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How to Stabilize & Fortify Your Business in a COVID Economy Following the Footprints of Successful Business Owners to Successfully Bounce Back in Business During and Post Disaster

By James McKinney

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Startup Story

Starting, and sustaining, a business is quite possibly the hardest thing you will ever attempt to accomplish. I say that because, as a parent, it is so much easier to keep my kids alive. Every business is so fragile and having incredible challenges amidst the COVID pandemic. The disruption is felt across all businesses, not just startups or small businesses. For example, look at how COVID has wreaked havoc on Disney. Over 100,000 employees have been furloughed. Like I said, as a business owner, this is incredibly hard.

With a graveyard of failed startups in my past, I know that truth all too well. In fact, in 2008 I lost everything and it took me many years to recover from that chapter in my life. At that point I started to believe that I just wasn't cut out to be an entrepreneur. I started buying into the popular narrative of what it meant to be a successful founder. This began the process which ultimately led to my starting The Startup Story podcast. I wanted to dive deep into the stories of successful business founders and what their strategies were when it came time to bounce back from those roller coaster moments that entrepreneurs often experience that makes them want to simply throw in the towel.

Some of my favorite founders that I have had the opportunity to interview have included Neely Powell, founder of Charleston Shoe Company. In the first few years of her business she had close to $400,000 stolen from her just weeks before payroll. In her own words, "I went on a nonstop roadshow to sell shoes and didn't come back until I could make payroll." I will never forget my time with Jason McCann, founder of Vari (formerly VariDesk), who shared with me that despite his repeated startup failures he "...will continue to row until the wind catches his sails." The fact of the matter is that NOBODY except another entrepreneur will understand just how ambitious your goals are and how challenging the task is in front of you.

Whether you are in the throes of starting a company mid COVID, a small business that has five employees, or a founder that is currently struggling to find ways to retain 100 people on your team, COVID has proven to be extreme uncharted territory that calls for applicable business advice and inspiring real life solutions. While COVID has increased the challenge of owning a business, exponentially, it is still just a temporary challenge. This crisis moment will come to an end and the businesses that were able to endure this unprecedented season will be that much stronger for it. That said, now that you have seen the weakness in your business you would be foolish not to address it so that it does not cripple you again. The question becomes, "How?"

To help entrepreneurs answer that "How" question I have brought together 14 founders for an epic two-day livestream event. This event is completely FREE and will provide a chance for you and I to sit with proven business-builders to understand the tactics they are employing within their businesses in response to COVID. Register for Startup Story LIVE at to join me via Livestream on May 14th and May 15th, 2020 from 9AM to 6PM PST .

These are not self-proclaimed experts, or thought-leaders, these are real founders providing real tactics directly to you and I. I'm talking about founders like:

Jaime Schmidt (founder, Schmidt Naturals) – Started her business in the worst recession in US history and sold it seven years later to Unilever for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Jason McCann (founder, Vari – formerly VariDesk) – Built a brand that has become the global standard for the active workspace category.

Christina Stembel (founder, Farmgirl Flowers) – You probably recognize her from her national Capital One commercial series but she bootstrapped her business and grew it to $32 million in 2019.

Matthew Arevalo (co-founder, Loot Crate) – Helped grow Loot Crate to $100 million within their first three-years. In their prime, they were shipping 500,000 boxes each month.

Emma Rose Cohen (founder, FinalStraw) – Launched two Kickstarter campaigns that have raised a collective $2 million in funding. She has since positioned FinalStraw on the shelves of retailers nationwide.

And many, many more…

Throughout the two-day event, founders will discuss strategies, tactics, and even monetization models that small business owners might not have considered before. Upon registration for the Startup Story LIVE online event, attendees will also receive an invitation to the event's private Facebook group. Enabling entrepreneurs to network, find their next great collaboration partner, new customers, and engage with an entire community of like-minded business owners ready to help each other succeed. The event will expand your business community and offer advice from real, successful entrepreneurs.

As an entrepreneur, I know you are trying to find answers to address your most pressing issue. With that in mind, it is critical that you do not allow this crisis moment to narrow your field of vision. Every single one of the founders joining us on May 14th and 15th is navigating through this virus crisis just like you and I are. That is why they are bringing their tactics to us, so that we can bring them into our business to help us stabilize our business now, and fortify it for the future.

During this two-day event we will hear directly from our founder-guests the answers to some of the questions we are all navigating through right now.

  • How to build a highly functional, fully remote team?
  • Is this the right time to launch our new product or service?
  • How can I leverage a subscription revenue model for my business?
  • What can I do, right now, to get my buyer's attention?
  • Is it better to sell on Amazon or should I double-down on my own e-commerce store?
  • Can Kickstarter still be a great source for startup capital for my product development?

You can absolutely walk this journey on your own and leverage your own personal experience, but you would be wise to glean from the experience of many others AND then implement what makes sense for you and your business.

You can register for this FREE two-day Livestream event at

Entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs. That is why all of these amazing founders are coming together, to support all of us.

James McKinney

Creator & Host, The Startup Story

James McKinney is the Founder & Host of The Startup Story, a multi-channel brand platform that brings the lessons of highly successful founders directly to the everyday founder. Whether it is through The Startup Story podcast or via the Startup Story LIVE event series, entrepreneurs everywhere can receive tactical and practical guidance from founders who are a few steps ahead.

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