May I start by saying that this blog in no way attempts to minimise the real heartbreak and catastrophe of this pandemic. It merely attempts to highlight observations I have made sitting in lockdown.
Watching the pandemic unfold I was struck by the similarities between the actions of governments in this particular crisis and the issues that entrepreneurs face every day.
One thing that entrepreneurs get used to is the fact that they often have to make decisions without complete information. However much research you have, in the world of the entrepreneur it is only when you put things in to practice than you can be really sure of the outcome.
Speed is another skill that entrepreneurs need to practice. It is no good thinking you have forever to refine your project. You have to act quickly or whatever you are competing against will certainly beat you. Certainly governments have shown that they can react faster than they have ever reacted before.
Of course, you cannot please all of your customers all of the time and there will be those that will always criticise what you are doing, even if they could do no better themselves. We have certainly seen plenty of this from media desperately trying not to appear complimentary to governments.
As entrepreneurs we get used to the fact that everyone you meet is an expert. As entrepreneurs it is infuriating when people without all of the facts tell you what you should do. One thing that seems to grow quicker than even the virus is the number of experts that appear daily to give their opinion on what should be done. Perhaps a graph of growing numbers of experts would be salutary.
Most importantly, entrepreneurs always have to manage several things at once. Suddenly governments are faced with the same dilemma. Trying to manage education, business, health, borders, financial issues and so on must be extremely taxing. But then so is managing operations, marketing, sales, human resources, finance of a small business and so on.
Like entrepreneurs there will be some that don’t like the governments’ products. These are the people that think products are not relevant to them and that they can manage quite successfully without. At least with entrepreneurs they only deprive themselves of any benefit whilst ignoring governments hurts others.
One thing we are lucky with as entrepreneurs is the lack of self-important celebrities that are suffering from the lack of exposure virus! It seems that any chance to get their face on social media is grasped with glee, no matter how trivial the message.
What people are learning is what entrepreneurs have always known. Social media can be a source for good but it can also be something that damages you quickly and often across a wide spectrum of potential customers.
I for one have no problem with celebrities getting locked down in mansions. However, rubbing their supporters noses in it by posting ostentatious images on social media while the ‘fans’ are often stuck in flats with just a small balcony is not that bright.
The good news is that many are managing to adapt to using social media for positive uses. Isn’t it amazing to see your distant relative on the screen instead of another selfie!
Talking of selfies, forget toilet rolls, there is a real shortage of selfies since the pandemic took hold. Apart from this benefit, there is a dramatic drop in crime, cars are used less, air quality has improved, stabbings have ceased in London and even the drug dealers are having a hard time dealing whilst social distancing!
So, whilst sitting inside my apartment waiting for my food delivery, I still see opportunities for when the pandemic is conquered.
Clearly, governments have shown that they can react quickly and that they do not always have to conduct endless enquiries and commissions before stepping a toe in the water!
The pandemic has also shown that a number of challenges that have hitherto been classed as too difficult are not. Things like air quality, use of cars, reductions in crime and a more honestly connecting society is achievable.
Too often people have looked at these issues and said that they are too difficult. One thing that this evil pandemic has shown us is that some of these larger issues are achievable. All we have done so far is to stay at home and sit on the sofa for these things to happen. Think what we could do if we put some effort into these big issues.