Extremely resilient businesses are built during economic crises – Jan Hammer, Index Ventures


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Experts believe the virus outbreak will pave way for new brands of businesses and ideas that will stand the test of time. This insight negates the moods in many organizations and nations.

The pandemic has seen small and big business settle into some austere projections. African businesses have been significantly stifled by the lockdown such that manufacturers and banks are working out prolonged moratorium according to a financial report. In Asia, about 2.5% of Indian GDP will be lost.

Also in Europe the Guardian warned earlier that many retailers will go under as consumers become starved of fund having been put out of job for a protracted period. The Sun Newspaper too reported that one in three small businesses may never reopen.

Despite the gloom and doom, business analysts remain positive.

Jan Hammer, a partner at US-based Index Ventures, said the trend in history reveals that truly great businesses have been born in the period of economic crises. He cited the last global financial crisis between 2008 and 2010 in additions to the great depression of 1907. Those crises birthed Groupon, Uber, Pinterest, General Motors, IBM and HP.

Index Ventures | Jan Hammer | Index Ventures
Jan Hammer of Index Ventures sees opportunities despite economic downturns

“If history gives us a good precedent, out of the last crisis — which was the great financial crisis of 2008 to 2010 — a cohort of extremely resilient businesses have emerged,” Hammer revealed.

More analysts see new opportunities emerging in the political, economic, social and technological (PEST) space as the future of work and society throws up new challenges that demand new solutions. Businesses that can come up with these solutions will stay dominant.

That was seen in the surge in work communication via Zoom, prime viewership on Netflix, and food delivery to homes through Uber Eat and Grubhub during the lockdown.

Lara Vanderberg, a New York based publicist who is launching a new venture this season explained, “Although we are launching a company at this really volatile point in this macro economy, the future of work is an area people are really excited about”.

She added, “And in parallel, it’s just an exciting problem to solve.”

Now is the time for entrepreneurs to dissect the society for core problems emerging from the transformed environment. Periods after wars, recessions, boom and pandemic never leave the socioeconomic environment the same. It changes human realities and the psychology of consumers – areas which businesses can pivot to take advantage of.

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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