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What COVID-19 Taught Us About Digital Transformation

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COVID-19 is one of the most devastating crises in at least two past decades that has had ruinous business operations. It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has hit the economy harder than the 2008 financial crisis. COVID has also turned 2020 into a tragic year for the majority of businesses, except those that embraced digital initiatives.  Here is what COVID-19 taught us about digital transformation.

Digital operations on an online platform.

When a business is literally transformed digitally and can accomplish all operations on online platforms, regardless of the size and scope, a health crisis like coronavirus has nothing to do with it. In the same way, its destructive effects are minimized, but it may also even cause significant growth. 

Being digitally transformed during a crisis means having a framework to run business stuff without lowering the bar if employees can’t be physically present at the office. This includes flawless communication between employees, accomplishing tasks, managing customers and their engagement, meeting the market requirements and managing projects.

Since every crisis that hits business environments has some lessons to take, the coronavirus brought some good lessons about the importance of digital transformation for businesses when an unprecedented crisis is coming close.  

Let’s see what COVID-19 can teach us about digital transformation.

1. Digital Transformation Is About People, Not the Technology

When it comes to digital transformation, most people think it’s going to be about technologies and tools. It is true, in a sense, but COVID-19 proved that people must take precedence over technology. Transforming people to use digital tools in a chaotic situation is often underrated, and most organizations prioritize adopting digital tools rather than training people. Bear in mind: the people drive digital transformation forward. 

The first step toward implementing a digital transformation strategy is to change people’s mindsets and change their outlook on technology. They need to understand how their routine work will vary by tech-driven tools and how they can make the most of it for being productive and do more in less time. The managers need to draw up the bigger picture for employees and tell them how to rely on digital initiatives during a crisis. 

The second step is to hone the skills and invest in talents. Developing skills and employees’ abilities will help organizations aim for more data-centric initiatives, maximize digital transformation effectiveness, and minimize the possibility of error. 

2. Non-digital Businesses Are Extremely Vulnerable Against a Threat

At the outset of coronavirus, traditional businesses were confused about operating without a physical location or managing their market and customers. At the same time, they are locked in the home. The old-fashioned business model is not applicable when most people rely on their smartphones more than ever, and it just widens the digital gap. 

Newspapers, food and beverage, and in-store shopping are among the industries that have suffered most from COVID-19 impacts, and their business model makes them extremely vulnerable against future threats.  On the other hand, tech-driven businesses can turn every crisis into an opportunity for growth, and while reducing costs, they also increase the revenue. 

Coronavirus is not the first health crisis against human beings and will certainly not be the last. Even in the post-pandemic era, it’s hard for most people to get back to their pre-pandemic behaviors. The lifespan and revenue in post-pandemic times depend on whether it has adopted digital technologies or it wants to continue with old methods. 

3. Businesses Need to Accelerate Digital Transformation Initiatives

The COVID-19 highlighted the fact that the future of business is digital, and at times of uncertainty, only digital initiatives can drive the business forward. While some organizations are still lacking at implementing or accelerating their digital transformation due to the crisis, others are using the current chaotic situation to change the business model and empower departments with digital initiatives.

Recovering from coronavirus impacts requires businesses to accelerate adopting digitalization and look at digital touchpoints to meet customers’ demands. 

There has never been a better time than now to start proactively with tech-driven innovations. According to McKinsey & Company, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 92 percent of surveyed organizations thought they needed to digitize their business model. 

CEOs need to move the digital transformation from the piloting stage to trial use and then actively use it in business operations. Such a transformation must happen at the core of the business and organizational culture. 

There is no denying that deploying a digital strategy at a large-scale will be a complicated process, requires too much effort to put into it, and won’t happen overnight. But for those looking for sustainable growth and seeking to keep business alive in future storms, there is no plan B. Long-term investment in digital transformation will definitely play out if done correctly.  

4. Significant Potentials for Adopting Digital Transformation Remained Untapped

Amazon’s revenue skyrocketed in the coronavirus pandemic, and demands for digital content helped Netflix to add more than 10 million paid subscribers thanks to the lockdown. Likewise, online services experienced huge growth in demands and customers. 

Despite all the damage, one good aspect of COVID-19 was that it made businesses rethink their potentials to adopt digital transformation. Before the pandemic, some executives believed their organization has no capacity to grow through digital. They can’t rely on digital channels to either meet the market requirements or manage in-office tasks remotely. 

