January 27th, 2022 / 4 min read
As someone who chose to study architecture, I primarily believed business to be a structured path - more of a one-way street. As someone with an entrepreneurial drive pushing me to excel, I came to see that business is more like a rollercoaster track designed by a lunatic. The past 18 months have been a set of daily challenges that every business owner and employee has had to face.
Regardless of industry, scope and function, 2020 - 2021 have served as a true test to the competency of all decision makers in the boutique/small business industry.
One of the main lessons I have learned from this challenging time is that optimism is necessary - but it needs to be coupled with constant vigilance. Believing that things will work out for the best is great - having the contract signed and the deposit transferred is even greater. I say this because it is integral for one to protect their business in the realistic and concrete manner rather than on the verbal level. Having that sense of constant vigilance, that developed financial security and the gumption to protect the business legally is what allowed Concept Me to survive the pandemic unscathed … begins hanging the blue beads.
In all due seriousness however, I have recognized the importance of having an entrepreneurial attitude to business matters. There exists no capacity for conventional work practices anymore. This rollercoaster track is designed to be an organic and self-mutating set of rails - taking us across unexpected twists and turns. In my scope of work, my clients and the journey we take together in constructing our mutually-agreed upon vision are the main considerations. COVID-19 disallowed travel and forced us all to take different measures to recreating this customer journey. Seeing as we are not a massive multinational, but a boutique-scale firm, our approach to adapting had to be personal and swift.
That brings me to the other main lesson I learned. REINVENTION. Tough times and rough turns on the rollercoaster do not mean pain points and suffering. They are incentives for recreation, reinvention and the reshuffling of whatever models we used to rely on. I guess to make it in the business world, we must adopt a chameleon attitude. At Concept Me, I made sure to communicate my new vision to my tireless team and found their enthusiasm inspiring. We recreated internal databases, libraries and virtual site supervision systems that shifted our tangible customer journey into a virtual one. Despite it being a heavy task, we came to recognize that it, in fact, made our work processes much more streamlined and organized. We became more efficient whereby our communication was perfected causing less errors on site, less confusion and next to zero unpreparedness. Everyone was consistently on the same page or technically the same Zoom meeting.
The breaks on the rollercoaster are broken however and the challenges kept presenting themselves. As did the creative solutions. This accumulation of pressures and constantly-appearing tight corners can get overwhelming. Developing a resistant attitude to change is a recipe for failure. At the start of the pandemic, we were all collectively still hanging on to things going back to ‘normal’ and our resuming our ‘regular’ modus operandi. Normal and regular were never really an option, we can clearly see now. We were merely in a dormant state that probably did not require or stimulate change. Thus, resisting that change led to disastrous results for many businesses.
The key solution to that, in my opinion, is acceptance.
If we remain in a state of denial - hoping for the best and clinging to practices that are no longer effective, the outcome will be a dead-end road. The rollercoaster won’t crash, it will merely toss us out. Thus, accepting and welcoming change (as unstable and stressful) as it can be is more practical and effective than resisting it. Instead of depending on methods that used to work, work out a new pathway. Get creative. Just accept it fast - no one is going to wait on you. That is the unfortunate yet realistic state of things.
And finally, the keyword to all my learnings in the past 18 months is: adaptation. These three As (Attitude, Acceptance & Adaptation) have been the holy grail to my continued balance of success in the face of a global crisis. I have heard inspiring stories from other entrepreneurs that truly taught me how creative solutions and personal commitment can bring about amazing business resilience. These creative solutions, developed in a positive attitude and after accepting the changing status quo are a long chain of adaptive processes. It’s as simply complicated as that!
I hope this sheds some light on the need (in every industry) for creativity, acceptance and continuous innovation. I have been lucky enough to meet a massive amount of talented people that have pulled through this crisis. I hope we all can as well. In the meantime, we will just have to function on shuffle as we ride this rollercoaster together…
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