We all are waking up to find ourselves in an altered world each morning. We can flip through the news on our phones about which countries imposed travel restrictions, and which offices and services in our communities are no longer functioning.
But each morning, I wake up to 20 new ideas in my inbox and 100 offers of hope and support on my social media feed. I have the privilege of serving as CEO of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a membership association of 14,000 entrepreneurs in 65 countries around the world. Entrepreneurs do not catch up on news and wonder how they will face the COVID-19 crisis. Entrepreneurs jump in to offer solutions.
Our average members’ business size is US$5 million in annual revenue. So a large proportion of our members are the “small businesses” you are reading about that are fighting for the survival of their businesses. But many of our members are also “serial entrepreneurs”—who have opened a large number of businesses and closed quite a few along the way. They are accustomed to the ups and downs.
Although many EO members are in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, travel and tourism, we also have members whose businesses are in online sales, marketing, software and remote work solutions. Every day, members with online companies are offering to share their expertise with our members with brick and mortar operations. EO members whose businesses are coaching, strategic planning and consulting are offering free services to help their peers get back on their feet. Most of our members have survived major periods of adversity and know that support and fellowship can help a fellow entrepreneur face his or her worst fears and find a way forward.
Our EO chapter in Italy came together—virtually—over the weekend to share their stories about the impact of the quarantine. They gave their advice to other members to help them prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 in our communities.
Later this week, our EO members in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have come through two to three terrible months, will share their stories of unity and support in the face of crisis with those who are just beginning to face the devastating impact of coronavirus.
Although EO members’ businesses are facing severe crises, entrepreneurs are driven to seek new ways forward and to find the opportunities in adversity. We have issued a call to action to EO’s 14,000+ entrepreneurs to find solutions for our COVID-19 crisis:
- How do we keep our people working and earning a living?
- How do we find new ways to achieve our goals, to protect and grow our businesses?
These are not simple questions. It will certainly take some time to build out initial answers and keep improving them. But I can assure you, when you are feeling doubt about our world and our ability to come together for the greater good, EO members are working every day (and many nights) in their businesses to keep their people working and earning a living. They will not stop until they have identified new ways to protect and grow their businesses.
And at every step, EO members will be sharing what they have experienced with entrepreneurs in every corner of the globe so that we all get back to a changed—but positive—normal.
Carrie Santos, CEO