Why I’m not dismayed by the post-crisis economic projections

Post-crisis economic projections are dire. I’m not impressed

Business leaders and economists are forecasting dire post-crisis economic projections — perhaps the worst downturn of our lifetime. Certainly, the rapid bounce-back of the “V curve” seems improbable at this point.

But I’m not as bearish as many others for a simple reason. Economists can’t account for ingenuity.

The government isn’t going to bring us through this crisis. Politicians (at least in the U.S.) are more concerned about holding their seats and creating slick TV sound bites than leading us.

But businesses will step up to figure this out. It’s already happening.

The day New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made face masks mandatory, I started seeing Facebook ads for Pittsburgh Steelers face masks. My favorite team. On my face. Boom.

Go America.

Innovation will win

“Every tech entrepreneur that I know is spending time on the pandemic response,” CEO of global start-up accelerator The Founder Institute Adeo Ressi told CNBC. “Many innovations will result from this global focus.”

Robert Herjavec of “ Shark Tank “ fame said the entrepreneurial spirit of America makes him optimistic about the U.S. economy despite the post-crisis economic projections.

“The human condition is about hope,” Herjavec said in a TV interview. “Every time someone comes on ‘Shark Tank,’ they’re full of hope and they’re full of optimism. This is a challenging time but entrepreneurs will figure it out.”

Another one of my Shark Tank favorites, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, is adamant that capitalism and Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit will fuel an economic rebound that will birth several “world-changing companies.”

In an interview, he said, “The one thing about the United States of America that’s different than every other country on the planet is that we’re a country of entrepreneurs. We look to start businesses. When we talk about the American Dream, when we talk about rags-to-riches stories, it starts with an entrepreneur coming up with an idea and executing on that idea.”

Businesses rise up

Here are a few examples of businesses rising up to meet the needs of the coronavirus crisis in inspiring ways!

  • More than 100 distilleries have converted their lines to manufacture hand sanitizer. A couple of big companies have joined in, including Anheuser-Busch and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
  • Phone-charging station company ChargedUp has shifted its charging stations to hand sanitizer stations, in an initiative called CleanedUp.
  • Meeting and events industry professionals have been hit particularly hard during this crisis, but they are using their skills at rapidly deploying temporary structures to build a call center to connect COVID-19 response teams with vetted suppliers and resources.
  • NASCAR turned the 3D printing facilities in its R&D lab into a face shield production line. Bauer, the hockey equipment company, switched from making gear for the ice to creating specialized medical gear to be worn in conjunction with regular medical masks.
  • In Western Pennsylvania, a local rancher has brought back home milk delivery and has added beef, butter, bacon, and other local farm products to his services. He described the new demand as “a tidal wave.”
  • A vending machine operator pulled all its machines out of entertainment venues and placed them in apartment buildings with healthy food options.
  • 17-year-old Genevieve Sutherns started a new business in the middle of the crisis. Each week, she picks about 10 local stores, usually food vendors, and assembles an assortment of their items in a bag that then gets delivered to customers. This is delighting customers and keeping local businesses afloat.
  • Start-up Inokyo, which builds and installs autonomous checking for retail stores, has used its technical knowledge to build a product, Act, specifically to help companies deploy contact-tracing technology to their workplaces and warehouses.
  • Stressed parents trying to entertain kids all day are benefiting from Banjo Robinson, a London-based ed-tech company that pivoted to occupy children through an interactive penpal experience. The company experienced a five-fold increase in daily sales since schools closed.
  • Microgreen kit producer Hamama is helping people grow green produce at home and even in apartments.
  • In one week, Punchpass launched a Zoom integration to let their clients — small fitness and yoga studios — a transition from teaching in-person classes to virtual ones.
  • Wendy Richards expanded her business to manufacture cloth diapers for parents who can’t get disposable diapers at the store. She is now working round-the-clock to meet demand. In the second week of March, her daily revenue more than tripled to $23,000 a day.
  • Chicago’s iPromo, a promotional products (aka swag) business, hit a brick wall in early March as trade shows came to a halt. Within five days, the company leveraged its deep sourcing relationships in China to find suppliers of hand sanitizer, face masks, thermometers, and other health-related goods and roll out an online sales platform called iHealth. “We’ve done a 180-degree turn as a company,” the owner said. “iHealth is literally what’s keeping us alive.”
  • Start-up Decent created an insurance program specifically for self-employed workers. Their business has tripled since early March. Previously uninsured people rushed to get coverage in case they fell ill during the coronavirus outbreak.

Reading through these little stories helps you see the incredible potential of the entrepreneurial spirit. And that’s why I’m not dismayed by the post-crisis economic projections.

Coming out of the Great Depression, 9/11, the World Financial Crisis, the projections were uniformly dire — and wrong.

The most influential and important events are the ones that emerge spontaneously and with little warning — like the coronavirus itself. We will have millions of those events ahead of us. The innovators, creators, and makers will lead us to the other side.

America, we were built for this.

I appreciate you and the time you took out of your day to read this! You can find more articles like this from me on the top-rated {grow} blog and while you’re there, take a look at my Marketing Companion podcast and my keynote speaking page. For news and insights find me on Twitter at @markwschaeferand to see what I do when I’m not working, follow me on Instagram.

Originally published at https://businessesgrow.com on May 4, 2020.

Keynote speaker, strategy consultant, Rutgers University marketing faculty and author of 9 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Cumulative Advantage.

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