The Art of Re-Inventing your Business in a Pandemic - Lessons from the Trenches
How many CEOs do you know would swallow their pride and start selling cookies door-to-door when their thriving business takes a temporary hit due to COVID-19? This is exactly what Israeli entrepreneur Tal Zilberberg did the past year, and in the process learned many lessons which he recently shared with students from Wittenborg's Munich partner, New European College, as part of a Project Week guest lecture.
The lecture focused on surviving lockdown while working remotely from home – which could be a real challenge if you are in the fitness industry like Zilberg. He is the founder of many entrepreneurial adventures – which include being the owner and CEO of LTD Sport and Fitness Centre as well as ITSKS Karate. During lockdown his various businesses took a dive – especially the karate school. Almost overnight his number of students went from 300 to zero.
He described how he managed to revive the business by online coaching. He now has about 30 students for each online session he teaches. His journey from near bankruptcy to getting back on track made a strong impression on Wittenborg students! “To work remotely and by oneself tests our real abilities, skills & mental strength. It is, in fact, an opportunity for entrepreneurs and business leaders to test their business and leadership skills while telecommuting (working remotely)," Zilderberg said.
He even shared how at some point he started selling cookies door-to-door when his other businesses were down due to the first lockdown. "His ability to get rid of the ego of being CEO and think from a true entrepreneurial mindset amazed us," one student said. "He managed to resist an impulse to view himself as a victim of hard times. Excellent learning for a business student, isn’t it?"
The lecture brought home to students how essential it is, especially for an entrepreneur, to adjust quickly to a fast-changing external environment and nurture that ability. It is hard to underestimate the varying degrees of impact on economies and on the mindsets of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Telecommuting has not only saved many ventures from dying out but also opened a window to expand the horizons of the businesses via digital transformation.
Zilberberg is also the co-owner & CEO at Greenbook USA Inc., co-founder of HURIKAN Digital Collage and Executive Director at the Global Chamber Israel.
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press