Lesson Learned? What is Covid-19 Teaching You About Entrepreneurship?

Over the last few weeks I've had conversations with over 50 entrepreneurs from all around the world. Some are down. Some are optimistic. All of them know that it's our job to help bring back a sense of normalcy. Today I'll be sharing some of the lessons I've learned on this strange journey.

Hello, everyone. Hi, how you doing? I’m Dennis Lewis. I’m here with you yet again on a Thursday for a soliloquy from my very secluded soapbox. And yeah, Thursdays are kind of these weird in between days, I try to kind of make them that they’re kind of halfway between rants and pep talks. And, you know, I try to focus on entrepreneurial concepts on Thursdays.

And so yeah, today is not going to be a fancy presentation. We’re not going to talk specifically about marketing. We’re going to talk about, you know, some of the lessons that I’ve learned in the last last six, seven weeks of lockdown. I’ve had well over 50 conversations with different entrepreneurs all around the world, India, Europe, the US, both coasts of the US, Canada.

South America, I’ve just talked to a lot of people, it’s kind of one of the things I’ve been focusing on, during all these, you know, just during this time because I feel like being connected with the community and the entrepreneurial community is important right now, it’s important to be, you know, just kind of like these, these these live streams, you know, it’s a way of keeping me accountable. It’s a way of keeping me focused on actually you know, what I’m practicing what I’ve been preaching, which is coming out of this crazy time on top.

And so, Thomas, start with a conversation I had with I was having a virtual coffee break with one of my team members today. And you know, we were just, you know, you know how it goes, we’re kind of just shooting the shit as as the expression goes, we were talking about, you know, he’s a real movie buff and he loves, you know, All kinds of especially superhero movies, and DC is a big I’m fighting between the DC and the Marvel stuff.

And, you know, we were talking and he came up and said he just prefers to buy movies than to buy into a subscription for Netflix or, or, you know, Disney plus or, you know, Hulu or whichever, you know, the one of these streaming services. Yeah, I just, he told me, he said, I’d rather buy them that way. They’re me, and they’re mine.

And I can watch them, you know, 30 years from now 40 years from now I can still watch them and nobody can take them away. And I don’t have to be paying forever just to watch a movie that I that I like, and, you know, I looked at him I said, Well, you know, I get the concept. But, you know, you you you really have to really stop and think it’s not like that, you know, you know you are you still you know is that blu ray disc that you’re buying. You’re going to still have a player in 30 years from now.

Are there going to be compatible cables to connect it to your TV? Is that going to be possible? You know, how long is that physical disk going to last before it degrades? I mean, they aren’t made for, you know, for certainly not been proven to last for for 30 years, you know, depending I guess on how much you use them, and how will you take care of them? And then will the encoding formats of the content be compatible? You know, there’s so many questions that bring into doubt the, you know, whether or not, you know, you’re actually purchasing something that you know, or if you’re actually just renting it for a little bit longer period.

And in my opinion, you’re not even buying the content because, you know, I said, you know, you cannot, you don’t have a right to make a backup of it. All you’re really buying is a license to view the content for as long as this one physical object keeps working and when it breaks They’re not going to give you another one, they’re not going to you can’t, you can’t keep it, you can’t copy it off into a hard drive and keep a copy of it just in case. So, you know, you’re you’re not, you know, sometimes things aren’t as seeming, they’re not what they seem.

And, and the reason I’m telling you this story and you know, the, you know, we we both laughed it off and you know, he’s gonna, I’m sure he’s gonna keep on buying his blu ray disc, I don’t think I convinced anybody. And it got me thinking about, you know, some of the things that have been going on, you know, in this crisis, you know, and and how fragile things that we take for granted and we think that they’re going to be for forever, and they really aren’t. You know, today we have another almost 4 million people on assets signing up for unemployment in the US.

Over 30 million now. We’re really talking about Great Depression numbers. Spain, the economy dropped over 5% in the first quarter. And that’s only with a few couple of weeks of lockdown. Imagine what the second quarter is going to look like. Because, you know, it’s a beautiful day here in Spain, you know that one thing they’ll never do is take away the Spanish sunshine. And, you know, there’s still great wine and great food and it’s still a marvelous place to be.

But, you know, the truth is that, despite all those intrinsic values, so much about what we’ve constructed, and we think of as immovable elements of our society really aren’t your jobs aren’t as secure as he thought your clients aren’t as, you know, as reliable as you thought, you know, the maybe the business processes that you that you had in place and you thought were really solid. Now you’re seeing some of them aren’t, you know, maybe your marketing initiatives aren’t as good as you thought they were.