Digital transformation can open up new horizons toward the businesses and make them aware of untapped potential to rise above their current position. Every organization, in any industry with any size, has some untapped potential for using digital initiatives. They just need to overcome the fears of change and see the bigger picture. 

Designing a roadmap, training employees, changing business models and culture, hiring new talents, and using third-party partners are steps needed to be taken by executives to implement a successful digital strategy within the organization. 

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Covid-19 – 5 Ways Startups Can Tackle the Effects of the Outbreak

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The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic problems have negatively affected millions of people globally — not only did it affect people, but it also harmed many businesses and startups, disrupting their day to day activities. The global pandemic has hurt businesses and the economy as a whole, but this is more worrying and sparks a lot of fear in the hearts of startup CEOs, founders, and team members as startups are less likely to survive in times of crisis. Here are five ways startups can tackle the effects of the outbreak.

One major effect the virus has had on startups is how it has disrupted team members’ normal day-to-day activities. Every startup longs for a culture founded on and promotes teamwork through in-office collaboration, but with recent worldwide shutdowns, companies have turned to remote working to compensate.

The magic of in-house collaboration, peer to peer conversations, and lunch breaks would be gone, affecting employee morale. Many employees simply won’t be able to adapt to a new way of working.

The pandemic has also affected the quarterly earnings of top companies. Startups are far more likely to record a plateau or a tremendous drop in growth, thereby increasing the chances of you missing your monthly or quarterly goals.

The virus has also stopped many supply chains in various countries, including China, one of the world’s biggest suppliers; this has affected startups that deal with hardware and the production or manufacture of physical goods. Many startups had shut down totally or minimize their local and international business travel plans to reduce the chances of an employee getting the virus.

How startups can tackle the effects of the pandemic

Even with the various negative impacts of Covid-19, startup founders and CEOs can reduce the effects of the virus and their startups’ chances of closing down.

1. Remote working

In-office collaboration can simply not be overstated; it’s essential for building personal relationships between coworkers, thereby boosting employee productivity; it is also essential for the creation of company culture, but what’s more important to you as CEO is keeping your customers and employees safe.

With social distancing policies that ban public gatherings being implemented, startups have had no other choice than to turn to remote working to keep their startups running. The popularity of Zoom, Slack, and Skype, apps great for remote working, have skyrocketed since lockdowns have been in place.

2. Limiting in-office work

Limiting the number or set of people required to come to the office is important for reducing employee risk of getting the virus. Employees should only go to the office when a project is crucial and cannot be done from home.

Offering your team unlimited sick time can also incentivize workers to stay at home when feeling ill, thereby lowering the risk of spreading the virus to other team members.

3. Inform your investors

As a CEO and founder, it is important to communicate what’s happening with your startup to investors, your plans, cash runway, new business strategy, and overview of how the pandemic is affecting your startup.

This is essential in letting your investors know if you’ll need money anytime soon, and the overall impact the coronavirus would have on your startup. It is important to communicate openly and on time with investors.

4. Create a new business plan

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.� — Charles Darwin.

Scrapping your old business plan and strategy and creating a new one from scratch is essential for the survival of a startup at this time, as former business plans were made with a normal worldview and might not work well in such times.

How you as a founder completely restructure how your startup operates depends on few factors; your burn rate and cash runway, how long your startup can survive assuming this problem lasts longer, and analyzing risk and resources expected. This ensures that if the present situation persists, your business won’t go out of business. Even though we don’t have enough info on the present situation, it’s important to change plans and adjust as new updates are released.

5. Effective Communication and Transparency

As a startup leader, you have to be transparent with your team as they are also in fear of what the future holds for their startup; this means being completely honest and open about what’s going on, regular updates on the state of your startup.

When it comes to communicating with your team and investors, It’s best to find the balance where you, as a founder, can be compassionate without sugarcoating and being too optimistic, harsh, or negative. Effective communication helps employees keep calm as they are less likely to make assumptions and panic about the startup’s future because they are being told what’s going on.

In Conclusion

We can’t possibly know how long startups and businesses will suffer from the effects of the pandemic, or even when the global economy will heal anytime soon as it might take a few months for the virus to be fully contained.

However, CEOs and founders of startups need to learn from this by adapting their plans, increasing the flexibility of their future business activities, and how they operate.

Now more than ever, your team needs leadership. You panicking will only harm employee morale. You need to restructure your startup, reevaluate your expenses, be transparent, communicate effectively with the team, be compassionate, and, most of all, learn from the many lessons that are to be learned from this pandemic.

