all the possible scenarios for a successful economic rebound. Reading the biographies of successful entrepreneurs not only gives an opportunity to emulate their skill sets but also to learn from the mistakes which they as budding entrepreneurs might have made in their early days or even later on during a challenging time. Of course, they might not have dealt with a crisis like this, but it will give you an insight into the impactful problem-solving mindset required to mitigate the loss and come up with realistic solutions. An integrative approach to a challenging situation is to maintain a calm and positive composure and to not let the nightmares of failures overpower you. Many successful entrepreneurs endorse failure as a core element for success. They openly ask their younger counterparts to embrace it, - “Fake it till you make it.”
The important question, however, to ask is, do these romanticized myths actually work in real life? Is failure really a prerequisite for success? Does failure always lead to learning something new? What if there is a global pandemic that no one saw coming? What integral lessons can entrepreneurs all over the world take from it? Undoubtedly, this is going to be one of the most crucial segments about deciding who will survive in the jungle and who will not. Is changing ships and opting for a regular job an option? Sadly, not for all.
“It’s too lonely, it’s even worst in the Indian ecosystem. Employees won’t care, the government just publicizes. You are always behind your bills. You are a worn out, beaten up broken human and Covid-19 just doubled the pressure.”
- Annu Grover, founder of Nurturing Green
Entrepreneurs are depressed and exasperated about decreasing revenue rates and overall loss as COVID-19 has created a do or die situation for many of them. The current statistical figures are terrifying- 62% of all startups have reported a revenue decline of 40% while 34% startups have reported a revenue decline of more than 80%. Two-third startups are likely to survive up to only 3 months based on their current capital. Even large organizational ventures like Uber, Mobikwik, AirBnB, and OneWeb are finding it hard to sustain themselves during this time. Many are considering the possibility of selling out their companies. How can then a novice even imagine overcoming the hurdles of these testing times?
Harvard lecturer Tim O’Brien said “Leadership is about mobilizing others to confront and make progress on a difficult reality that they (and probably you) would rather avoid.” Leadership is not about the outcome – it is about the process. It is about accepting your new reality and mobilizing others to confront the challenge head-on. For some, this will mean shifting priorities and soldiering on, finding some way for your business to survive. But for others, it will mean giving up on your dreams and shutting down. It’s important to realize that both of these decisions can be acts of leadership. The catch is to be practical and make a rational decision. After all, the business world is always going to be a wild ride full of ups and downs, this pandemic might be one it's kind of life-altering event which will certainly change the discourse of socio-economic structure of institutions and organizations.
Acceptance is the foremost necessity. Whatever the future holds, this is your chance to learn to let go of things that are out of your control and make the best out of whatever is available at your disposal. Calling the shots could range from keeping your team motivated and giving them the required support, leveraging the digital space lucratively, ensuring to maintain effective communication with your staff, clients, and stakeholders to look for alternative avenues for funds. Entrepreneurship is said to be a lonely endeavor, where you burn your fingers to dust almost every day. However, entrepreneurs need to realize that they are not alone. Creating positive partnerships and alliances could be a commercial survival tactic that would give entrepreneurs a chance to learn from each other as well to negotiate and compromise for the mutual benefits and collectively act with agility so that the economic activity smoothly adapts to the new world.
For the personal well-being, “build a life centered on the belief that self-worth is not the same as net worth," says Freeman. "Other dimensions of your life should be part of your identity." All in all, take a deep breath, eat healthy, exercise, spend time with your dear and loved ones, meditate every day, and explore your inner self. Utilize this time to find your passion for things other than your business. Smile and do not quit because - “this too shall pass.”