Covid-19 has thrown so much uncertainty on to businesses and business owners everywhere. If you operate outside a digital space, the chances are your organisation has taken a huge hit over the past few weeks. The reality of the situation is that heart-wrenching decisions about the future of firms everywhere are being made on a daily basis.
However, no matter what industry or sector you are in, I urge you to harness the spirit of entrepreneurialism right now. This is about embracing the skills typically associated with entrepreneurs – a strong sense of vision, hard graft and that all-important creative flair and ability to do and see things differently.
Below you’ll find my own checklist for keeping an entrepreneurial frame of mind.
Whatever your budget, whatever your position and certainly whatever your ambition, these are essential skills and are critical success factors for the times we live in.
Keep an eye out for opportunities
Feeling frustrated? Great! Frustration sparks some of the best ideas. Applying an entrepreneurial mindset to that idea will help you see the value in it – some of the world’s biggest and most well-known companies started out this way.
In fact, AllBright was born out of a frustration that Anna and I shared at the lack of female founders and women making decisions at the top. Between us we knew so many who were capable of leadership – so we started AllBright to give them a platform to connect and support one another.
Once you spot the opportunity, make it happen
This applies to everyone, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps telling your friend, "I have a great business idea," or a manager in a corporate organisation looking for a new challenge. My rule here is simple: if you can see the white space and feel there is a value to be had in filling it – go for it.
If you’re a visual person, write down your idea. If you’re a people person, soundboard your ideas off others in your network. At this stage, action is key.
Stick to a vision and work at it
This might seem contradictory, but having a mentality that is able to pivot and change also requires a complementary mindset that knows when to keep going.
This is something a lot of us are experiencing right now. Whether your team structure is shifting or you’re struggling to adapt to new working patterns – sometimes it’s as simple as gritting your teeth and working through it. An entrepreneurial attitude and resilience go hand-in-hand. However, I am certainly not advocating burnout – now more than ever you need to take time out to reset and recharge.
Know when to cut your losses
This is perhaps the trickiest part of thinking like an entrepreneur. Good ones know when to cut their losses. If you have tried, really tried, to make something work and it just won’t, leave it behind you. Being honest with yourself will ultimately lead to bigger and better things.
There are lots of instances of some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds embracing failure and using the learnings to inform their next steps. A great example of this is Arianna Huffington. She ran a failed campaign for governor of California in 2003, where she secured less than one per cent of the vote. She credited the campaign for teaching her the power of the internet and founded The Huffington Post as a result.
Keep your mind noise free
If you are anything like me, you will have hundreds of thoughts, ideas and things to do in your head at any given time. You need to give yourself the space to allow your skills to flourish.
I have a couple of things I practise to help keep the noise in my head in control – I speak to my sisterhood and encourage you to do the same. I also make sure to put my focus somewhere other than work at least once a day – for me it’s exercise, for you it might be something else. Having creative outlets beyond work will help you think outside the box when you come back to your desk.
We have launched the Digital Sisterhood to provide women everywhere with the community and support they need at the moment. Be that a safe space to ask questions – and receive honest answers – or somewhere to find a digital event that will offer you the information, or perhaps the encouragement, you need to get you through the coming days and weeks. We’re here for you so please do head to allbrightconnect.com to join our community.