Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Entrepreneurship - Alive and Well During Covid-19

I’m sure everyone would agree that the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has been a huge challenge for all of us.  But how has it affected entrepreneurs, not to mention start-ups and young businesses?
Paul Rittenberg from Wirral Chamber of Commerce shares his experience of working with inspiration businesses over the last couple of months...

There’s an old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention” and this is certainly true for those starting and running a new business.  However, with the added complication of a global pandemic, this has stretched even the most resolute of souls during the last few months.
However, having worked in the business support sector for many years, it still amazes me how the human spirit can triumph over adversity, whether it be by adapting a current service or product offer, or just by doing things differently.  The capacity for humans to be able to reinvent themselves and ‘shape-change’ and be ‘chameleonesque’ in response to an ever-changing environment is something we sometimes take for granted.
For example, at the very beginning of the crisis, one of our new Enterprise Hub start-up businesses put out an online ‘call to action’ for people to pre-order her brand-new product range at an early-bird discount but tied it into a crowd-funding opportunity to give her pre-start business a much-needed financial boost before she could physically open her doors.
But does it have to be something innovative or can it be just a simple ‘tweak’ of a business offer to meet a change in demand?  Another of our Enterprise Hub clients was looking to offer his transportation service to a particular target market. However, Covid-19 put paid to that and so he just …. well changed his target market!  Same vehicle, different client group, money coming in.
I’ve been particularly impressed by how the restaurant and pub trade have adapted their services.  Click and collect, delivery services and innovative seating arrangements have all been simple but effective ways to keep the tills ringing, their business going and their sanity intact!
And then there are those businesses which have adapted their services to an online platform such as tutors/life coaches/yoga classes – an adaptation which has taken people out of their comfort zone but opened up a whole new world of opportunities and clients which will remain long after Covid-19 has disappeared.
And then there are those businesses which have suffered, been allowed to eventually re-open under restricted conditions, but have then managed to prosper by following the guidelines and going the extra mile for the customers.  I’m reminded of a local barber who cut a colleague’s hair.  He had a mask on, a visor, wipes outside, wipes inside.  The place was spotless and appointments could only be pre-booked.  My colleague said it felt as safe as being in his own home.  So sometimes, just a little change in the way we do things, thinking about others and going the extra mile is all it needs to develop a best practice model for these unprecedented times.
Sometimes it can be the little changes that make the difference.  British cycling owes a lot of its success to ‘marginal gains.’  Maybe you could too.
If you have a business within the Liverpool City Region and you're looking to grow - we can help! get in touch with us on Enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk to find out more

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