COVID-19 has thrown us into an unchartered global landscape, and it’s up to entrepreneurs to lead us through

OrganiQ Kangaroo Island founder Sally Lydia Paech. Source: supplied.

It seems that, almost overnight, we were forced indoors to reevaluate not just the way we do business, but what relevance our businesses have in the world we are yet to fully experience.

The stock market is fluctuating intensely and unexpectedly. Restaurants have closed overnight. Shopping centres have become ghost towns. And even real estate, the ‘secure’ investment option, is now at a standstill.

It is fair to say that all economies will be damaged, and unemployment rates will remain high for months if not years.

It is well documented that once a person goes on unemployment benefits, it is incredibly hard to come off. It may not allow for a luxury lifestyle. But oftentimes is enough to pay rent and basic groceries.

However, it was recently observed that almost half of the population of the US would not have the resource funds to cover an unexpected $400 bill.

That is a confronting fact and something we must address.

What this global downtime does provide is space and opportunity to think and innovate.

If you had the grit and vision to create a business from nothing, chances are you can do it again. And with your current business, you likely have the foundations already in place.

How do we utilise the tools and innovations we were learning to adjust to, and which now are our only option?

Zoom allows not just teams but countries to connect. Faster than email and more interpersonal than phone. It allows a board meeting to happen in an instant. It allows problems to be solved immediately, resolutions and concepts to be created.

Why didn’t we think of it sooner? Because we didn’t have to.

And that’s why it is the entrepreneurs that will lead the way forward through this.

And why society will benefit in the long term.

Physical sport is no longer an option. Entertainment is now at home, with the family and via video interaction.

Platforms that were a secondary accessory are now our primary source of entertainment.

And that’s not such a bad thing. It will provide a smooth transition and a chance for bright minds to make their creative visions a reality.

Education is changing. Remote learning, which country kids have used for generations via school of the air, is now the norm.

And while teachers are required to create curriculum. Parents are now forced to become part of the program — at least for the interim.

But this is allowing parents to understand their children’s strengths and challenges in person and also negotiate alternatives to task and projects.

Kids who struggle conventionally are now finding ways to shine through resourcefulness, creativity and innovation.

And when things go back to normal. These are going to be the people with the skills that big business will need.

Leaders are being called to account, and so far it is a limited few who have inspired and motivated the masses.

In a relatively intellectual global society. These actions will not be forgotten and there will be permanent changes as a result.

Interconnected global communities will inspire movements. It is already happening with climate change. And now global companies such as Starbucks are redesigning their entire structures.

Starbucks is renowned for its omni-channel experience: the familiar and constant process in store, as well as the ability to create your own experience via the app, where you can customise your drink order and purchase from any where from the dining room table, to the middle of the actual Starbucks line.

This has been the perfect testing ground for enforcing the rule of to-go-only.

It is inevitable that some of the changes will be here to stay.

We are finding that we need less and can see how many in our community need more. Simple things like hand sanitiser and basic groceries.

Hospitality businesses that have lost their regular trade have turned to making bulk meals that are affordable and nutritious. Keeping their suppliers in business and providing a service to the wider community.

We have the same amount of hours in the day, it is just a matter of learning to use them differently. Unfortunately this is something that text books won’t teach us.

Entrepreneurship comes from the ability to create an opportunity and new realities.

The apps are here to stay and our future inevitably lays in the palm of our hands.

The biggest disaster that will come from this is if we don’t learn from the circumstances that got us here.

It’s time to let the entrepreneurs take the lead and let the unconventional thinkers create some lasting positive change.

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