Survival: will I make it? A new venture: should I go for it?
The answers are still unknown for many business owners and entrepreneurs impacted by the economic crisis and the continued uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. A group of South Florida women business leaders examined these challenges during a panel presented by accounting firm Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra (MBAF) July 23.
The panelists, whose expertise includes academia, public relations, publishing and restaurant ownership, discussed how entrepreneurs can develop the skill sets necessary to move forward, survive and, ultimately, thrive.
“Most important is the skill to succeed with unknowns and to accept a high level of uncertainty,” said Joanne Li, dean of the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU Business). “It’s up to the candidate to determine if they have the responsibility – to ask themselves, ‘If I have to wear multiple hats, do I have the will to do that?’ – and the resilience to succeed.”
“Conversations with Leaders Changing the Face of Business” was part of an annual event hosted by MBAF’s Women’s Network, which provides professional development and mentorship opportunities to the firm’s female employees. The presentation’s other participants were:
- Adrianne Calvo, Chef and Owner, Redfish, Cracked Eatery and Chef Adrianne’s Restaurant
- Johanna Mikkola, CEO, Wyncode Academy
- Christine Barney, CEO, rbb Communications
- Melanie Dickinson, Publisher, South Florida Business Journal
South Florida startups and established businesses alike have been forced to terminate or furlough staff, close their doors for extended periods and reinvent their formats to cut expenses and raise revenue.
“At this time when we’re struggling to survive, hoping to come out on the other side, you’re trying to please customers,” said Adrianne Calvo, chef and owner of three restaurants in South Florida. “You have to find the pride and motivation within you to keep going, to continue to put out the best of you, to stay in business.”
The plan: scrutinize, communicate, and act.
“Now is the time to put the house in order, examine your working capital, and put a microscope on your finances,” said Li. “You have to have an acute sense of allocating resources in the most efficient and practical way, to be more disciplined in scrutinizing every single dollar you’re going to spend.”
Barney noted that taking action, increasing communication and hunting for business are imperative. “You can’t sit waiting for this to end to take your next proactive step.”
Despite the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, the experts believe some entrepreneurs will see opportunities, and those thinking of changing paths will act.
“It will further put the winds beneath the wings of creativity,” said Johanna Mikkola, CEO of Wyncode Academy, a web development training firm. “Raising capital may be a little more challenging and they will face financial difficulties, but we’ll see some great things emerge from this situation.”
The panelists agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic will produce opportunities for growth, but business owners and entrepreneurs will have to seize them.
“You have to be resilient and fight for what you want,” said Melanie Dickinson, publisher of the South Florida Business Journal. “This is going to be a while, so it’s really important to have a can-do attitude and maintain the ability to adapt and to innovate.”