Reply To: When markets closed we where deep in negotiations to bring investors into our business we are a Natural Skin Care and Fragrance business. As of today one has pulled back as their market was Asia and the other is in wait and see what happens mode having verbally agreed in January to commit.I am going to be brutally honest. It had been a hard year before I swallowed my pride and went back to working the night markets around Auckland in November. This swallowing of pride was at the encouragement of good friends and that my wife is due to have our first baby in early June and I needed to do something other than do what was failing which was work online with no budget.We had always had the framework to build a solid business but never the fuel in the engine to get it to where it needed to be and had good interest from industry leading business to work with us before they sold.Before the shutdown of events and markets started happening in March we were starting to make progress and were feeling confident with what 2020 was presenting for us both domestically and internationally. Post lockdown we have driven off a cliff with 2 or 3 sales. We got consent to sell some not all of our products as essential service last Thursday but have been nervous to start marketing due to negative reactions we have seen with other companies in the same category.In the last 3 weeks pivoted to an area I have good knowledge and expertise in the food sector and have seen building demand domestically and internationally for specific Ketogenic  products and both me and our business partner have significantly more experience and ability to execute at scale. We started working on this 18 months ago while my biz partner was living in the USA running another Ketogenic food business he owns there. The food sector is where I cut my business teeth first bringing Virgin Coconut Oil into New Zealand in 2012 from Papua New Guinea.I have two questions 1. How do we communicate we are open as an essential business with out blowing a hole in the side of our business by looking opportunistic. We sell toiletries and skincare so fit with in category. We have limited runway with Govt wage subsidy barley touching the sides though we are grateful for it  no end and my wife starting maternity leave from her job mid May. Her wage pays our rent and keeps our lights on.2.Is it worth it or should we use the opportunity to pivot into a sector we know has fast growth , low to no cost of entry due to existing market relationships and demand and come back pick up the pieces when we have the capital to fund the growth. Or can we run both concurrently? 

Kia Ora, Tamati – great you reached out. Such awesome advice so far from so many people. I’d like to focus just on your Question 2 on a pivot and whether you can do both. And, I’ll answer it from my own personal perspective in start-ups. It’s less of a rational response, more on the emotive side. As you know, starting and growing and operating a business is really hard. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Plus a lot of time and capital. Some times it works and some times it doesn’t. Leaving aside the market opportunity / size of market / market economics, what makes one a success over another is the determination, resilience, grit, and energy of the founder. You need to go where your heart is telling you to go, where you know deep down you are excited and can totally commit, and you know there is a big enough economic return for all the hard work and effort. I would argue that your time and energy is the most valuable resource, rather than capital. Given your focus is such a valuable resource, you want to expend it very carefully. Both on what will drive you each day to push and push harder. And, what will wake you up excited to hit the ground running, and going to bed at night still thinking of more ideas to grow the business. I’d struggle to think how you can truly do both at the same time. It’s better to focus on one and give it your best effort then a half-job on two companies and perhaps not achieve in either. In saying that, you need to ensure your investment of your time and energy is worthwhile, so which ever business you focus on, you need to make sure you can get a good financial return. Which do you have a competitive advantage, a unique skill set? Which has a large market in which you can get a meaningful share? Which market has good unit economics and good margins, so you can gain a fair return for your efforts. Combining your heart and some business economics should lead you to a great place. Best wishes. Feel free to each out on LinkedIn if you want to chat further.