It’s fair to say we’re currently fully submerged in an economic crisis, where the cost of living is a barrier to entry for so many things, not least of all, starting a new business. I empathise with anyone in this position; I’m here as someone who launched their business at the start of lockdown in 2020 and rode the storm of uncertainty for the best part of two years.
Part of me questioned if I should dish out words of warning to deter anyone from the increased financial pressures induced by a drive to make something work. Inflation’s currently dancing around 9%, who has the capital to speculate on an idea? But ever the optimist, I decided to go against the grain. There are enough dire statistics and objectively spun Dooms Day articles in the press to make any prospective business owner think twice about starting out or seeking investment, but if the vision is clear enough to get you out of bed in the morning, I say ‘go for it’!
With ETHOS, I knew what I wanted to achieve couldn’t be done by anyone else. The saying ‘be the change you want to see’, rang true. I saw through the social media networks that graced my home screen, with the unsolicited ads, the ever-changing algorithms, and the noise. To say I was disillusioned suggests I expected more from them, which isn’t actually true; I didn’t expect more from them, I just knew there needed to be more available. And I knew with the right team, I could build it.
In the midst of lockdown, we ran proof of concept testing on an early version of the platform. Over the six-week testing period, we saw 40,000 downloads from the App Store! That was 40,000 people who heard what we were building and decided it was a platform they wanted to be a part of. Granted, we weren’t ready for them (that was a far harder lesson to learn!) BUT we now had the strength of a whole community behind us and the confidence to sit in front of some very powerful investors.
Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’ When your app near crashes as a result of the influx you’ve unreservedly invited in, it would be so easy to cower away and feel out of your depth. Resilience is knowing you can find a way to do it better the next time.
Resilience is continuing a pitch despite overt references to age and gender; knowing the business plan speaks for itself, and in fact, those factors being highlighted are your superpowers.
And finally, resilience is seeing the landscape evolving at a rapid pace, whilst you carry on developing in the shadows, still confident in your convictions and knowing you will enter the market stronger from the challenges you’ve overcome.
Tough climates aren’t a red flag to business progress, in fact, tough climates can be some of the most opportunistic for anyone bold enough. Block out the noise, ignore the articles and just go for it, because resilience is a superpower.