And you know, the point of this livestream isn’t to try depress you more than you already are. It’s to, hopefully now take you back and walk you through sort of some of the things that I’ve been hearing from people and the thoughts that these, these, all of these conversations have caused in me, and try to bring them to leverage them so that you get something of value out of the work that I’ve been doing, by you know, just trying to be out there for different entrepreneurs.

And, you know, I, this hasn’t been a an exercise in trying to market myself or sell more services. You know, any of those people that have been talking to me recently, they know. Business may come from them. But it’s not that’s not the objective. I’m not trying to make this transactional. So let me tell you a few of the things I’ve heard just just recently today, somebody told me cash is king.

So you know, I’m really seeing it in my business now. cash is king people are you know, they if they’ve got reserves, they are tightening their fist as hard as they can to not lose too. And it’s really getting hard to make sales. It’s really, you know, business owners are really tight fisted right now they don’t want to commit to anything because they’re scared. They’re running scared. And we’ve talked about this over the last few weeks. And then the guy told me most of my deals are on hold. It’s just it just overnight, they all started crashing.

But then again, I’ve talked to other people and they say we’re doing more business than ever. We’ve never been this busy before. And they weren’t in, you know, the kinds of, you know, frontline businesses, you might think that would be booming, you know, they weren’t manufacturing, you know, medical supplies or anything like that there. But, you know, not every business is is, you know, affected the same way. But one of the things that almost everybody has told me is, wow, this is a typical, it’s not, you know, there this isn’t.

You know, even the ones that are saying, Hey, we’re doing a lot of business, they told me, you know, but we are having, you know, but, but things are different. It’s not, you know, it’s not. It’s not business as usual. And that’s one of the lessons that I think we really all need to focus on. It’s not business as usual. It could be businesses better in many, many, many cases, probably almost, you know, the vast majority of businesses works, okay. But, like I’ve been telling you so many times over the last weeks, it’s not business as usual. You must reframe everything that you’re doing, in light of a different reality.

And that is one of the biggest lessons I’ve seen. You know, it isn’t, you can’t, you know, you can’t be doing the same things. You can’t be focused on the same messages and the same offers that you had before. Something I’ve noticed people are more open to collaborations than ever before. People are, especially in the entrepreneur community. I have noticed that you know, there is everybody is open to considering new ways of working and finding synergies and finding ways to come out on top and I think this is great.

So that’s another of the reasons I think that right now, just being out there is so important, just not hiding not hunkering dare I putting yourself into situations where you’re having conversations where you’re talking to people where you’re marketing yourself, you’re putting yourself you know, your business is is is is still visible, you’re opening the door to all sorts of collaborations that maybe before would have slipped my mind, they would have not been, you know, nobody would have put in the time to think of it was really worthwhile.

And some of them may be kind of useless. I mean, you know, I’m not gonna lie to you some of the conversations I’ve had have been, you know, really nice conversations, but they’re not going anywhere. They’re there. It’s not a good fit. It’s not, you know, I don’t, there’s not, there’s nothing I can do that really helped them or there’s nothing they really need that, you know, for me, or, you know, or they’re in a completely different market and it just doesn’t make sense.

That’s, that’s great too. But when I’ve been having all these kind of you would be so surprised at how many really interesting projects are out there that are open to finding ways of, you know, re conducting and making changes and and and working with other entrepreneurs to keep everybody collectively afloat. And I think that is a, you know, one of the most, you know, the, I think one of the best lessons I’ve learned out of this next is that the world is still full of opportunities.

Okay? This isn’t, you know, there it can get so easy to think that, Oh, well, everybody caches Can everybody is learning what little or or you know, a few resources or many resources that they have. They’re just not willing to use it. That’s not true. There are opportunities out there. There are people purchasing, there are people making investments, there are people launching new initiatives every day. And you know, there are consumers that are buying and every day, I mean, e commerce is booming. So it’s not that there aren’t opportunities.

It’s how you focus your response and how you position your business to take advantage of these opportunities and how willing you are to pivot to, to Willow to you know, look up to look down to look left and to look right. That will help you see these opportunities, grab them and convert them into something that can keep you going. So, you know, don’t listen to anybody who says there’s not opportunity out there because there is there’s a lot of it. Now, the next point I had on my list is it’s probably not the time for seven figure conversations. Okay.

