Many businesses and entrepreneurs had a rough go of it last year as the pandemic crippled the economy and affected the entire globe. But despite this darkness, there are many stories of diamonds in the rough; entrepreneurs who managed to survive the pandemic and found success in these difficult times.
Future entrepreneurs can learn a lot from these stories and use that knowledge for a better business.
Some entrepreneurs found success in helping others navigate difficult times as was the case with Martha de la Torre who started the classified paper El Clasificado in 1988 but has since moved on to focus on establishing an online presence. COVID created a difficult environment for businesses that had little way to advertise themselves, but fortunately, El Clasificado had the foresight to build new services that help small businesses via online advertising (as seen in the video below) as well as other services like seminars on how to start a business and how to apply for PPP loans.
El Clasificado was ready to take care of clients according to de la Torre, “Many of our customers were doing fine without a strong online presence until COVID made that an absolute necessity… so we decided to offer free 90-day packages that includes websites, Google My Business integration and online advertising”
Adversity fuels innovation and that could not be more true than during the pandemic as seen in the case of Richard Novak, a senior staff engineer for the Wyss Institute at Harvard University who co-led a multi-institutional team to design a new nasal swab that could be manufactured at a large scale for COVID-19 testing.
Novak said that prior to the pandemic two companies controlled the world’s entire market for nasal swabs, but his team’s new design has been licensed by five manufacturers which will lead to more swabs available. One of these companies is the Alabama-based startup Agile Biodetection and said this about the new business venture with Novak, “As an entrepreneur, you have to have a mindset of being flexible and willing to see and embrace change.”
Positives of post-COVID
The innovation and collectiveness coming out of the pandemic have been nothing short of amazing and turbocharged its progression. Distillers manufactured sanitizers, fashion designers created PPE, people organized fundraising sites for struggling families and those out of a job; the goodwill towards each other in these difficult times.
Technology grew like never before seen as seen with the rapid deployment of safe and effective vaccines in less than a year.
Karl Ulrich, a professor at the Warton University of Pennsylvania says “Creative problem-solvers have jumped to help, and that certainly is an entrepreneurial impulse. And some of those efforts will result in business creation.”
I think if there’s a lesson that entrepreneurs should take from the pandemic it’s that no one can predict the future. It may seem obvious, but common sense isn’t exactly common. Things can suddenly change: plans disrupted, priorities changed drastically, and professional networks completely upended. But it’s important to keep going and to keep striving to make the world a better place.