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Business Ideas Emerging in China During COVID 19

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The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt a huge economic blow to China. The country’s supply chains are collapsing, many manufacturing firms have closed down. There is minimal human interaction, and consumer behavior has changed in unprecedented ways. However, as in all known crises, a lot of new business ideas and opportunities have come out of the prevailing crisis. Online-to-offline commerce (O2O) is on the rise, the demand for 5G has increased, and the need for online education has skyrocketed.

New shopping preferences have necessitated mass changes in China’s labor market.

Employers need to hire locals with extraordinary skills and talents; workers with the needed muscle to withstand the harsh realities of the ongoing lockdown and social distancing.

Note that these talents are needed within days, not weeks if the companies are to continue providing their services seamlessly. Foreign companies cannot pull this off without the help of an international PEO (Professional Employer Organization). That is why PEOs are playing a key role in shaping current employment trends in China.

With proper workforce management strategies, mostly through international PEO, the following business ideas are thriving across china:

  1. Online entertainment

As a result of China being under lockdown, event venues and cinemas remain closed. The consequence of this is almost 600 million short online videos being recorded, shared on social media, and streamed live on different video streaming sites. More and more artists are performing virtually and online movie premiering is quickly becoming a trend.

  1. Grocery delivery apps

Chinese consumers are wary of person-to-person COVID-19 infections and as a result, they are reluctant to go to offline grocery stores. Online grocery shopping is picking pace fast and with it, downloads for grocery delivery apps have skyrocketed. Traders who were reluctant to take their grocery stores online are now struggling for survival.

  1. Online games and live webcast

With more people staying indoors now, the demand for online games and live webcast has increased by over 500%. The online gaming industry in China is now a billion-dollar industry, up from about $218 million.

  1. Increased demand for cloud service

Remote working was not very popular in China before COVID-19 turned everything upside down. Most Chinese companies are setting up new remote teams for the first time, which explains the upsurge in demand for cloud service.

  1. Online education

Educational institutions across China have now shifted to online learning. That has precipitated a sudden upsurge in online content demand within the country’s education industry, with the download rate of educational apps increasing by nearly 300% in the first quarter of 2020.

That stat compared to the last quarter of 2019. It is safe to say that the future of education is e-learning, and it has come sooner than initially projected. App developers must move with speed to leverage this new-found market.

  1. Remote healthcare

Healthcare professionals are offering their services through digital platforms. While this has been motivated by the need for self-isolation, branded online healthcare apps are likely to stay beyond the COVID-19. Remote healthcare will not end- it will only get more advanced with time.

  1. Online food services

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the government’s ban on eating in public places. Many food businesses have since created ways to limit human interaction, such as online food services. Customers are placing their orders online and delivery guys are delivering the food safely and affordably using bikes.

Another solution that has become popular is the “contactless� self-served food cabinets. Customers are ordering food via mobile apps, the food is prepared and placed on a cabinet, and then the customer picks it up from the cabinet without interacting with other humans.

  1. Online fitness & wellness

With offline gyms banned, Chinese fitness enthusiasts are increasingly embracing digital workout programs. These programs have been helping people to exercise from home for a long time now, but their demand has never been as high as it is now. Online training apps, yoga apps, and meditation app developers are in for a windfall over the coming months.

Conclusion

China is still grappling to find solutions to the many challenges that COVID-19 spread is presenting every day. Nobody can predict for sure what will happen in the future. What is apparent, however, is that the social interactions will not be the same again even after COVID-19 is contained. Business leaders must start figuring out ways of surviving in a “contactless� economy.

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How to Invest in Yourself During Lockdown

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Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make. It yields not only future returns but often a current pay-off as well. The surest way to achieve a better quality of life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority on investing in both personal and professional growth. Here is how to invest in yourself during the lockdown.

The effort you put into consistently investing in yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life now and in the future.

Leave it to humankind to discover approaches to remain engaged, while contained. Over the previous weeks, my Instagram feed has been graced by plenty of push-up difficulties, TikTok moves, and network sing-alongs.

Pandemic-prompted web-based social networking fixation has completely dominated, as we all in all battle the withdrawals of “social distancing.” The overstimulated culture we live in drives us to keep occupied and moving (in any event, when constrained, actually, to #StayatHome).

There’s a lot to be said for the spirit craving entertainment and games; however, would we say we are dismissing the master plan?

Here are a few plans to help kick you into gear investing in yourself.

