Robert Herjavec, CEO, Herjavec Group
Scott Mlyn | TBEN
Robert Herjavec, co-host of “Shark Tank” and founder of the Herjavec Group, said the year of the pandemic reinforced a basic lesson in speed as an ingredient for success: Small business owners must act quickly and make tough decisions to survive.
The speed of decision-making accelerated during Covid-19 in an unprecedented way, but Herjavec says that as the U.S. economy booms and states lift Covid restrictions, the decision that entrepreneurs now need to take quickly is not to reduce or grow carefully. It’s time to make a big bullish bet on the future. Companies that let fear linger will lose.
The “brutally realistic” thinking demanded of homeowners over the past year is a thing of the past and the United States is entering a boom period that entrepreneurs must embrace. “I’m very, very optimistic,” Herjavec told TBEN at his Small Business Playbook event on Tuesday. “I think we’ll see one of the biggest [periods of] the growth of the economy that we have experienced in our lifetimes. “
The recent TBEN survey | SurveyMonkey Small Business for the second quarter of 2021 found an increase in small business confidence, but minimal, and an overall sentiment reading that remains distinctly negative more than a year after Covid. More business owners are expecting earnings gains, and in hard-hit industries like food, hiring is expected to increase.
“Human beings never think it will get as bad as it is going to be and will never recover quickly enough,” Herjavec said. “That’s what I see now. People are not ready for expansion, being too conservative, not optimistic enough.”
When optimism was the wrong emotion
The “Shark Tank” co-host may be known for his optimism and confidence in business, but he wasn’t shy about revealing at the TBEN Small Business Event just how much he felt in business. fear and uncertainty during the pandemic, describing his initial emotions from the last. February as “incredible fear”.
“Everyone said to me, ‘You are a’ shark ‘and you have a big business, a relatively big business, but fear stopped us for about three days,” Herjavec said. He quoted the advice from her co-host Barbara Corcoran, who often says that the difference between successful people and others is not “that they don’t feel sorry for themselves, but how long they allow themselves to wallow in misery”.
“For about a week I wallowed a lot. I’m a pretty tough guy and not much scares me, but uncertainty in business can be very destructive. I wallowed for a while, then moved on. to action. forward. “
Herjavec’s core business of cybersecurity has been a winner in the pandemic as more people around the world go online, but it also handles a lot of portfolio investments through its contracts. “Shark Tank” and he says that one risk during the pandemic was that the portfolio companies were sticking to “unfounded optimism. “
“It kills a business,” he said. “I’m a very optimistic guy, I wake up everyday thinking tomorrow will be better than yesterday and all that, but when you face a crisis it’s about reality, not optimism. … ‘don’t expect the world to end, but prepare for the worst.’ “
During the pandemic, too many small businesses got into trouble because they were afraid to cut costs, afraid to go too far. “We’ve seen a lot of small businesses having problems saying, ‘Maybe we’ll just lay off a few … or we won’t need layoffs … maybe things will come back.’
Herjavec made these business owners clear: “We have encouraged people to take a little more pessimistic view, because in a crisis, no one can help you except yourself. … When the going is good. bad, you have to have realistic optimism and we’ve seen a lot of things. small businesses just believe … things are going to get better. “
But now he says dealing with reality is totally different. A year after Herjavec and his CFO sat down and walked through a ‘black swan’ scenario to realistically assess how long they could survive, business owners must be on the ‘other end of the spectrum’ , he said.