Retirement

Thank you for the crisis!

In times of crisis, entrepreneurial foresight is requiredimago images / Westend61

“You can’t always get what you want” – one of my favorite Rolling Stones song. Mick Jagger sings: “But if you try sometime you find you get what you need …”

Yes, if we try, there is a chance we will get what we need. And that’s what it’s all about! So let’s try …

Timo Kaapke

What do we as entrepreneurs do with the crisis? We cannot change the situation; that is beyond our control. But we can choose our attitude towards the crisis: How we want to deal with it and how we can and want to use the crisis for ourselves and our company.

Because: The Corona crisis is not the end. She is the beginning. Because Corona makes noticeable what was already in trouble before Corona. This is becoming more visible now than ever before. In the company and with us entrepreneurs. Many of us are now realizing that we are not fulfilling our entrepreneurial role in the way we want, could and would not have to.

You, we, I have it in your hands how we deal with the crisis. And so my question to you is: Are you still a victim or are you already shaping your future success?

Which we haven’t already rocked

“Design, of course!” I am convinced that most of you will answer this question that way, especially if you are a medium-sized company. Because that is what the medium-sized companies master very well: Turning problems into solutions. Tackle. Do.

What I have observed again and again in the last few weeks is that many medium-sized entrepreneurs run the risk of getting worn out from being so busy. You miss the great opportunity to create a beginning for something new from Corona. We have rocked so much in Germany and in our medium-sized companies in the last few months.

Corona caught most of us off guard. Zack – it was there, the biggest crisis in decades. Worldwide. In your own company. At everyone’s front door. In your own four walls. But what did we not learn in the first wave!

Coping with the shock. As an entrepreneur, I at least found the first wave mentally very stressful. Suddenly tasks popped up that I had never thought about before. For example, “How do I do that with communication when everyone is in the home office?” Or “How do we get the amount of data we need through the network available to us?” Or “Who do I contact about short-time work?” that you raised other, but probably no fewer, questions.

I think we did a good job. We have tackled. It was exhausting. But we really rocked this critical situation really well. But now we have the second wave.

Hand on heart

Corona is like a magnifying glass. Things that were already in trouble before now became visible. This affects companies as well as entrepreneurs.

In the first wave, we entrepreneurs were not challenged in our role as entrepreneurs, but rather as specialists and managers. That was okay too.

But now we have a different situation: we have the new operational things under control. We managed what had to be managed. You and I – we have to get out of the triple agent mode entrepreneur / manager / specialist in order not to be washed away by the second wave (or the third or the fourth). Because hand on heart: The biggest business problems that are emerging now also existed before Corona.

In a study from January 2020, 1,500 managing directors and owners from medium-sized businesses were asked what they consider to be the greatest threats to the development of their company. The two top answers were: increasing competition and a shortage of skilled workers. Nothing has changed on these issues.

Maybe they worsened, but they were there long ago. Corona has only made these issues more urgent. And here I see the opportunity for you. That you now tackle what is most important for you as an entrepreneur and also for your company: your own entrepreneurship!

I’m looking forward to what’s to come

The best – and most responsible – that you can do now as an entrepreneur is to leave the specialist profession to your specialists and the management to your managers – and to fully assume your entrepreneurial role. “But if you try … You get what you need!”

Because your entrepreneurial creative power is in demand now more than ever. And it just works if you wear yourself out as a triple agent. This is your very own competency as an entrepreneur: you look ahead, smell opportunities, roll up your sleeves and start creating something new. A new product. A new market entry. A new customer base. A new understanding of how companies can be – and entrepreneurs. A new way of working together in the company. New impulses for our society …

And that is why I call on you, like all other medium-sized companies, to act more as an entrepreneur! And exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs. Because without this exchange you will quickly slip back into the role of a specialist or manager.

In any case, I am looking forward to what medium-sized companies will achieve – and I am very excited to see what, for example, you will do with the big big bang with the initial letter C.

I am quite sure that many of us medium-sized companies will look back at some point and say: “It wasn’t all great at the time, but without Corona I would be an entrepreneur, we would not have become so successful as a company!”


Timo Kaapke is an entrepreneur, diver, author, keynote speaker and a sought-after sparring partner for medium-sized companies throughout Germany. In his new book “Creating Happy Things: How I found out what an entrepreneur really is”, he takes entrepreneurs on a deep dive into a world of work in which “creating happy things” is not a contradiction in terms.


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