From a young age we realise that not everything is within our control and not everything goes to plan. A lesson that many of us struggle to accept – either because we secretly like to be in control and/or because society tells us that we must always carry on with something, despite anyone or anything trying to get in the way.
Fast forward to when a prospective entrepreneur decides to set up a business and there are many considerations and factors that may attempt to or will indeed ‘get in the way’. When a business then decides to embark on a growth trajectory and employ people along the way, the idea of total control or everything going to plan, starts to look even more shaky. More needs to meet, more opinions to listen to and consider, and the fact that somebody’s perception is always subjective, are just some of the things to navigate. What many entrepreneurs fail to anticipate however, is the level of seeming control that the general public has over their business – even if their output isn’t a brand or product that is for public purchase or consumption. Put simply, we live in a world where any business is everyone’s business.
Society has changed considerably over the last twenty years and even more so over the last two years to one where people are much more aware of and indeed vocal about their view on societal, cultural, and political topics. Areas that our parents and grandparents wouldn’t have voiced a concern about or even had an opinion on, as it risked being ostracized by others within their local community. Today, the practice of voicing an opinion is somewhat essential to cement one’s position in the community – even at the risk of local or worst still, public backlash. Never has standing up for one’s rights or views been so important. This is, to a large extent, a good thing that has somewhat been long overdue – especially when it comes to people in society who wouldn’t have had the same rights as, for instance, heterosexual white men and white women to a lesser extent. The term ‘woke’ has been coined to describe what feels to be this distinct societal change. The definition of ‘woke’ is as follows:
aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)
Source: Merriam Webster
Whilst the term has, at times, been misused in the media and cast upon people who arguably have a valid point in what they are saying but have gone about making this point in a less than palatable way (think of Greta Thunberg or Extinction Rebellion in the UK), the purpose behind this wokeness should not be ignored by entrepreneurs. However, there is the possibility that certain entrepreneurs will overthink things or become fearful of fully running with their vision for their business for fear of upsetting someone and the business being attacked, without the ability to ‘fight back’ so to speak. On the other hand, there are certain entrepreneurs who don’t care about what others think, which in one respect is needed in order to succeed, but in another, there does need to be some awareness and mindfulness – especially if said entrepreneur wants to take their business public one day. The public and social media in particular has the power to quite literally sway share prices overnight if there is a big enough issue or backlash. So the big question is what exactly do entrepreneurs need to be mindful of in this woke world, whilst continuing on their path in a determined and mindful way?
In a recent podcast interview with our CEO Daniel Hanson, we spoke about his views on the issues that entrepreneurs need to be mindful of when it comes to the woke world that we live in. To listen to this episode please click here. For ease, below are the key points that were raised during this interview, which covered a multitude of areas including the opportunities that the woke world presents for creative entrepreneurs; whether the renewable energy agenda is full of political hot air; and how to tune into the right type of news for you.
- The overall pace is a lot faster in today’s market and patience is much reduced. So in order to grow a business you need to be more concrete in your decisions and at a faster pace. You also need to be able to adapt a lot more quickly but figure out your strategy upfront and try to anticipate the woke topics that may present themselves in the short term.
- Trying to do the right thing when it comes to being mindful and sensitive to societal and cultural issues is a good thing but remember that you cannot please everyone.
- At certain points in time the market will like you, but other times it may not. Brands can also be made or broken a lot quicker but can also rebound a lot quicker. You cannot create a super pure/good business and be commercially optimum. There will always be a way of operating, as a business, that isn’t being as green, mindful, or pure as everyone would like you to be.
- Take it for granted that nothing is confidential anymore and everything is up for grabs.
- Most of the great businesses around us today were built in a downturn and when a lot of people needed help. You then get paid to essentially help those people with a service or a solution.
- There is an overflow of liquidity in the market right now. Prices are better if you want to acquire a business. And if you want to expand, competitors may not be wanting to, so it could be a good opportunity to do so if things stack up. There is also an overflow of SPACs looking for targets right now.
- The market for green energy is better than ever. Technologies that have been in existence and ignored for 20 years are now getting noticed, so entrepreneurs who have devised them or can repurpose them to accelerate the deployment of stable, independent, and local energy will in a very good position. Entrepreneurs in this space should look to secure help and funding and accelerate 5x faster if they can. The political landscape has talked a lot about green energy but done very little for decades and action is now needed if they want to make a difference.
- The green ‘message’ and telling people the world is going to end if we don’t take action asap isn’t working. The world won’t end, but we do need a greater focus on solutions.
- Some ignorance is bliss in the current woke world, as everything is overly dramatized. Journalists are the authors of news stories and they put their spin things which can be lesser or more negative than needed, so pick your news sources wisely. It is easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole and this will lead to negative energy in your life. Compare two different new stories about the same event and you will realise how much of the news is skewed by the journalists themselves.
- And finally, good ideas and good intentions always win in life.