Take a chance... and other important career lessons from WBS

18 February 2021

Resilience was key to surviving 2020. Executive MBA participant, John Cancio, shares some valuable career insights from a WBS webinar to enable you to overcome challenges in business.

If the Queen submitted ‘2020’ as a Black Mirror episode, the producers would have rejected the script: a plague; ‘Brexit’; racial unrest; trade war with a smattering of global warming... pick a lane! We truly are living through extremely dark times. Alas! All is not lost. Working from home is the new norm. Making conference calls, and project meetings from the comfort of one’s own living room is here to stay, and even the term ‘all-nighter’ is taken to a whole new level. Every meaningful socio-economic transaction is now being adapted to take place remotely.

However, in this time of turmoil, we look for answers anywhere we can. At Warwick Business School (WBS) the quality of programmes, guidance and events of the CareersPlus team has remained top-notch. Take for example the Entrepreneurship clinics which are now being run virtually via Microsoft Teams to give WBS students and alumni the chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors and gain invaluable feedback.

I recently attended a WBS webinar on the challenges in starting your own business, which taught me a few things about resilience.

Be prepared to pivot

The first idea is infrequently the best. In a difficult time the last thing on one’s mind is to start up a business. But keeping a focused yet malleable mindset sets you apart in the eyes of investors. Those that make it are those who make others believe and have that willingness to change. Today, in social media it dictates public behaviors, there’s a fine line between self-belief and fanaticism. Listen and persist in that determined dynamism. One can take advantage of the sessions such as this, with seasoned practitioners and entrepreneurs offered in the careers support programme to learn how to rise above such challenges.

Take a chance

An incredible example from the webinar was a Lincolnshire-based firm called Your Print Partner. They provide print and graphic design services and their sales forecast was bleak in the face of the worldwide economic slowdown due to the pandemic. However, having made careful assessment of the risks their founder made a difficult decision to re-open their factory in the midst of the pandemic. That decision was rewarded through an unprecedented increase in online sales. Their actual sales leapfrogged forecasts by more than a ten-fold increase and they were well-positioned to help the government’s efforts in the local manufacturing of personal protective equipment.

Show resilience 

In a way it has all gone full circle. Before the industrial revolution there was no nine-to-five or a concept of a “working week”, today one might say we’re back in the same situation because the lines between work and home are blurred. But what I believe the big difference between these eras is that we have built a huge resilience in our society. We have learnt to be back on our feet faster and keep progressing towards those goals better.

Learning institutions like WBS are committed to supporting their students and alumni to reach their career aspirations and lead the change. In the end, it's all about mustering courage and taking that leap, as that ol’ ABBA song goes…”Gonna do my very best; Baby, can’t you see; Gotta put me to the test; Take a chance on me”.

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