The secret to sustaining your business? Knowing how to slow down time and “hyper focus” | SehndeWeb

As the world opens up more and more with each passing month, many individual entrepreneurs and small business owners want to make sure they can keep the party going and protect themselves from future disruptions.

For ideas, I recently spoke with Ken Tencer, CEO of SpyderWorks, a strategy consulting boutique in Toronto, and host of the Say Hi to the Future podcast, which focuses on the power of human ingenuity. His company hosted the “Hi (Human Ingenuity) Columbus” Summit for Entrepreneurs, held in November 2021, with the Columbus College of Art and Design, examining the power of smart, inventive, and original thinking. Tencer is also the author of cause a disturbancea book on innovation, and The 90% Rule: What’s Your Next Big Opportunity? Here is an edited excerpt from our conversation.

Elaine Pofeldt: How has Covid changed the way you think as an entrepreneur?

Ken Tencer: Working for 25 years as an entrepreneur, we have been through recessions and the Great Recession. There is no precedent in our life for what we have been through for the past two years. I remember driving home during our first major lockdown. It was this incredible realization that billions of people were simultaneously having the same experience in the same 30 days. It was remarkable. When you think of 1 degree of separation, 2 degrees. We were there, in real time and in real life, going through the same thing as everyone else in the world.

I’m lucky, and I don’t say this lightly, to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table. I know if it was 25 years earlier, I wouldn’t have done it. I started thinking about young entrepreneurs and people who had invested all their money in their business, the predicament they must have found themselves in, the emotional strain and physical stress that comes with such extreme uncertainty. . There was no secret sauce or pivot for companies taken on the wrong side, like hotels and restaurants.

There were a lot of things that could have put me out of business—there weren’t many directions to take—but then I thought about young entrepreneurs. My daughter is a dancer and choreographer, and the studios have just closed. She turned to social media marketing.

Elaine Pofeldt: What finally helped you through the crisis?

Ken Tencer: My late father was a very successful entrepreneur. He taught me that when things are bad or difficult, you have to slow down time. What he meant by that was that if you look at the totality of a crisis, it can overwhelm you. You really have to start looking at everything as one problem. What was I going to do with my team? What was I going to do with my establishment? What was I going to do with my service offer?

If it’s overwhelming to think about what you’re going to do today, what can you do in the next 15 minutes? I think that was one of the best crisis management lessons I’ve ever had. Slow down time and focus on a specific task at hand and a specific time frame: For the next 15 minutes, I’m going to focus on that.

You absolutely have to look ahead. Looking to the future is one of the tasks. I go to my whiteboard and one of the channels is “Something I need to think about”. Then I focus on one part of each at a time. It’s like a checkerboard on the wall. I end up working in three or four different areas every day. I don’t try to attack everything at once. This is what paralyzes you emotionally. You must unpack each bag individually.

Elaine Pofeldt: How did you find the opportunity?

Ken Tencer: There was companies that have really exploded, parts of many companies that have exploded. Often they would talk about things that people were worried about. It’s really hard to work on a long-term strategy in the middle of a pandemic. So, at my company, we’ve streamlined our service offerings in areas that deal with ambiguity and frantic change.

For example, I started a conference on macrotrends. How do we look to the future? Things that happened in 5 to 10 years that happen in 1 to 2 years. I created a product from that, a workshop that I could do in person or virtually. I think that’s the only thing you can do: understand what’s really important to customers. There are still customers and there is still an economy.

We could have flipped the switch and said, “People don’t look at traditional business strategy. Instead, we took a step back and asked, “What are they looking at and how do they want it delivered?” » We launched our first program in 10 working days. We put each person to move it on an online platform.

Elaine Pofeldt: There is a positive in almost every situation. What do you hope we will hang on to after the pandemic?

Ken Tencer: It reminded me of the importance of passion, wild curiosity and daring – it really boiled down to those three values. There are people who really want to push the limits. Beyond that, hopefully more humanity has crept in and will remain.

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