With so many people entering a quarantine like a state, there is a lot of entrepreneurs scrambling to stay afloat.
Small and medium-sized businesses that are in certain markets are literally at a standstill with many facing the real possibility of bankruptcy as their customer base enters a state of panic and literally there is a cliff edge to the demand for their services.
There is however some entrepreneurs who have found a way to diversify their income streams and not be so dependent on anyone’s business or opportunity being able to pay their bills.
I recently spoke with Marc Angelo Coppola – an entrepreneur with an unconventional approach to business who brought forward a very interesting take on how he approaches storm-proofing his business.
Marc Angelo states: “I treat the business like I approach gardening – for me to bear the fruits of my labor, I must give some attention to the entire ecosystem as a whole. There are no tomatoes without the rain, sun and the right nutrients and biology being in the soil and so rather than just investing in the plant that grows the fruits and veggies I have always found a way to invest in inputs plants need as a whole.”
He goes on to explain “many entrepreneurs are over-invested in their specialization or lane and solving a single problem but I always personally took the approach in business that an investor does in the stock market and a farmer does in his field. You literally can’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
What Marc Angelo is alluding to is around the age-old investment strategy of diversity or to build what Ray Dalio, a well-known hedge fund manager often refers to as an “all-weather” portfolio. A strategy of investing that systematically hedges its investments into different buckets meant to hedge the risk of other investments and help people’s wealth weather the many challenges that the world faces.
However, this is easier said than done in many ways so when Marc Angelo decided to compile 4 simple tips for helping you hedge your bets and have your wallet survive a storm like a coronavirus or any other giant shocks to the economy – I definitely felt they were worthy of sharing.
#1 – Economic Shocks Are To Be Expected
The wisdom here is that market downturn and troubles in the economy are something to be expected and if you take a longer-term perspective on your entrepreneurial career you will realize that it is in these “unexpected downturns” that real fortunes and made and lost as they often represent the biggest opportunity of an entrepreneurs career.
Most entrepreneurs are over leveraging and betting the house at all times without considering the opportunity of just moving with the market itself and the timing of things.
So many entrepreneurs try and win a race towards market dominance in any category without realizing that sometimes the best strategy can be buying into the race at a discount later on.
Most who won from the dot com bubble were those who invested after it burst – not those who reached into the cookie jar when everyone else was too.
Marc Angelo expressed: “When you’re experiencing FOMO I always stop and ask myself – what would be investing in the opposite direction look like here? Even if it’s not by running into the burning building – sometimes those who make money in a gold rush long term are those who sell the pickaxes and not those who are hunting for gold.”
#2 – How can you bet in the opposite direction against your core position or business.
There is wisdom in investing in a business or idea that moves in inverse correlation to the industry you are in given certain market conditions. If your core business depends heavily on Facebook ads for example – perhaps investing in a business that is brick and mortar as a counter to this heavy tech-reliant business is helpful.
Even diversity by building a presence on multiple social platforms is wise but it is still deeply correlated to other platforms.
However, if everyone panics like they are with the coronavirus investments in real estate or the companies that build solutions that bring services to your home including an Amazon based drop-shipping business could be a huge counterweight to your current position.
Also, the bonus is that your specialty in Facebook ads can always be an asset or competitive advantage to a business that traditionally might not have that kind of strength in their wheelhouse.
#3 – Don’t just bet on yourself – consulting is always needed no matter the direction of the economy.
One of the core principles of investing is by picking winners and investing in others who can do what you can’t!
Being a partner, advisor or investor either in the form of cash or sweat equity seems to pay off big time in moments of crisis. Sometimes it’s a huge opportunity to gain a stake in an industry or business that isn’t run directly by you and oftentimes it can save the shirt off you back to have something else that was simmering on the back burner.
Marc Angelo suggests that you should always have an active advisory or consulting role going on in your entrepreneurial career as it helps provide extra insight into the market and cash flow no matter the direction the wind is blowing.
Any entrepreneur can find a way to share their skills and lessons with others as a way of supporting the growth of other businesses and sometimes it’s as simple as building a framework for your consulting services and the teaching and advice you can give to others.
#4 – Don’t discount the side hustle!
Do you know why Gary Vaynerchuk is brilliant? Because he takes the skills he has about understanding human psychology and attention and applies it to everything. Not just marketing.
Many will laugh as he does his “trash talk” garage sale hunting arbitrage and flips people’s old mugs on eBay for a profit – but the truth is that it’s the working of a muscle from another angle.
“Sit-ups aren’t the only way to work your core – so why limit yourself to using your talent in just one way. What you already know applies to so many industries or opportunities so why not take the time to use that skill in another vein from time to time? Nobody respects the bodybuilder that just does bicep curls and bench presses. So why not use your knowledge to build a side hustle?” says Marc Angelo.
Honestly, I think he is right. You have to know when you be humble and if your career or industry has taken a nosedive for whatever reason having some done some reps that work a different muscle can be really helpful.
Pressing the evacuate button in the middle of the storm is not the best way to survive it – preparation is key and history favors those who have the humility to know when to press the gas on the offense and when to start practicing some defense.
Entrepreneurship is not a race – it is a hero’s journey meant to show you many facets of yourself and teach you the many lessons we learn in life and in business.
Hopefully these tips give you some food for thought as to how you can best prepare for the shocks of a global pandemic or recession.
There is no better time to start than right now when it comes to being prepared – especially if you are currently hurting from the hysteria that is this unexpected COVID-19 outbreak.