Fears of the spread of the Coronavirus are taking hold and it is very important for entrepreneurs to keep up to date on what is happening, but not for the reasons you may think.
While the Coronavirus is slowly evolving from an epidemic to a pandemic, the real worry for entrepreneurs should not so much be the virus itself. In fact, to put things in perspective, the common flu in the just the U.S. this year will kill more people than the trend that the Coronvirus is currently on. While any loss of life or sickness is not to be taken lightly or discounted, it is important to understand the Coronavirus is not as deadly as the common flu - at least not yet.
The bigger worry for entrepreneurs is the impact the virus will have on commerce and the ability run a business. China is the world's factory and it is currently shut down. Companies are very quickly running of inventory and the ability to produce their products because of it. In fact, companies like Land Rover are a week away from shutting down and are forced to have to go to China and bring parts back in suit cases.
The longer the virus goes and grows in China, the bigger impact it will have on commerce. Companies will begin to sell less and/or have to shut down - not because there isn't any demand for their products, but simply because there are no products to sell.
This is why you see the stock market pulling back. Investors are positioning for lower earnings in the future for companies because companies are not going to be able to sell as much product and thus have lower earnings.
But, there is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. As the fear grips the world, level-headed entrepreneurs can grow. Now isn't the time to pull-back in your business, it is a time to push forward. If you manufacture everything in China, you are going to be hurt, but you can also learn from this experience and set up back-up manufacturing facilities in other areas of the world. This is NOT easy by any means, but for those willing to persevere and work through it, the benefits long-term will help them and make them stronger. During this period, it is also the time to double down on marketing and sales. While you competition may be pulling back, you can gain market share and grow. Many of the great companies that exist today, started during the Great Depression. Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, and Allstate, all started during the roughest economic time in U.S. history.
The Coronavirus, is going to impact business over the next year; there is no doubt - but this period of time offers great opportunity for entrepreneurs and for them to use their success to do good and maybe help people affected by the virus. Make the most of it!
Rejection is part of being an entrepreneur, but even the strongest entrepreneurs can reach the end of the rope after a long string of rejections. It's at that point that you need inspiration and perspective. So, in that spirit. Take a look at the notices below. These are all rejection notices from VC's when the founders of AirBNB were starting out. They were trying to raise just $150k on a valuation of $1.5 million meaning that $150k investment would have give the investor a 10% stake in the company. I bet these guys wished they had gotten their 10% now!
The next time you deal with a string of rejections, just remember what the founders of AirBNB went through over the course of almost a year before someone took a chance on them. Your time will come if you just keep pushing!
The little things matter. In fact, many times, it is the littlest of things that can make the biggest difference in our success. This is one thing I've learned in hosting the Misfit Entrepreneur. It's amazing how the little details can make such a big difference. But, the trick is that the little details are only important in the context of going after something truth big and worthwhile.
Most people think small. In fact, most don't think beyond the next 10 minutes in their lives - especially in the instant gratification world we live in. And for most this is just fine. But, for some of us, it's not. We want to do big things, make tremendous impacts, and have our chance at potentially changing the world around us.
To do that, we have to think BIG and thinking BIG is an art unto itself. Here are 3 things I've learned in my life on how to truly think big.
The first step to thinking big or bigger than you do now is to stop thinking. Wait, what? In order to think big, you need to get your mind out of the way and out of the day to day and let it wander. We get so bogged down, by the minute by minute things in our lives that they consume our thoughts throughout the day. In order to get to a place where you can think big, you have to get out of that day to day and let your mind have the ability to go big and look at life, the world, business, etc. without the distractions. In order to do this right, you need to schedule the time for it. I suggest at least 4 hours a week and in one block where you don't let yourself be interrupted. For example, every Friday from 1pm-5pm or whatever works in your schedule.
The second step in thinking big or bigger is to change your state and location. If you schedule your 4 hours and do it at the desk you do your work from all week long, your brain will not focus on the bigger things. It will instead do what it's been trained to do at your desk - work on the day to day and those things that you do at your desk. If you truly want to give your mind the opportunity to think bigger. You have to change your state and location. By changing your state, I mean getting out of anything that resembles your normal day to day. And by location, I mean doing this in a place that you don't normally work. It could be going to a park and splitting time between walking trails and writing in a journal. Or going to the library and grabbing a room with a white board. Whatever you do, do not do your "thinking big time" in the same place and state where you work daily.
The third step is to keep track and share it with others that think big as well. Keep a journal of your ideas and what happens in your weekly sessions. Take some time to review it each week before you begin your thinking time. Be open to sharing it with those that think big like you as well. Better yet, schedule separate time with them to have a thinking session together and share your ideas and discuss them.
Remember, everything begins with an idea. Every business begins with an idea. The United States began with an idea. Ideas are what change the world. And those ideas come from brains like yours thinking big, so take the time to let your brain do what it was designed to do - Think BIG!
I have always thought that kids are a wonderful source of wisdom and lessons for life. It is their innocence and truthfulness that shines through without a filter that, whether they realize it or not, teaches some of the greatest lessons.
Recently, my 7-year old daughter reminded me of this. Each day in her class at school, they write in their "Gratitude Journals." And as you can expect, normally you see things like "I'm grateful for recess" or "I'm grateful for candy" and things like that. But, every once in a while, it's like Aristotle takes over and some amazing wisdom comes out. Or in my daughter's case, maybe God was speaking through her to all of us.
Here is what she wrote:
I am happy for who I am because it is not right to pretend who you are really not. If I was not me, I would not like singing and I would change. If you pretend who you are really not; then at some point, somebody will find out who you really are. It is important to be yourself. It is really important to be your self.
I love being myself. Yourself, you are great. You are strong. You are brave. You are perfect the way you are. You know, you should be proud of who you are.
My dad says all the time, “I love who you are.” He says that all the time. Just be you. And when you find out, you will feel proud. I am happy to be who I am and I will never change.
You know, you are amazing. You are cool. You are lovely. You will never change. You should love who you are. I love who I am. Do you love who you are? Because you should love who you are. I am grateful for who I am.
Seriously, my kid just mic-dropped on me. Aside from the absolute "proud dad" moment I had when I read this, I was choked up. I could not deliver this message as simple and elegant as that. As parents we all know that our kids are "always listening," but we often wonder if they truly hear what we say. To know my daughter has heard this message and believes it for herself is an amazing milestone in our lives.
Please share this life-changing wisdom from a 7-year old with those in your life!
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