  • Develop Your Skillset

Improving your aptitudes does not generally mean putting resources into advanced education. However, advancing your education usually pays off too, and is without a doubt an alternative. Be sure to check in with what and how things are changing in your field at this particular time in history.

Update yourself now, if that’s something you should be doing. Putting resources into your insight and aptitudes can take numerous structures.

Extending your degree of information and ability is not constrained to the business field, and doesn’t really should be formal. There are many “ability speculation” roads.

  1. Advance your skill – additional classes, propelled degrees, applicable affirmations, are for the most part significant speculations. Take classes, either face to face or on the web. (Little known technique additionally offers distinctive online courses that help you to break liberated from your cutoff points.)
  2. Use accessible preparing – take a crack at workshops, go to meetings, or take an interest in online courses.
  3. Extend your insight – there is a great deal of data accessible on about any subject possible. Understand books, articles, white papers, anything identified with the ability or aptitude you need to chip away at.
  4. Keep current – remain side by side of the most recent patterns or progressions. Buy into distributions, read web journals of specialists, and follow the most recent news.
  • Physical Investment

As per Michigan State University – and innumerable other logical and scholarly sources – physical investment is linked to more vitality, greater efficiency, reduced stress, improved mental ability, better memory, and even expanded creativity.

It’s the most ideal approach to keep up a solid weight, improve your disposition, avert illness, battle psychological well-being conditions, for example, tension and discouragement, and improve your core interest.

Harvard Business Review expresses that the advantages are incredible to such an extent that customary exercise ought to be an aspect of everybody’s responsibilities portrayal. You’ll be a superior laborer, a superior cooperative person, and a superior issue solver when you make practice a propensity.

You don’t have to join a rec-center to work out. You can practice by taking a walk, doing yoga, or turning out to be at home. Go out, swimming, for a climb, or take the pooch for a long walk. It doesn’t generally make a difference what sort of activity you do as long as it’s something you appreciate and can do most days. Just remember to exercise no matter what.

On the off chance that you need assistance thinking of new exercises, you could attempt Aaptiv – they’re including new exercises every week, so you’ll generally discover something new and energizing.

  • Career Investment – Setting a Goal

Without making the above keen interests throughout your life, it will be hard to be fruitful in your profession.

Career achievement additionally relies upon your capacity to hone and update your present aptitudes while learning new abilities. Doing so requires speculation of time, and here and there cash. You can discover professional development ed programs online, the greater part of which are affordable.

Having this extra preparation time can give you influence when going into business, requesting a raise, or arranging a compensation extend for another employment opportunity.

Talking about pay dealings, career achievement additionally relies upon how well you can arrange a reasonable compensation. Raise a compound simply like financial investments do.

Conclusion

The coronavirus outbreak has left many of us feeling alone. However, we must work on our skills and health. The tips mentioned in this post can help you utilize this time and come out stronger.

 

Image Credit: Anna Shhvets; Pexels

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5 Post-Pandemic Changes to Expect in the Workplace

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Disrupting businesses in every sector of the economy and infecting nearly 7 million people at the time of this writing — with 400,000 deaths globally. The coronavirus pandemic that sprung up December 2019 has had negative effects on businesses across the world, and the economy as a whole.

The stay-at-home orders that have been mandatory in several countries have caused our work lives to be affected in so many ways, from working in open offices and interacting with coworkers daily to working from home and having to rely on video conferencing apps for effective communication.

These many changes in our current work-life have left many of us wondering whether it’ll have any lasting effects on our work-lives once the pandemic is over and the current lockdown measures are eased. How will how our new work lives proceed from here?

The many effects the pandemic will have on our current work-life include:

  • Higher Prioritization of workers’ health.

The current attention that employee well-being has been garnered recently by organizations and employees themselves will surely increase. We will surely see employee health, wellness, and well-being being of greater importance in a post-pandemic situation.

We can predict more sick day allowances and health initiatives like the full health checks and examination of employees before they enter their workplaces.

After the pandemic and for a short period of time, signs may be posted to remind everyone to wash hands and perhaps limit how they give handshakes and hugs, and to maintain personal space.

To avoid overcrowding, keycards and sensors will monitor your whereabouts throughout the day and alert you whenever you’re in close proximity to another individual.

In the long run, contact-tracing apps for co-workers may also become part of the work-life experience to avoid the spread of future diseases and infrared body temperature scanners before access to the office building. These contact-tracing apps might even show areas with high coworker traffic similar to apps like Waze.com.

