The Resilience and Adaptation of Entrepreneurs

3 mins read

Janet Tarbet

Director, Family Office Services

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often

Winston Churchill

During the past few weeks, we have all made changes to our business and personal lives, some of which we did not think were even possible. In the words of our chief executive, James Fleming, the recent crisis has ‘catapulted us forward several generations’ in terms of digitalisation and work place trends, amongst others.

Retired medical professionals have gone back to work to support the front line, some parents have become part-time teachers and almost all of us have got to grips with virtual meeting software such as Bluejeans, Zoom or Microsoft Teams!

Meeting these demands, and many others, in this ever-changing environment shows how resilient and adaptable individuals and businesses can be. We have focused in recent times on gaining perspectives on the resilience of families of wealth, the resilience of businesses and now, more than ever, utilising networks and supporting each other for the best outcome of clients is imperative.

Recent times have also shown us how changing your ‘modus operandi’ can be a positive experience. Entrepreneurs and those managing businesses, both large and small, have changed their existing business models. Many have produced much needed hand sanitiser, PPE or meals to those in need. An increasing number of restaurants and delis moved to food delivery and on-line homemade produce. Those providing training and education switched to apps and on-line portals. The entertainment industry streamed plays and live music on Facebook and Twitch.

The diversification and the speed at which entrepreneurs and companies did so, has shown flexibility and adaptability, all of which can be said to be factors in resilience. Needless to say those with the slickest e-commerce operations and those who managed to shift their focus to the ever increasing demands, have come out the winners during this time.

The demand for on-line retail as a proportion of all retail sales reached a record high of 30.7% in April according to the Office of National Statistics. However, it’s not all bad news for the high street, as cycle shops, for example, have been allowed to stay open as an essential service. The quieter roads, amazing weather, together with a safer means of commuting to work, saw bicycle sales in the UK increase by 50% year-on-year in April. Wiggle, the on-line sports retailer has seen an increase in cycle sales of 192% since the beginning of March.

As our health and wellbeing rose to the top of our agenda, we were also encouraged to exercise at least once a day. Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ became a household name, with up to six million tuning into his live YouTube channel daily at 9am. Health, fitness and wellness trends are being closely scrutinised as technology disrupts ‘bricks and mortar’ gyms.

The World Health Organisation wanted to enhance the social aspect of playing games on-line, where players can join and get a sense of being amongst friends, while encouraging the strict rules of physical distance. They partnered with many giants from the gaming industry such as Zynga and Activation Blizzard to promote a campaign called #PlayApartTogether to encourage their vast network of users to self-protect for the sake of their families and communities. In the first quarter of 2020, we have spent a record $23.4 billion worldwide on mobile apps and the continuing trend and use of technology is now part of our everyday lives. More information on this will follow in our upcoming digitalisation paper.

In recent times, our families have told us that those who showed empathy and supported each other through what has been a difficult time for commercial businesses, charities and with mental health will be remembered the most.

We have a long history of supporting entrepreneurs, business owners and their families at various stages of their journey, from raising early stage capital to enjoying the fruits of their hard work. A common theme that runs through all their lives is the ability to view change as a positive, to embrace it and then to look forward.