by Rob Lunan
Pandemics, Global Financial Crises, Wars… these have all been with us from the beginning of time. But until 2008 I had not experienced even one. When the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 hit, I was in a vulnerable spot. A few years earlier I had quit a good paying management job in Ottawa to open my own business supplying industrial products. The new business was doing well and providing for my family until the stock market crash and credit squeeze hit in the fall of 2008. Instantly, sales dried up and I was without any income from that business for 18 months.
I suppose I could have succumbed to desperation or jumped off a bridge. But instead my wife and I quickly ramped up our accounting business (something we were trained for and that we had both been sporadically working in part-time). We carefully worked our network of contacts and within several months it was providing a living wage for us. By 2010 this business was doing well, and the industrial supply business also came roaring back to life with new orders.
I hope that reading this will give someone, and especially business owners, a bit of hope for the future. I’m writing this on April 9, 2020 and at this point the forecasters are saying we are still in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chances are we have a long road ahead of us of social isolation. So, if you are a business owner, or unemployed and considering starting a business, I would encourage you to first think about how you can solve problems for others. These are the products and services that will be needed.
I would also encourage you to do most of your advertising, networking and promotional work now. There are currently unprecedented numbers of people confined to their homes with idle time and looking for ideas, things to do and things to buy – especially if they will solve their problems. The future will not be the same as the past. We will certainly work from home more, travel less and be more prepared for the next so-called Black Swan event. I am interested to hear your stories so please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. Looking ahead a few months or even a year or two from now it would be great to publish some of your stories about how you turned this pandemic into your greatest opportunity.