  • Remote work

The role in-office collaboration has to play in a company is overwhelming as it is important for building personal bonds and relationships between coworkers and boosting employee productivity, it is also essential for the creation of company culture, but what is more important is the safety of an organization’s employees.

The importance of remote working at a time like this has shown as many organizations have looked too remote working as a means of sustaining their businesses and to keep them up and running.

In a post-pandemic situation, it’s likely that we see the retention of remote working as a means of working for non-essential workers by organizations. However, office and in-house collaboration are surely not going away and higher-ranking workers may still work in-house.

  • Restructuring of office spaces.

The fundamental design of office workspaces and offices will surely be altered. More personal space, elevator capacity limits, and demarcating spots to stand in elevators to limit physical contact.

More space between desks with coworkers sitting on every other seat, partitioning may be installed to reduce the risk of spreading diseases, fewer chairs in conference rooms, private cubicles or offices, there’s an endless list of how the overall design of the office space might evolve in a post-pandemic situation.

  • Business travel and conferencing.

The coronavirus pandemic will definitely have a lasting effect on meetings as a whole, we should expect fewer conferences and curtailed travel plans in the post-pandemic era. Essential meetings will still hold, but ones with lesser importance will be moved to emails, phone calls, and video conferences.

We should expect employees will only have physical meetings when a project is crucial and cannot be done via video conferencing. Conferences, meetings, and conventions will be halted for the foreseeable future with meetings that aren’t necessary would now be done with video conferencing.

  • Work shifts and office hours.

Organizations will have gradual returns and might not require most people to come back until there’s widespread testing, treatment, or a vaccine. Work shifts might be put in place to ensure there’s a limited amount of employees in the workplace at any given time.

Limiting the number or set of people required to come to the office has been important for employee safety as it reduces the chances of them getting the disease. Only requiring essential workers to come to the office might be the norm in a post-pandemic situation.

In Conclusion

How business around the world is going to be changed due to the current global pandemic is unknown as we cannot predict the future with a 100 percent accuracy but by making educated guesses we might know how the impacts of the pandemic might shape our work life.

Workplaces may have significant changes in the long run, these may include new seating arrangements and the addition of building materials that discourage the spread of germs.

In order to reduce the risk of spreading future diseases, it’s a great time for new technology and innovation. We will need to be provided with access to rooms and elevators without employees having to physically touch a handle or press a button. Innovations in automatic door sensors, automatic sinks, soap dispensers, and maybe even voice-activated elevators.

Measures will surely be put in place to reduce the spread of any future diseases and pandemics to guarantee the general public and employee safety.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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Guiding a Tech Startup Through COVID: Q&A with Hawke Media’s Erik Huberman

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on every company. But as in every crisis, the small players have been bruised worse than the big ones.

Tech startups, in particular, have faced hardships. ClassPass, a fitness membership startup, saw more than 95 percent of its revenues dry up in less than two weeks. Hiring platform ZipRecruiter has cut nearly half of its staff.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to startups’ financial struggles. What they can do, however, is look at how agencies designed to help tech startups grow are handling the situation.

For that, I caught up with Hawke Media founder Erik Huberman. Hawke Media is the fastest-growing agency in the United States and serves as an outsourced CMO for a range of tech startups.

Erik’s take? Every startup is going to struggle, at least in the short term — but the greatest opportunities are rooted in adversity.

Talking Shop for Tech Startups

Erik and I covered a lot of ground. Here’s a lightly edited transcript of our conversation:

Brad Anderson: How has Hawke Media been affected by the COVID crisis? Has it seen any silver linings?

Erik Huberman: For the first time in six and a half years, we’ve gone fully remote. That’s tough in the best of times; try doing it overnight.

We’ve also had client challenges. Although we’re fortunate to have a massive client base, some of their struggles have cascaded to us. We’ve had some pullback on marketing, while others have shut down completely. There’s been a lot of triage work to do.

The silver lining we’ve seen is that, because we’re focused on internet business and driving digital commerce, our work has become increasingly important to our clients. In the past six weeks, e-commerce has gone from 18 percent to 30 percent of consumer spending. As a result, we’ve been able to almost double the average online company we work with.

Many of our clients have wound up thriving in this crisis. The challenges come from the minority of them that haven’t grown — and in some cases, simply can’t grow — during this.

BA: It sounds like Hawke Media has weathered the crisis well so far. What key risks are other startups struggling with?

