The Next Wave Of Iconic Businesses Will Emerge From This Choas

Because Innovators Don’t Stop Innovating During Pandemics

This year has been characterized by all sorts of tragedy and the history books will undoubtedly document 2020 as a generational-defining period.

Lives lost, livelihoods ruined, and unnecessary divisiveness plague our country. 

With all that, history tells us that we should still look forward to a few glimmers of positive news from the world of small business.

While scrolling on Twitter a few days back, I came across a thread that summed up a number of examples of the massive businesses that were born out of dire times like today. This includes eras of world wars, global pandemics, and national depressions.

I found it to be a helpful reminder to remain optimistic, so I wanted to share some of the cited examples with you.

Consider this:

As Europe was being ravaged by the Spanish Flu nearly a century ago, a young fashion designer decided it was the right time to start a clothing brand. Even today, the Gucci brand remains a key player in the world of high-end fashion.

During the same period, an entrepreneur in North Carolina was building the foundation for a hardware store that would become over 2,000 stores more than 100 years later. I’ve been to Lowe’s more times than I can count.

As newspapers in 1920 favored negative news stories that reflected the grim realities of the day, a Pennsylvania-based publisher was starting a youth magazine focused on high school sports and social activities.

This company would later go on to become a juggernaut in the publishing world. Scholastic Corporation has some connection to all of our childhood memories.

That very same year, a 40-year old woman named Helen Keller would go on to help found the critical organization known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Just as the United States was ramping up efforts for the second world war, an orthopedic surgeon was developing medical products that would go on to be new standards of patient care.

More recently, during The Great Recession of 2008 and beyond, a number of iconic technology companies were founded and have flourished to provide so many of the consumer services we now depend on to travel, communicate and send and receive payments.

And the list goes on.

So, while we acknowledge that the challenges and difficulties of 2020 cannot be understated, we also recognize that the most determined and innovative among us will continue to do what they do best - innovate and build businesses.