Question :
I had a discussion with a business owner yesterday . He was very pessimistic about the next two years. He challenged me because of my optimism for the future. I believe opportunities will come out of this as has every depression. It will take a great deal of coloration and reimagining.I was concerned that I have a Pollyanna approach to covid and the future of the business world. I would welcome any panel thoughts 

Question submitted 16/05/20 @ 04:42pm
Industry: Business Growth
  • Up

    Nothing wrong with being optimistic at all. At the same time a business owner being pessimistic is also understandable especially if they also went through the GFC.

    As for opportunities in the future, absolutely. We are a resilient lot.


    Hi there,

    I agree with you and it’s about mindset, tenacity, inventiveness, determination and a chunk of luck too.

    Consider this story and perhaps share it to the business owner you were chatting to.

    When the NZ government locked down the country Snap Rental, a Deloitte Fast 50 car rental business, was essentially shuttered overnight.

    Tourism amounts to circa 10% of NZ GDP and with hubs in many of NZ’s major tourist destinations Snap Rentals needed to pivot and pivot quickly.

    The governments business support life line gave the founders 8 weeks to mobilize and reimagine their destiny.

    I volunteered the boys 40hrs of free D&Co time to support them. We assisted with business strategy, monetisation ideation, mvp design and digital replatforming. That gift of time led to me being consumed by the business and over the Easter weekend became thoroughly embroiled in developing the mvp offer. A same day, personal shopper, delivery offer.

    We started with Farro and have since added a number of other outlets across NZ. We’re now a little over 4 weeks old, and have started to get drivers onboard to support the growth (we’ve got ex airline pilots, business execs, restraunteurs as drivers – many of whom we will promote into the business as it grows) with major NZ brands onboard and operating across NZ.

    What impresses me about this story is the resilience and balls the Snap Rental boys had. Their tenacity and determination to save their livelihood and the livelihood of their employees.

    There are of course disparate stories out there and many, many businesses shuttering but creative thinking can result in the identification of new opportunities to prosper and grow both personally and in business.

    All the very best to you and stay positive my friend. It’s important for you, your family and this country.



    Kia ora,

    You pose an interesting question. I think it really depends. At an individual business level many have continued to do fine (food) while it’s hit others badly (hospo, tourism, airlines). There’s also no denying that any disruption to the status quo tends to make people put their thinking caps on – and some come up with great new and fresh ideas. You just have to look at what people are posting on Manaaki.io to see the creativity oozing.

    I think a bigger question is what’s the macro effect. Some are pointing to this being a “Schumpeterian” event (see this explanation) of “creative destruction”. Others point out that creative destruction is more about the new disrupting an incumbent old, where what we have here is “destruction first”. Here’s an interesting read on this in the WSJ:

    The big difference between what we have now vs. The Great Depression is the role of technology and the associated efficiencies and productivity gains. Fingers crossed this will cause things to bounce back quicker – that’s providing there’s no long-term demand-side slump. There may even be an upside in that many businesses will have been dragged through a tech learning curve in 2020 that they may not have otherwise and will likely see some productivity improvement because of it… e.g. people scrambling to get their eCommerce solutions; remote working etc.

    A bit of a ramble there… At the end of the day I do think having a glass half-full outlook – a “growth mindset” – will likely see you through this better than descending into a spiral of negativity.

    All the best,


    That must have been a really tough discussion to have. Like you, I am on the optimistic side, a lot of small to medium sized businesses have taken this opportunity to pull their socks up and move into the digital world fast, and that pivot has created successes for many. However there will certainly be business casualties from these events and other businesses that survive but will take years to rebuild – I recognise how difficult that will be for many. A business owner once said to me that her mantra was ‘Adapt or die’. Businesses change and grow as does the climate they live in. Business is always a risk, and I admire those that believe in their vision enough to take it, regardless of the outcome.


    Thank you

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