EH: It’s critical to understand that every startup is going to lose some customers because of the pandemic. It’s just a fact. If you have a diversified client business, there’s a very strong chance some of your clients will pull back on what they’re spending with you.

There are two ways to counteract your clients cutting back: You’ll either need to grow your existing customer relationships, or you’ll need to develop new ones.

Like us — and many of your own clients — you’re also likely learning to operate remotely. That’s going to look a little different for every company. How you meet, operate, or manufacture might have to change. This crisis could last a while, so focus on building out new processes and procedures.

Likewise, assume fundraising is going to be wonky for a while. Some firms, like Zoom, are going to close much higher rates because they’re built for this sort of thing. With that said, investors are unsure about what the future will look like, so it’s going to be harder for most companies to raise money.

BA: Those are big challenges for small companies. How should startup leaders handle them?

EH: The good news is that marketing costs have plummeted because so many companies have pulled out. In that sense, replacing lost business is actually easier and less expensive than you might think.

That’s exactly why we’ve been playing offense at Hawke Media. Double down on marketing and sales now, and you should see a surge in retention and acquisition as the situation improves.

Remember, though, that sales and marketing can’t be a contact sport right now. You’ll need to operate with the least amount of human contact possible. Use digital tools, but make sure you don’t lose the humanity of the workplace.

Throw happy hours. Have Zoom parties. Get your team involved beyond just Slacking and working from home. People are going to get lonely, so it’s on your company to keep the culture strong.

Focus on building to last. You don’t know what’s coming. If you’re burning cash, slow the burn; if you’re mid-negotiation with an investor, close it. Slow down a bit, and find ways to button up your business so it’s not just a startup.

Are you ready to actually make money? If you can drive revenue and build a solid business, as opposed to just fundraising, you’ll be fine. “Primetime revenue solves everything,� as the saying goes.

BA: How can tech startups go beyond just meeting challenges? What COVID-related opportunities do you see?

EH: As I mentioned earlier, marketing is dirt cheap right now, and ROIs are massive. If you can afford to market digitally and aren’t in an industry directly affected by the pandemic, you’re probably doing very well right now.

Even if you are in an affected industry, you can still thrive. Many restaurants have successfully switched to contactless delivery and takeout. Gyms that have gone virtual are getting a lot of engagement. You shouldn’t be scared to spend money on marketing if you can help people enjoy their homes in some way.

Realize, too, that your competitors are having these same conversations. Some of them are going to be aggressive about winning business right now, and some are going to be playing scared. Which do you want to be?

The bottom line is that a pandemic is a great opportunity to bring people together. If you can hold your team together and look out for your customers, you’re going to come out of this much stronger. It’s human nature: Nothing creates community like crises.

BA: Help us understand how the rubber meets the road: How has Hawke Media tapped those opportunities?

EH: We’ve encouraged our clients to keep going. The majority of our clients have had record months across the board.

Because of what’s going on right now, there are tons of consumers moving online. The best move is to model that. It’s a chance to grab market share, hit the ground running, and emerge from this crisis as a leader.

At Hawke Media, we’re choosing to go after that opportunity. We’re watching our competitors — or at least a portion of them — fall apart because they’ve made the opposite choice. The difference is that we’re running at the problem while they’re running away from it.

When I question whether we’ve made the right call, I think back to a quote from my business partner and COO, Tony Delmercado: “Even if it lasts another year, it’s still going to be just a blip on the radar of our lives. Our actions during this time, though, will stick with us for the rest of our lives.�

Decide who you want to be when the pandemic is over, and set yourself up for that. If it’s a successful business, keep that mindset. If you want to run off into the woods, why not just shut down your business?

Imagine what you could do if you were to treat this as an opportunity. Think about how not just to mitigate risks, but also what you can actually do to grow.

In my experience, most startups are operating that way; it’s the bigger companies that are freaking out.

BA: You’ve given a lot of good advice, but what’s the most important lesson you think startup leaders should take from this crisis?

EH: Don’t let external factors become excuses for not building your business. There’s always going to be some crisis — whether it’s a pandemic, tariff, natural disaster, lawsuit, or internal issue — to deal with.

That’s exactly the advice my dad gave me during one of the first crises my company faced. Stressed out, I called him and told him the whole story. His response? “Yeah, it happens all the time. I have to go. Talk to you later!�

That’s the mindset you need to thrive. Welcome to the world of business ownership: There’s always going to be some type of adversity to overcome. Get used to it.

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