Elevator CEO Professor Gary McEwan shares his advice to Scotland's entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19.
"Coronavirus (COVID-19) is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. As we move through these times of uncertainty it will impact every person, every town, every nation and every business around the world.
"The global pandemic will shape business practices for many years to come.
"However, COVID-19 isn’t the first ‘black swan event’, an unpredictable circumstance which has a major effect, to hit our economy. And it won’t be the last.
In the crucible of crisis, entrepreneurs react in different ways. For some, the initial shock can make way for burying heads in the sand, distancing from the situation and in some ways rejecting the unbelievable reality of what lies ahead.
"At this crucial point, it comes down to fight-or-flight; do you run from the problem or fully immerse yourself in it?
"Those entrepreneurs who have developed a personal resilience will see opportunity to emerge stronger, with the pandemic threat promoting a sense of entrepreneurial enthusiasm. Take the financial crisis in 2008 for example, the disruptive side effects saw an increase in popularity for Airbnb and Uber as sharing and renting emerged as new social norms.
"With COVID-19 we are already seeing early signs of how our world will change. Mindset shifts are seeing rapid investment in favour of smart cities, tech companies are thriving with working from home practices set for the foreseeable future and China broke records by constructing a 645,000sq. ft hospital in just 10 days.
"These outcomes have come from those whose leaders have chosen to fight. But what if you were to take a different path?
"There is an old saying that the single most important factor to decide a business’s ultimate level of success is the person running it. While this is true, the argument has a flaw. It suggests that the demise of a business will also be down to that same single most important factor, and that is not reliably accurate.
"There are times when external forces, out with the control of an entrepreneur, will send their business into a terminal downward spiral. Some will inevitably be facing this as their reality right now.
"Knowing when to quit and change direction is a worthy skill in an entrepreneur - the ability to live to fight another day.
"This hugely difficult decision, to close the door on your business for the last time, often takes more guts than any other key decision.
"Courageous action in a volatile situation requires gumption. At Elevator, this is something we urge you to try find in yourself, the will to battle or the bravery it really needs to walk away and find a new path. We strive to instil an entrepreneurial mindset into those starting or growing a business, while collaborating and sharing best practices with our ecosystems.
"Entrepreneurship is an important source of economic growth; entrepreneurial activities not only boost technology and design innovation, but they provide employment opportunities and increase competitiveness.
"No one knows how or when the evolving COVID-19 crisis will end. But one thing for certain is we need to lead with guts, to kick start the next wave of innovation and fundamentally pave the way for our new world and generations to come."Back to all blogs