2020. This was a promising year in which everyone had high expectations. A new decade, new resolutions, new objectives. If a new year brings up a retrospective to make us think about what we did in the past and what we want to improve in the future, the turn of a decade increases that to a whole new level.
Then, at the beginning of the year, we started to hear about a novel virus that appeared in China. Most of us didn’t pay much attention at the time. After all, China is known for the exotic markets where all types of animals are sold. And it wasn’t the first time that a new virus appeared there. SARS, in 2003, also appeared in China, in similar conditions.
With time, the number of infected people kept growing, reaching other countries. WHO kept asking for countries to implement social distancing measures. However, many of the recommendations were often ignored and even laughed at.
In just three months, the virus had spread into most of the countries and territories on Earth, the number of people infected and the death toll was sky-rocketing. We find ourselves in the most severe lockdown in over 100 years.
The economic disaster
As a consequence, many industry sectors were forced to shut down to stop the propagation of the disease. Only indispensable activities are allowed to continue running. Tourism, one of the most prominent sectors, is almost a mirage as of right now. It is obvious that one of the biggest economic crisis is on the way, coming fast, and hitting hard.
Governments are doing what is possible to try to contain the crisis. EU has approved a Corona Response Investment Initiative of 37 billion euros to help member states to invest in medical equipment, fight unemployment, and keep SMEs running.
Each day spent with the economy stopped is a day that we will have to pay in the future. With interest.
Stopping the economic machine of a country is one of the worst things one can do. However, it is still better to temporarily stop the economy, than to increase the business of funeral homes.
All of this is very new to everyone, so we need to be careful about what we take as fact. So, this is what we know:
- There is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
- The virus is highly infectious. Despite the mortality rate not being very high, the recuperation time is relatively long.
- The current best way we have to stop the infection is to have social distancing and increase disinfection routines (washing hands and surfaces with alcohol or soap).
- These measures are an impediment to some activities.
- These measures create new needs for both people and companies
What happens in a crisis?
If people find your solution more valuable than the money they are spending, you will be successful.
If we think it right, a crisis is nothing more than a shake in the economy. Things are no longer what they used to be. There is a new reality that brings up new needs. It is a call for innovation.
In 2008, the Great Recession forced many people to adapt to the new reality where it was no longer possible to make loans that were almost impossible to pay. It was also one of the biggest times in terms of new tech startups, that were willing to take the risk and create innovation. The reason? Simple. There was not much to lose.
The crisis that is ahead of us is not different from the others before. Something happened and had a domino effect. Brought new needs, new problems, and new opportunities. A new opportunity is a business possibility. If people find your solution/product more valuable than the money they are spending, you will be successful.
The art of adaptation
The flexibility of adapting to any circumstance is one of the best skills one can acquire. It allows you to endure whatever problem you’re faced with. There are companies that are noticing new needs and fulfilling those needs. Either for philanthropy or exploring new business opportunities. Here are a few examples:
- Super Bock, a beer company, is converting alcohol from alcohol-free beers into disinfectant gel.
- Fashion brands are making masks.
- Fiat and Ferrari are producing parts for ventilators
As in every crisis, some businesses die, others flourish. Adapt. Overcome. Focus on what you can do to have this crisis as an economic dream instead of an economic nightmare. Focusing on how things are hard, and everyone is suffering is taking you nowhere.
Will you take this opportunity, or will you be another fish dying in a drying river?
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