2020, in myriad instances, has blown business productivity to dust; the remnants found blowing like Covid-confetti across continents that dissipate like vapor.
While some entrepreneurs require slight adjustments to repurpose the focus of work to meet market demand; others find it necessary to come to terms with the truth. Our industries will not return to commercial viability for a long time. The pandemic has accelerated the incoming age of AI.
. …Around the corner, however, I hear her tires screech to a halt, at our doorstep right on time is the silver streak — vehicle into the future. Opportunity not limited to Ivy League grads but rather a more level playing field is here.
The current business environment laced with pandemic doesn’t necessarily need to stagnate our drive as entrepreneurs nor relegate our passions to the basement. New beginnings take new lenses. Perhaps I can offer you a glimpse.
Let’s hoist an example… Tony Hsieh, the technology wizard wasn’t necessarily a “shoe-guy”. He was the man with a passion for customer service who rebranded Zappos into a household name infusing a tight company culture that took legs. He leveraged his obsession, married it with a select market trend (shoes), attached these elements to his technical skills and “boom”, Tony restructured the shoe industry with two partners. He was ahead of his time to “build open and honest relationships with customers” via social media. This cohort took risks. Zappos sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion dollars.
Like the former genius, Tony Hsieh; you too can begin to build an opportunity for yourself incorporating hard skills, soft skills, passion and marketplace awareness.
- Skills: Take inventory of your marketable skills. Add another specific for your next launch if needed. Many offerings are free on-line. Bone up on your ability to interact well with others, practice. Harness potential.
- Passion: Dig deep to discover those areas of life that excite you. Is it the medical field, or retail? Write them down. Review these daily and refine if necessary, know yourself. What gets you out of bed in the morning? This knowing will serve as direction throughout the journey.
- Trends: Next, research and become acutely aware of current trends. Turn off the redundant news. Pay attention to your culture, your demographic and the generation up and coming. Engage in futurecasting. This practice is ongoing to inform and innovate over the next decade.
Combine these three entities to begin formulating a winning trifecta to relaunch your second or even third act through Covid and beyond.
I’ll use myself as an example. Producing events that draw 80,000 spectators are out of favor since Covid and incompatible with social distancing. Outdoor, crowded spectator sports and live festivals have collapsed around the world.
Pivot: As a sample exercise, I inquire… Q. “Self, other than staging large events and promoting them, what other skills have you acquired over the years”? A. Organizational management, target marketing, public relations, communications, TV, radio, advertising, brand “Stan” management, development work, with strong head for business. Q. What skills are you missing to satisfy current market demand? A. Analytics, coding, web and digital design and social media platform marketing.
Passions: Social consciousness for businesses — Align business to meet customer needs, lifestyle, and values. Not vice-versa. The same is true for the back-end product. Build to solve a problem that improves the experience for the consumer. Brand loyalty requires an authentic social exchange. It’s the entire experience delivered as a whole not piecemeal.
Today’s millennials will support a company who, for example care about the environment. A kinship develops and they spend accordingly. Social consciousness is made visible by promoting well-being and harmony among groups. Made visible by supporting the local community where headquarters reside. Ie: Sponsorship. This is important, it’s about trust.
Current trends, what are they? In 2020, tech is king. VR experiences; Mobile apps; AI and machine learning; workplace reinvention; automated services to connect teamwork globally; gaming (morphed in use as educational tools); personal devices for medical reporting; medical grade surface cleaning; virtual exercise, reinventing education as we know it; VR entertainment; Home is the booming new opportunity with a plethora of direct-to-consumer offerings — in sweatpants perhaps.
Without identifying products and services with strong market demand; you are unlikely to build business viability and expand. One can manufacture market-demand… but this is another conversation.
Let’s take a glance at skills I need to acquire to fill the gaps and round out my performance value: Check #1- Game development/script writing are essential and will be long into the future. Lifestyles are morphing quickly toward personal robots and even avatars able to circumvent the world on our behalf. Check #2 — Social Media marketing tutorials on youtube.
In my case, honing technical skills coupled with a passion for the consumer experience informs the direction to my pivot.
Internships with game development and Salesforce is building a foundation to relaunch an effective and exciting future and remain a vital part of the workforce for many years to come.
Stagnation is not an option. Have faith in the silver lining even during these unprecedented times. It’s available for those who seek opportunity. ##