4th in our five-part special series, Fuqua Entrepreneurs’ Insights on the Road Ahead
Brian Hamilton: Now may be a good time to look to buy a business, depending on the sector. While it may be difficult to attract capital, the prices are lower due to uncertainty—that is the tradeoff.
Shankar Musunuri: If you have ideas to contribute to society in this crisis, your venture will do well. It is not easy to start or grow a business in this environment and it is very stressful, but if you are creative and persistent, you will have the ability to learn so much in a short time.
David Snow: Now is a terrible time to try to launch a new venture because the debt market has dried up during the pandemic. Investors are in “risk off mode” right now. Raising capital for a new venture right now is very difficult. I would recommend that you be patient. The economy will improve and when it does, investors will be hungry for promising opportunities. Timing is everything in this world.
Amit Sharma: Now is a great time to cut your teeth as an entrepreneur within a larger company. We are seeing a reset of the world order and it’s going to naturally open up opportunities. Inside a firm you will have the opportunity to see those opportunities and take the leap where you have conviction to explore.
Additionally, the freeing up of the labor pool means there’s a significant amount of technical talent available now. Teams that are formed now are demonstrating the grit that is needed to be a successful entrepreneur.
Andy Horwitz: We started our business during the great recession and because capital was scarce we had to manage expenses with tremendous discipline. This became part of our DNA long after we were able to raise capital and this along with being nimble contributed to our success. Long term players will be focused on keeping the lights on, keeping clients happy and dealing with legacy issues, and investing in innovation will be difficult. Also the price of talent (outside of black belt coders and health care workers) is likely to be down. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a burning idea that keeps you up at night, go make it happen. There’s never a bad time to start a business, but amid massive changes, my experience is folks become more amenable to new ideas that have the potential to help them weather the storm.
Brad Hirsch: If the goal is to introduce new approaches to antiquated industries, it is a phenomenal time to launch a new venture. There will be large shifts in society coming out of the pandemic in how we embrace technology and live our daily lives. If you can find a niche that supports that evolution and can spin up the venture in time, I couldn’t imagine a better time. At SignalPath, we have been building a technology-enabled clinical research network for the last five years waiting for the industry to embrace new clinical trial models across that footprint. Luckily, we were not dependent on that change for success. However, the changes we have seen in the last few months have likely accelerated the opportunity to disrupt the model with new approaches by years.
Hetal Pandya: It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to launch a new venture. There are many problems that need a great solution. Movie theaters, social and business gatherings, sports, food manufacturing, packaging, delivery, travel, personal services, medicine, and more!
Beverly Sobel-Redler: It’s a good time to start a business, if you have access to some capital. There is no joy in being able to step in where someone else has had to vacate a space (be it virtual or physical, in a market, or in a building), but the opportunity to leverage those vacancies can be a financially reasonable foundation on which to establish a new or expand an existing business. And, it’s wise to keep a finger on the pulse of the progress in the economy—waiting for the rise means by the time you’re in it, you’ve missed the early growth. So taking a measured approach while things are weaker could be a good time to start the planning and work toward the phase of acquisition (of raw materials, equipment, vendor relationships, physical space, etc.).