Leeds, 26 November 2020 – If there’s one thing we all need right now, it’s faith. Faith that we will make it through 2020. Faith in our abilities as leaders, as managers, as entrepreneurs. Faith in our instincts and experience.
Because, if we are honest with ourselves, there may have been times this year when doubt has started to set in.
This has been a tough time for everyone. For those running businesses, there have been unprecedented challenges. If you are in one of the hard-hit industries, such as travel or hospitality, you may not know whether your business will survive at all. Even if your company traded successfully through lockdown, it may look very different to the way you envisioned, and its future may be clouded in uncertainty.
2020 has been a battle. It is all too easy to blame ourselves when things go wrong – or diverge from the plan. In our rational minds, we know that we are doing all we can to generate positive momentum but, if we don’t move as fast as we’d like, we feel a sense of failure.
I speak to business leaders who tell me they now doubt their abilities and question their decisions. They have been successful in the past but have found this year harder than any before. To anyone feeling this internal struggle, I have this advice: Remember that you are a talented entrepreneur or leader. The success you had in the past was no fluke: you did that. No one could have prepared for a global pandemic.
Everyone has off days. Or even off weeks. My brother recently told me to watch a Netflix show called David Foster: Off the Record. It was all about legendary producer David Foster, who has won 16 Grammy awards. He’s the man behind pop legends like Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Barbara Streisand. The thing that I took from watching that show is that David had unwavering belief in himself. He just knew, in the marrow of his bones, that he was capable of making hit after hit. Until I watched that programme, I didn’t realise that I needed to be reminded of the power of conviction. It was a much-needed dose of inspiration and I heartily recommend it to anyone. Even now that the end is in sight – possible vaccines on the way – the fatigue makes it hard to feel optimistic.
Business failures are rising. I don’t think we’ll know the true cost of COVID until next year. If your business doesn’t make it through this crisis, you must find the strength to come back fighting. The one thing we need right now in the UK – and around the world – is enterprise and innovation.
I know what failure feels like. When I was building Kroustie, my bread business, it never became as successful as I hoped. To others, it wasn’t a failure: But for me, who had such high hopes, it felt like I failed to reach its potential. After that business, I had to get a job. I worked hard for someone else until another opportunity presented itself. The business that I grew next, Masternaut, became a global success story.
You don’t know where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. You may be at the peak or you may yet reach dizzying heights of success – with this business or your next. You won’t know unless you keep pushing on, and having faith. Don’t let this pandemic convince you that you’re no good at your job. You are talented, you are exceptional, and above all, you’ve got this.