Did you hear this anytime in the last 2 years? “…and then the pandemic happened.”
Yep, that was me after I decided to start a new company in 2019 where I had planned to change the world!! What I didn’t bargain for was that the world would change on me just as I was getting started.
But I was not going to give up after taking a leap of faith and leaving the comforts of the corporate world to build an AI Learning Solution company. No way! I was on a mission to solve a real problem and help companies accelerate the development of courses to get people trained sooner and grow faster – one I lived myself for most of my career!
So, I pulled the company together, sadly had to make it a little smaller, and relied on what I had learned throughout my career on how to survive when times get tough:
1. Pivot Fast and Adapt
Our business was going great, I had built up to 5 employees within 1 year, we had a revenue stream to fund us, and we were making fantastic progress on the product. Then March 13th, 2020 hit and everything started shutting down, with trips cancelling and people moving to work from home immediately. Our revenue stream halted. I knew I had to make immediate decisions. I learned from the market crash of early 2000s – downsize and focus only on your assets. We pivoted fast and by April our company looked different and we bulldozed forward.
2. Focus on Assets
When things change that are out of your control it’s important that you understand where your customers cut, continue, and increase spending. During the pandemic, our customers were putting a hold on all consulting/services spending and were looking for ways to help support employees working from home, completely digital, and adapt themselves. It was clear to me our services revenue stream would be minimal, we put 100% focus on the product design and development, searched for government funds that could support our innovation, called our advisors for advice, continued networking and started showing companies how we could help them transition to digital learning.
3. Have Patience
I think this is a good thing all the time, but especially when life gives you lemons. Have patience for progress, it will come. Have patience for people, they need time to adjust too and might be struggling. Have patience for your customers, they are figuring out what “the new normal” might be just like you are. Empathy, listening, patience, and understanding – recognizing the human side to change and challenge is a game changer.
4. Appreciate Those Around You
Appreciation is so important. A simple thank you, or you’ve done a great job, or you make a big impact, goes a long way. People work to contribute positively and make an impact (of course they want to collect a paycheck but for many that is not the key motivator), so when you recognize them for that, it creates loyalty and trust. When times are tough, communication and appreciation are a must!
5. Believe it
Wake up every day and believe you will make it. One day at a time, a little more progress, keep the energy going (which for me, was super hard as I worked all day long alongside my husband and 2 boys like so many of you). But I focused and I believed. There were good days and bad days, but we focused on progress and bit by bit built a cool product!
Life “as we knew it” is starting to rebound, and what I love the most is that the problem we are trying to solve (as someone said to me recently) is “as old as developing courses are”. So here we are, we got through the worst and created something awesome, that brings great value. We accomplished a large capital raise and our revenue stream is back on track. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead, and I feel a sense of accomplishment that we made it through the storm and are “hopefully” (knock on wood) on the other side.
Following these 5 steps worked and now the company has tripled since January 2021. We are off to the races and I really feel positive about the future!
If you need to develop content for a course – you know where to find me! We’d love to show you a new way to do it faster and we are very generous with our expertise. Reach out anytime.