Back in 2008 I joined Hotwire after the start-up I was a co-founder and investor in finally sank beneath the waves of the Global Financial Crisis. I was fortunate in that I found a new home and gainful employment relatively quickly and was able to apply my experience as a 'front line' entrepreneur to an established business and to a broad tech oriented client base.
But the commercial environment I faced during that time twelve years ago pales into insignificance when you compare it to the business climate of today. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the world's economies and has precipitated an unprecedented downturn in demand. It's placed enormous pressure on any start-up or scale-up business and its leadership.
So what lessons can entrepreneurs take from the past? And can any be applied to the world we live in today? Well, according to Jack Newton, CEO & Founder of Clio there's much to learn from the past.
In his article published in Crunchbase, Jack provides four tips on how to survive the stormy waters of the COVID economy. In summary, he says:
1. Be an irrational optimist - keep your eyes on the future and promote confidence among your staff
2. Experiment and act on insights quickly - double down on what's successful and don't be afraid to learn fast and move on from those ideas that don't work
3. Spend it like it's your own - developing a scrappy mindset gives you the mindset to stay financially in - and ahead - the game
4. Don't be too hard on yourself - stay focused and grounded but give yourself moments to rest. A clear and level mindset will translate into strong leadership.
These words of advice struck a chord with me. I've followed many of them through the years from when I had to pick myself up after the failure of not one but two start-ups through to the day to day of advising clients on their own growth strategies.
Scaling up a business requires focus, understanding, commitment and a true growth mindset. The principles for success are as applicable today as they were back in the dark days of the Global Financial Crisis. Nothing is impossible if leadership has the right attitude and the right support from those around them.
The economy shrank at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, marking the worst showing since 2008. For those who’ve poured their lives into their business, this will undoubtedly feel frustrating and disheartening. But here’s the truth: You can get through it. We got through it over a decade ago, and today Clio has expanded beyond my wildest expectations.