The global pandemic has witnessed a surge in people leaving their jobs and many striking out on their own, so much so that economists have labelled this movement, ‘The Great Resignation.’
There’s no doubt that the mass job losses have meant that for some, starting a business hasn’t been so much of a choice as a necessity - at least in the short term. But candid conversations with former clients and colleagues from front line services to knowledge workers, reveal that a significant trigger towards entrepreneurship has been due to a change of mindset. Their priorities have shifted due to the pandemic, coupled with a heightened sense of anxiety about their career choice, especially if they feel that they could be doing something more meaningful.
Official statistics from the Financial Times have reported a record number of company registrations in 2020, with the US and UK amongst the highest; a 95% and 30% increase respectively from previous years. The government stimulus cheques and furlough schemes in these countries have gone a long way in providing some people with a much-needed buffer in both time and financial resource to explore an idea with the notion of turning it into a viable business.
Equally, for countless others the prompt to start a business has been a direct result of how their employer treated them over the past year, putting profit before people. Entrepreneurs that leaned in and listened with focus to their employees by adding holidays, encouraging community engagement, and recognising that people had lives outside of work, positioned themselves for growth.
There were many other people asking themselves if their lifestyle is healthy and sustainable, and whether it’s stable and sustainable to rely on a single source of income in the form of a paycheque. This alone has created a surge in entrepreneurs exploring recurring revenue models that can provide multiple revenue streams.
In combination these unique conditions have created an environment that’s conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship.
The secret to creating a successful business during the global pandemic has been to find ‘corona-fuelled’ markets. That’s to say - what problem can you solve during this time? The number one issue faced by traditional businesses has been to move to an online model and in many cases rethink their business model. This has created an opportunity for new entrepreneurs to offer innovative online products and services with better prices and customer experience through consulting, coaching, and teaching. Laurel, the founder of a small consultancy which specializes in workplace mobility saw her business explode during this period. In similar fashion the global health and wellness market moved from being worth billions to trillions according to McKinsey & Co, with searches associated to weight-loss and improving fitness spiking.
History will judge if this boom is sustainable. People's mindsets have changed since the pandemic and those that pivoted their thinking, learnt new skills, and took risks (or five!) to think laterally is what will separate those businesses that survive and those that will thrive.