Entrepreneurship in times of uncertainty: Act Today, Build Tomorrow

Entrepreneurs are often described as the heroes of today. Unlike their comics counterparts, they step up to unprecedented challenges on their path to success. They are not facing any supernatural forces though, but very real obstacles in their trial to build a successful venture: marketing positioning, lack of investments and human resources, or customers identification and retention among others. Entrepreneurs have to find the strength and wisdom to make it work.

In the current COVID-19 era, where all our convictions, beliefs and certainties are turned upside down, it may be a strange time to consider becoming an entrepreneur. What is often seen as a risky, yet exciting venture, may now be more like embarking in an endless ordeal. Does this mean that you should give up in your quest to become an entrepreneur? There are actually some ‘soft’ superpowers you can develop and nurture now to best profile yourself as an entrepreneur when the time is right.

Superpower #1: Shape shifting

Embracing uncertainty is fact of life for entrepreneurs. Yet, at no other time in our recent history has adaptability and flexibility been more important than it is now. You may question whether to embark in an entrepreneurship venture-self maybe in which career path. A way forward is to move away from the logical thread of ‘reflect – research – plan – act – repeat’ and practice ‘planned happenstance’, meaning following your interests and instincts with the confidence that, thanks to the combination of actions you take, things will turn out the right way.

This career theory developed by Krumboltz, Levin and Mitchell aims to encourage you to seize most of the opportunities you encounter or create your own ones by focusing on 4 steps:  

  1. Clarify ideas – Follow your curiosity;
  2. Remove the blocks – Instead of focus on ‘I can’t because’, rather wonder ‘how can I’
  3. Expect the unexpected – Be open to unexpected opportunities (i.e. phone calls, conversations, meet-ups and experiences)
  4. Take action – Keep on learning and developing new skills

To make it work, there are 4 top skills you need to develop and nurture:  

  1. Curiosity:  to explore new learning opportunities
  2. Persistence: to keep on going despite setbacks
  3. Flexibility:  to change and adapt to new events
  4. Optimism: to assess where new unexpected opportunities lie and consider them as possible and achievable

The readiness to accept opportunities coming your way and act on them and learn continuously as a way of adapting to ever-changing surroundings is one thing. Innovation is also a must. 

Superpower #2: Innovative thinking

Innovation is the crux of entrepreneurship. But now the COVID-19 crisis has caused forced innovation for business continuity, being an entrepreneur or not. This also means new rules and new approaches. More than ever, innovation has to be meaningful and not to disrupt, but to transform. The current health crisis has put collective values on top of individual ones and innovation should be driven by enhanced collaboration with others. To stay ahead of the curve and collaborate with others, consider the following:

  • Lead the process, not the people
  • Act as a facilitator
  • Acknowledge achievements

Being flexible, collaborative and innovative means you will have to successfully reach out to others. And that is where our third superpower comes into play.

Superpower #3: Confidence and Charisma

All things social distancing considered, networking is still a must. One of the principle of effectuation entrepreneurship is known as Crazy quilt. It consists in identifying, engaging and involving other people to collaborate with you and co-create a business idea. To do so, the key is to focus on the learnings, rather than the execution, and bring along a selected network of collaborators that will support you voluntarily in refining your business idea. Yet, having people voluntarily deciding to work with you is far from being easy. For this, consistence and coherence are crucial. The idea is not to have a one-size-fits-all purpose to gather a maximum number of followers, but rather a strong sense of purpose to bring the right people around you and build relevant partnerships to lead to successful and meaningful innovation.

The current COVID-19 situation and its yet uncertain impact forces us to take ownership of our career path, either because of necessity or opportunity. If you are considering becoming an entrepreneurial hero, remember that it is not only about strength, courage and confidence. Unlike their comics counterparts, being a hero is also about compassion and leading by example in a sustainable and constructive way. More than ever, be an Entrepreneur of Change!

Caroline Lefevre


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