2 Traits of Entrepreneurs Who Will Survive the Pandemic

Chelsie Lee, CEO of Shipsi, shares 2 qualities of COVID-Proof entrepreneurs.

Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

Business in 2020 is a warzone.

Already, multiple companies around me have either gone under, or sold for pennies on the dollar. Competitors, peers, partners, you name it. And the carnage is nowhere near finished.

But here’s what I’ve noticed in all this:

Certain entrepreneurs are not just surviving…They’re actually thriving.

I’m happy to say that my company SHIPSI is currently in the “thriving” category. While the sky is falling around us, we’ve found ourselves in a stage of “violent hypergrowth,” as one of our investors put it. Yes — even during the pandemic.

Here’s what we’ve done to get there:

1. We’re focused on where the ball is going.

Imagine you’re playing catch with a friend. If they toss the ball way up in the air, what’s the first thing you do?

You guess where the ball is going to land. And you get under it.

It doesn’t matter where the ball is right now. All that matters is where it’s going.

Are you building for the NOW, or are you building for the FUTURE?

The rules are changing fast. What worked in January 2020 doesn’t work today. As the markets reopen…will your clients expect a different experience?

My company SHIPSI is a same-day and scheduled delivery service — and we were prepared to 10x our deliveries and our revenue. But then COVID-19 hit, and the majority were put on hold due to lockdowns.

So we had to adapt. We asked: “What will our customers be wanting in this new environment?”

Our technology allows retailers to connect to our massive network of drivers to make lightning-fast deliveries — without them having to manage anything. But our problem was, our clients were strapped for time and cash. Nobody even has time to get set up.

And that’s when it hit us. We have to find a way to remove the time commitment entirely.

So we found a way to offer a “no-setup” option. This way, any brand, retailer, or small shop can be up and running on the first day they contact us — and instantly connect to our network of over 1M+ drivers in 850+ U.S. cities.

This has been the deciding factor in multiple HUGE deals we’ve made recently.

Where is your prospect going to be investing in the future? Find it, and you’ll be on your way to thriving.

2. We know when we need to “fail fast” and move on, and when to keep pushing in the same direction.

Sometimes what you’re doing isn’t working.

And you can either keep trying, or give up.

Here’s the thing: Neither is bad.

But you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to get good at knowing when to do one, and when to do the other.

Our same-day delivery service started as a simple app for small stores.

We had poured so much money and time into it. But it just wasn’t working.

I realized that I was trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. We had to change or we wouldn’t survive.

About that time, I realized the HUGE opportunity with larger retailers. They’ve been beaten down by Amazon Prime over the last decade and they’re looking for a way to survive themselves.

So, once we handled the integration barrier I discussed above, we put ALL our resources toward getting as many “whale” deals as we could.

It was hard to change strategies because I’m not a quitter. But I followed the money, and it paid off. Big time.

So if you’re struggling, ask yourself: Have you found your best customer? Have you found the best possible version of your product for that customer? Have you found the best marketing channel to reach that customer? If you answered all 3 yes, don’t give up. But if you answered at least 1 no, consider changing your approach.

Thriving businesses innovate until they find the money. And once you find it, THEN you dive into “never give up” mode.

These 2 ideas have brought us from the danger zone, to hypergrowth. If things aren’t working for you right now, reevaluate your approach in these two ways. They might just change your business forever.

Chelsie Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of SHIPSI, the company that enables retailers to offer same-day and scheduled delivery without managing any of the logistics. She’s a retail, technology, and supply chain expert who has consulted 500+ top retailers and brands on business strategy, growth, and execution. Her work has led to her being nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as being featured in publications like the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. Chelsie is a Minnesota native, yoga instructor, and surf enthusiast residing in Venice, CA.

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