Although the pandemic undoubtedly made it much harder for many budding entrepreneurs and small businesses to get off the ground and survive, the number of entrepreneurs willing and brave enough to take that leap soared.
The pandemic seemingly created just the right conditions for entrepreneurship to flourish. With many people working from home and taking time to reflect on the big questions, answers came in the form of innovation, passion and drive. Twill’s ‘Breaking free from the 9-5’ interview series sheds light on some of the challenges that entrepreneurs have faced and offers some advice on on how to overcome them.
1. Opportunities Rather Than Challenges
According to a survey by Kauffman, self-doubt and fear were reported as a challenge by 58% of entrepreneurs with young businesses during Covid-19. For entrepreneurial success, it is advantageous to have a mindset that sees the opportunities that challenges can present rather than regard them as a threat.
There are countless stories of individuals taking the time to reskill or upskill during the pandemic, taking advantage of opportunities to learn, develop and grow and, for some, this resulted in the discovery of an entrepreneurial flair that they may not have otherwise unlocked. Alice Burrell started floristry business Peonies from Pluto with no prior entrepreneurial experience, and turned into a successful small business. Turning challenges into opportunities is the most important piece of advice she’s keen to share with other entrepreneurs. “Obstacles are part of the process. They reveal the parts of the business that need fine-tuning and help us to learn, adapt and become more experienced entrepreneurs”, says Alice.
2. Getting The Balance Right
Starting a new business requires a huge commitment of time and energy, something that can feel completely overwhelming to many. However, despite the input needed, entrepreneurs are able to find ways to balance their business with other priorities.
According to research by Santander, 27% of students currently run or plan to run a business whilst at university. Nadia, owner of haircare brand Nu Elefa Naturals, is no stranger to juggling these two demanding commitments, having had to run her business whilst studying for her degree. In order to get the balance right, Nadia recommends you, ‘create a schedule by dedicating certain hours to different responsibilities whilst factoring in downtime too’.
3. Building The Right Team
Remote and hybrid working has opened doors for small business owners to build great teams, widening the pool of candidates and allowing for the kind of flexibility that so many people are now looking for from their employers. But creating a company culture from a distance can be hard to do and that true sense of belonging and purpose that attracts and retains the best talent can be difficult to achieve.
Alessandro Savelli from Pasta Evangelists, an artisan pasta delivery service, reveals his biggest challenge has been, ‘creating a team culture, especially with large swathes of new people joining the business during a global pandemic. The lack of face-to-face interaction has made creating culture really tricky, but we’re getting there!’. To overcome this, Alessandro has introduced initiatives to get the whole team involved, explaining that ‘Our chefs lead team tastings a few times a week to get feedback on new recipes, techniques and collaborations.’