There are stories of leaders and entrepreneurs that always seem to do well. They can advance in the good times as well as the bad. For example, when the stock markets are going down, there are almost always stocks going up. Likewise, other financial systems will benefit from a market downturn. We need to identify and embrace the signs of chaos and downturns to make the best decisions. It may seem counterintuitive. However, we can ride the turbulent waves to success and profit from chaos.
More Pain Equals More Opportunity
The technology world is based on solutions. We find pain points and then craft ways to alleviate those discomforts. Entrepreneurs work in almost the same way. They build companies that provide solutions. In a perfect world, we would all be out of business. No one would pay for help doing something that they can do quickly and painlessly. Likewise, we do not want others to do things we like. There is no market for getting paid to go on vacation for others.
All that is to say that troubled times bring opportunities. These are ways we can profit from chaos. There are unethical ways like price gouging. On the other hand, there are ways to further society, such as creating tools needed during changing times. A good example is the increase in mobile and remote work solutions during COVID lockdowns. Those problems existed before. However, the need was not as great.
Find The Core Problems To Profit From Chaos
Tough times may come from a myriad of events or situations. Each one of these is an opportunity. While some may be out of your sphere of control (e.g., global politics), but some may not. The best thing about these challenging times is that when you reduce great pain, even minor improvements are greatly desired. For example, when fuel is unavailable, then getting it to people even at higher costs than average is still a step in the right direction. The dynamics and numbers around solutions change when the environment is in flux. Thus, solutions that would be unrealistic in normal times can be exactly what is needed. There is also the momentum of a product to consider. Sometimes, a solution requires a groundswell, or momentum, to get off the ground before it has long-term viability. Maybe tough times and chaos are precisely what is needed to get that product off the ground.
Your Chaos List
An excellent way to take advantage of difficult times (whether on a global scale or within your organization) is to avoid throwing away ideas that are not ready for prime time. There are those ideas that we come up with and might even run up a flag pole that get shot down for a good reason. They may not be cost-effective, may not have a market, or may be too far out in left field. These are all reasons that can change in a heartbeat and may offer short windows for ideas to be implemented. Therefore, it is helpful to keep a list of those ideas that need a different time and place. Better yet, label or categorize ideas so it is easy to find the ones that need a specific budget or margin, as well as those that need resources that might come free amidst the chaos. These options may not require a full pandemic to become viable. Sometimes a short period of a business downturn is enough to free up some needed resources you are already paying for.
The Fail Fast Approach
A benefit of trying out ideas during these times is that they typically have a short window before things return to normal. You will know the viability quickly during chaotic times as those times will pass. You also will often have a higher risk tolerance as there is less to lose. When business is dead, it is hard to make things worse. That means it is a perfect time to take a chance on those riskier ideas. Think of it as playing with house money. That is not exactly the case. However, it is close enough.