And you know, maybe I’m reflecting here, my my perspective from where my businesses and you know, the types of people I’m talking to, but even when I talk to people that I know in the in Silicon Valley in the in, you know, VC companies, people that have, you know, that are accustomed to, you know, big deals. Those big deals are not the promises of Probably the time to be actively trying to get there. Okay? That, you know, at least if you’re if you’re looking to fundraise now and you need seven figures or eight figures, you got to be ready, it’s going to be an uphill battle, and you’re going to give away more than you probably with a will feel like you should. Okay.

So maybe the answer is, okay, how stop thinking that way and start reframing your vision in a way that doesn’t require that in a short term. Okay? Because maybe that means that you need to refocus and say, the idea the core service or the core problem that I’m solving, maybe it can be resolved in a simpler way or with less investment upfront or, you know, how can I do this with you know, how can I do this with Half a million instead of 5 million.

And sure those aren’t fun conversation maybe, you know, that’s that means it’s going to take longer Maybe it means that you’re not going to scale as quickly as you’d like or you’re going to have to, you know, growth hack this in a way that you you know, didn’t perceive before. But the honest to god truth is that this business that comes out may be much more solid because of that, okay? Sometimes, you know, when capital is flowing very freely, you know, it’s the the microscope that we look at. Every little piece of the puzzle is isn’t as focused because you can you have more room to kind of you to screw up things.

Now you got to be more careful. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the goals that you want to achieve. That doesn’t mean maybe now’s a great time to think about doing a distributed Ico What’s that? Well, if you’re not really sure about what a distributed Ico is, you got really two choices. First, you can go and scroll down on my LinkedIn profile, and I got a whole video on this. And I really walked through and I explained it.

So that is one way to do it. And the other thing is to grab a copy of my book, Behold the crypto printers. It’s on Amazon, it’s you can get it in Kindle version or paper version. It’s not expensive. It’s a great read. And you can learn what a distributed Ico is. Okay, that was a shameless plug that I just very elegantly squeezed into the conversation. But, you know, that is a way of raising money for a project that doesn’t require a huge, you know, upfront amount of capital, because it spreads it out over time based on the planet planning and using a smart contract to make it all happen together.

Nothing less than lesson I’ve learned and it’s come up in several conversations I’ve had is making Your skeleton stance is more important than ever. And if you don’t know if you’ve ever heard this phrase, it’s I really recommend that you go out and Google it, you learn about making skeleton stance. But the idea here is that now is the time that you really need to put when you’re taking your prospects through that buyers journey to ending up being, you know, enthusiastic customers in your business.

Be sure to not hide the objections, get them out up front, make them convert them, you can you can position them as you know as strengths in many cases, and just by getting them out of the way ahead of time. You can eliminate a lot of barriers. And right now in a market like this, where cash is king, eliminating those objections and those barriers up front is really, really important. So I definitely recommend that you make your skeleton stance. And then just have two more here and we’re going to wrap up.

One is look at the big picture. Okay? This is a great time for you to be taking a step back and really looking at the big picture of your business of your market of the problem to solve the offers, you have the message that you have the content you’re putting out there, and really give it all up, get the brush and the soap and the water, get rid of all those virus, you know, particles molecules on on all of those things, clean them up, buff it up, make it pretty, and look at the big picture of your business. Because you know, now as you’re going to make changes, you might as well make them strategically and not just reactively. And tactically, as the waves come crashing over.

You’re about you know, you’ve got to now is an opportunity for you to take a strategic view of your business and make the hard decisions and the end and the thoughtfulness decisions that maybe you had been putting off so far. And last but not least, like I hinted at this earlier, don’t be overly transactional in your market, okay be transactional in your sales, okay? I’m not saying you do need to be going for the sale in anybody who’s listening to me knows that I’m all about making the same. But in your relationships with your customers with your audience. Now is a good time to, you know, be more of a listener, more of a advisor, more of a, you know, really put effort into treating your audience like family.

And that goes back to what I was saying people are open to collaborations and they’re open even to helping you. When maybe, you know, just a few weeks ago, they wouldn’t even have considered it because people are, you know, my belief anyway is that people are naturally good natured, good hearted. And if you focus and you really transmit an authentic message that that shows that you care about your clients, about your audience about the people that you’re talking to. And I hope that comes across in what I’m talking about you you’re building something that will last longer than this crazy COVID-19 crisis.

So, with that in mind, I hope you’ve enjoyed this pep talk slash rant slash, I don’t know, but it was a live stream today. It was a Thursday. Tomorrow, we have an awesome guest on anybody knows that right now. The crypto markets are just once again, going crazy. And we’re going to have somebody on tomorrow. That is going to give us really cool insight into that. I think you’re gonna like it a lot. So, yeah, until then take care. Stay safe, and we’ll see you tomorrow.