The year 2020 has been, in many ways, different than we expected. Entrepreneurs are facing a reality that asks for new skills. The new circumstances that many of us are now trying to adapt to require more resilience than usual.
Global economics, businesses and entrepreneurs have suffered significant losses during the pandemic and the economic depression. An enormous number of companies are now closing, reducing their operations, and fearing for the worst. The hit has probably been hardest in the service and tourism sectors, especially among SMEs. According to Statistics Finland, the service sector in Finland has suffered a 55 percent decrease in production in the second quarter of 2020. That is a lot!
We attended Haaga-Helia’s first Business Innovation Conference on the 17th of November. At the conference, Eran Ketter presented Resilience Strategies and the Entrepreneurial Mindset: Tourism Business in the Face of COVID-19. He defines resilience as “the capacity for an enterprise to survive, adapt and grow in the face of turbulent change”. His results indicate the importance of an entrepreneur’s resilience, optimistic mindset, and skills to face crises. Those are humongous themes and skills to possess or learn.
Some of us have the skills to face crises naturally and some of us must learn to embrace them. Therefore, the question is how entrepreneurs can practice and develop these skills in their work. COVID-19 has raised resilience as one of the key factors when discussing the survival of companies, especially in the service and tourism sectors.
Many see entrepreneurs as the backbone of the economy. There are more than 280 000 companies in Finland. Most of them are micro companies with less than 10 employees. There are more than 180 000 solo entrepreneurs.
There is an enormous amount of companies with none or only few people with whom to innovate and develop, talk, spar or share concerns. Many of these small companies are focusing on what they are good at: catering, photographing, car fixing, barbering, baking or cleaning – you name it. Have they even heard of the trending word “resilience”? Maybe not.
When working with entrepreneurs, one cannot avoid hearing comments, especially from solo entrepreneurs, that they are feeling more lonely, hopeless and helpless than before. They have just enough energy to cope with their daily operations. It is not easy to be resilient, innovative, optimistic, and happy when you are fighting to survive.
Without doubt, the current situation is tremendous for many, and one of the reasons might be the lack of support. Especially mental support. Entrepreneurs should have a mentor, an advisor, a helper, or a business-best-friend to help them stay calm, see the bigger picture and most importantly help them innovate to survive. It is easier to develop operations and maintain good spirit when you get the chance to step out of your shoes and look at your company from a larger perspective.
Many of us could do our part in helping entrepreneurs to cope. We all can support our local doers. We all can ask the entrepreneurs, as well as friends and colleagues around us “how are you doing?”. We all can help each other feel resilient.