With the world opening up more and more with each passing month, many solopreneurs and small business owners want to make sure they can keep the party going and protect themselves from future troubles.
For ideas, I recently spoke with Ken Tencer, CEO of SpyderWorks, a boutique strategy consultancy in Toronto, and host of the Say Hi to the Future Podcast, which focuses on the power of human ingenuity. His company hosted the “Hi (Human Ingenuity) Columbus” summit for entrepreneurs, held in November 2021, in conjunction with the Columbus College of Art and Design, which looked at the power of intelligent, invention and original thinking. . Tencer is also the author of Cause Troublea book on innovation, and The 90% Rule: What’s Your Next Great Opportunity? Here is an edited excerpt from our conversation.
Elaine Pofeldt: How did Covid change your mindset as an entrepreneur?
Ken Tencer: Working for 25 years as an entrepreneur, we went through recessions and the Great Recession. There is no pattern in our lives for what we have experienced in the last two years. I remember driving home to our first major lockup. It is the remarkable realization that billions of people are simultaneously going through the same experience in the same 30 days. It’s amazing. If you think about 1 degree of separation, 2 degrees. Here we are, in real time and real life, experiencing the same thing as everyone else in the world.
I was lucky, and I won’t casually say, to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table. I know if it was 25 years ago, I wouldn’t have. I started thinking about young entrepreneurs, and people who invest all their money in their businesses, and the hardship they experience and the emotional stress and physical stress that comes with more. you uncertainty. There is no secret sauce or pivot for businesses that get caught up in the wrong side of it, like hotels and restaurants.
There are a lot of things that can get me out of business — there aren’t a lot of directions to go around — but then I think of young entrepreneurs. My daughter is a dancer and choreographer, and the studios are closed. He pivots in social media marketing.
Elaine Pofeldt: What ultimately helped you navigate the crisis?
Ken Tencer: I the late father was a successful businessman. He taught me that when things go wrong or difficult, you need to slow down time. What he meant by that was that if you look at the whole of a crisis, it can overwhelm you. You really have to start looking at everything as an issue. What will I do with my team? What do I do at my facility? What do I do with the service I offer?
If it’s hard to think of what to do now, what can you do in the next 15 minutes? I think that’s one of the best crisis management lessons I’ve learned. Slowing down time and over-focusing on a specific task at hand and a specific time frame: In the next 15 minutes, I’ll focus on it.
You have to look ahead. Looking ahead is one of the tasks. I go to my whiteboard and one of the channels is “Something I need to think about.” Then I will focus on one part of each. It’s like a checkerboard on the wall. I work in three or four different places every day. I didn’t try to attack everyone at the same time. That’s what makes you emotionally depressed. You will need to unpack each bag individually.
Elaine Pofeldt: How do you find the opportunity?
Ken Tencer: there businesses that have really thrived, parts of many businesses that have thrived. Often, they say things that worry people. It is very difficult to work on a long -term strategy in the midst of a pandemic. So, in my business, we streamline our service offerings in areas that face ambiguity and change.
For example, I started a talk on macrotrends. How do we look to the future? Things that happen in 5-10 years that happen in 1-2 years. I make a product out of that, a workshop that I can do personally or virtually. I think that’s all you can do: Think about what really matters to clients. There are still clients and there is still an economy.
We could have turned the switch and said, “People don’t look at traditional corporate strategy.” We stepped back instead and asked, “What are they looking at and how do they want to send it?” We started our first program and continued for 10 business days. We put everyone to transfer it to an online platform.
Elaine Pofeldt: There are positives in almost every situation. What do you expect us to keep after the pandemic?
Ken Tencer: It reminded me of the importance of love, fierce curiosity and courage — it really comes down to those three values. There are people who really want to push the envelope. More than that, I hope more people come in and stay.