written by
Chris Gardener

Why Our Current Problems Could Be Your Next Opportunity

Strategy 6 min read

It's fair to say that coronavirus has brought with it a monumental number of changes to the way we – currently, at least – are living our lives.

Many of those changes … such as the lack of social contact, and the inability to be in close proximity to others … I, like most people, am not much enjoying.

Other changes, however, I'm finding far more enjoyable.

And one of the things I'll admit to enjoying most, is watching the many different ways in which people, and businesses … and even celebrities … are “adapting”.

The new THINGS that they are doing … or the new WAYS they are finding to do what they “usually” do…

Musicians, for example, who – so as to keep entertaining people, and keep morale up – are performing live, for free and to the world, from their living rooms.

Or the restaurants – both local and well-known – that are delivering free hot meals to hospitals to support our amazing NHS workers, or home deliveries to protect the vulnerable…

David Attenborough … the man who has taught us all so much over the years, has now taken on that role in a more literal sense than ever, and is teaching online geography classes to our children at home!

News reports are being bought to us from journalists' homes … even Have I Got News For You is now being bought to us via video conferencing. Who ever would have imagined that just a few weeks ago?

The interesting thing about these examples is that they aren't necessarily doing them in order to profit from them. In fact, in most cases, it's quite the opposite.

Yet ­– because they are adapting to IMMEDIATE needs – they are being noticed. Whatever it is they are “offering” is being utilised … gratefully, and by the masses. Because it SOLVES current problems, and MEETS current needs.

And being noticed, as we all know, is an important part of being successful if you have something to sell.

… even if you're not selling it “right now”.

There's no doubt that the last few weeks have been challenging, and for the self-employed in particular, I know that the pressure to adapt … to change … to “see this as an opportunity” has, for many people, been stressful in itself.

But by looking at the many ways in which the world has been adapting over the past few weeks serves as a great reminder that even the smallest change, the smallest “adaptation”, can present the biggest of opportunities … especially if that change is all about meeting someone's IMMEDIATE need.

And better yet, it reminds us of the wide and varied opportunities a small change has the potential to bring.

Look at Joe Wicks – the man now known as the nation's PE teacher, helping children across the world to stay fit and healthy during lockdown.

He has committed to doing a LIVE workout, aimed specifically at children, every day throughout this lockdown. And he's doing it totally for free.

He's doing it because he cares about people, about kids, and about people's physical and mental health … and because he knows he can help. He's not doing it for the money. His track record proves all that.

But, those two small changes he made to his usual offering – offering LIVE daily workouts, targeted at CHILDREN – has had a far bigger impact than only his intention of keeping children fit during lockdown…

It's resulted in his number of YouTube subscribers increasing by 1.5million.

In the space of a little over a month, 1.5million more people now not only know about him, but actively follow him.

He's just increased his audience – that precious asset that will convert to paying clients – by 1.5 MILLION. All by offering – as a kind gesture – something of value, that solves an IMMEDIATE need, to a new audience.

It's a unique example. And it's a great one. But it's also just one of many.

A friend of mine is another…

He runs a successful event catering business, selling top-quality food at festivals, sporting events, private events.

But in order to operate … in order to make money … he has to GO places. He needs events, where there are lots of people in attendance, to be taking place. Which means that with the arrival of coronavirus in the UK, he lost his trade – literally – overnight.

He could have despaired. He could have panicked. But instead, he simply sat down and thought about what he COULD do…

And he realised that he has skills and equipment that can help people right now.

He has refrigerated vans, and he knows where to purchase fresh produce in bulk. And, of course the entire nation is at home right now, needing food in order to sustain them.

So he posted on a few Facebook groups, and within two days was starting to deliver boxes full of fresh produce, bought that same day from Covent Garden food market, to houses in his local area.

He started to provide a solution to an IMMEDIATE need, that many people have, and he was able to start offering that solution almost overnight.

And since that first day, word has spread. He's been rushed off his feet, he's maintained his income, and … he's just increased his audience, exponentially.

Most people in and around his local area now know about him. Know that he can be relied on for quality produce and a quality service. And they also know that, “normally”, and in future, he'll also be able to cater for them at events – whether private, corporate or anything in between.

He's just increased his audience, enhanced his reputation, and added a new branch to his business that he now plans to maintain. Grocery home-deliveries aren't exclusive to this lockdown, afterall.

The ways in which people have been adapting over the past weeks… and the reasons for doing so … differ enormously.

But all of those that have been successful, all those that we have heard about, or that have helped someone, or made a difference somewhere … all of those have one thing in common…

They are solving an IMMEDIATE need.

So if you're feeling overwhelmed by the need to “adapt” … just remember … any change, however small or however personal … if it's focused on the NOW, if it's focused on solving some kind of problem in the immediate … it's likely to be a good one.

Maybe you'll develop a whole new branch of your business.

Maybe you'll discover a new way of doing what you already do.

Maybe you'll find a whole new audience.

Maybe you'll simply be helping out someone in need…

But all of those maybes mean opportunity.

And opportunity, right now, is one of the most exciting things about what lies ahead.

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