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Maintaining Your Business despite a Crisis, as Told by Global Leaders

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Before the pandemic started taking a toll on our industry, our companies belonged to the fastest-growing privately-owned businesses. The executives came up with a five-year plan that involved increasing the number of employees and moving into a new office building. We’ve also spared some time to communicate the true purpose of what we do and the value of our clients. In a matter of days, the COVID-19 pandemic struck our industry and drained a significant chunk of our business revenues. We went from planning for the next five years to lay off half of the workforce.

It is in these times when we ask ourselves why we are in our businesses or industries, and if what we do makes a difference. If our company did not have a relevant purpose, I might have just resigned.

What Is A Business Purpose?

We initially think that it’s synonymous with a company’s vision and mission. However, your business purpose answers to a completely different question, which is the “why.” It is what will motivate employees to go beyond their basic duties. The mission and vision commonly answer what the company wants to achieve and who they do it for, but never the “why.”

In our case, it is “to awaken the greatness within.” We want our clients to discover their greatness by fueling them with skills and motivation. This purpose started out as a business principle, but through the pandemic, my company’s purpose gradually became my own.

A Business Purpose Can Be Personal

Our company’s purpose to “awaken the greatness within” became deeply personal as we faced the daily challenges created by our current situation. We soon realized that we could tap on the skills we developed over the years to become better leaders and mentors. We then started opening more lines of communication with the staff, being more empathetic towards them, and our clients who are also definitely facing a lot of challenges during this difficult time.

We brought this mantra with us at home and focused on our personal lives. Rather than succumbing to vices to get through each strenuous workday, we decided to channel energy into keeping fit, practicing a better diet, and constantly communicating with our family and friends about what we have been experiencing. Although everything is done digitally, it helps in keeping us grounded and rational.

Find Your Purpose

A business purpose will not fix all of the problems your business is facing, but it helps in serving as a guide during difficult times. It is the core and soul of your business that will be your source of motivation in the most uncertain times. Even when numbers are down, having a strong sense of purpose can inspire you and your team to hang on and still try to do their best each day.

If your business does not have a purpose yet, this may be the best time to find one. If you already do have one, try to embody that purpose. You would be surprised at how much motivation it can give you.

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#GirlBoss: How a Successful Entrepreneur Launched a Global Business

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In the entrepreneurial world, men would often dominate the field. With times changing, more and more females are conquering the business world to make a mark and let their voices be heard. One example is Heather Sanders, the CEO of the fashion label, Sorella Boutique.

Her fashion line started with humble beginnings of having only ten products in her line that, with her determination, boomed into a full product line with a shop at Melrose Avenue to boot! Indeed, Sanders is an inspiration to many aspiring female entrepreneurs who want to make it in the cut-throat industry.

When asked what her secret to success is, Sanders mentioned that a big portion of her success is her ability to stay true and authentic. In fact, here are some of Sanders’ words of wisdom to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams of launching a business.

Sanders’ Food for Thought:

  1. “Only compete with yourself.”

In any field, whether it’s dancing, school, or even a yoga session – you should only compete with yourself. Yes, there may be tough competition out there, but you will never go anywhere if you are too busy checking out the competition instead of focusing on yourself and your growth potential.

While it is good to check what are the edge of other companies that you have to watch out for, invest your time, energy, and resources on building the good things of your brand, and you can never go wrong in growing your business.

  1. “Support each other!”

In a heavily male-dominated sector, there are only a few brave females who would even attempt to try it out in business. Instead of being catty and pulling each other down, do what females do best, and that is to support each other. Create a social group and maybe share best practices.

Have a session solely dedicated to talk about everything and anything under the sun EXCEPT work. Get to know each other on a personal level, and it gets easier to have each other’s back.

  1. “Use fear as a motivating factor.”

Being a newbie in any industry can be quite scary. Use this fear as a motivating factor to reach even greater heights! Do not be afraid to ask questions or speak out your ideas in board meetings or conferences. After all, this is your chance to be heard.

Engage in mentoring sessions with other leaders and experts in the field. The main objective is for you to learn as much as you can and apply it to let your business grow.

  1. “Practice determination.”

Some people say that determination comes naturally, but determination requires discipline and lots of it! Choose a goal and make sure that you contribute every single day towards achieving that goal. For example, if you want to promote your brand, there are plenty of ways to do so!

You can host meetings to gather feedback from your colleagues, share best practices with your female group, take online lessons on digital marketing, and up your marketing strategy in your social media accounts. 

  1. “Stay true to yourself.”

Some leaders, once they have achieved their perspective of what success is, often divert from the path they once called their true selves. However, many successful leaders remain true to their authentic and genuine selves. In fact, they thrive because of it!

Hopefully, the tips above can help budding female entrepreneurs to launch their new businesses.

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Aviation Aftermath Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot of what was considered ‘normal’ before. For example, gone are the days when you can have a fun night out with friends while drinking and partying. Another aspect that the pandemic changed is everyone’s ability to travel freely (as long as their passport, budget, and visas will allow).

With everyone expected to stay home, the airline industry strongly felt the pandemic’s effects as the majority of the flights got canceled due to travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Because of this, the airline industry has been forced to lay off employees or, worst, declare bankruptcy. 

The Aftermath

Government regulations in countries such as the United States and Europe have reiterated that any canceled travel plans because of the Covid-19 pandemic should be refunded in whole to the ticket holders.

Despite this regulation, many airlines have failed to comply with as they have felt the financial brunt during the pandemic. Some airlines opted to provide travel vouchers (that can be claimed until 2022) instead. Still, government regulations were specific in their guideline to give back the refund.

Statistics show a decline of 10% in early March 2020 as the pandemic started to boom globally. By late March, statistics showed a 40% to 60% decline in the aviation industry, with more flights being canceled and fewer individuals attempting to travel, including the imposition of travel restrictions by multiple countries. By April 2020, there was an 80% decline, with flight movements restricted in all countries.

What’s Next?

Because of the aftermath of the pandemic to the aviation industry, many airlines are cutting off employees, including flight attendants. US airlines have cut down flight attendants ranging from 30% to 60% because of the low demand for flights.

Because of these, flight attendants all over the world became creative in ways to earn more money now that their current jobs are unstable because of the pandemic. For example, Susannah Carr, a flight attendant from United Airlines, mentioned she rejoined AppWag to walk dogs through making extra money now that there is a lull in her flights.

Making Ends Meet

In an interview, she mentioned that her previous paycheck was just enough to cover her monthly rent, a place she co-rents with a fellow flight attendant. Since Carr has previous experience in freelance jobs such as online translations and wedding event planner, she is now busy applying for other freelance types of jobs to make ends meet.

She acknowledges that while it is not the dream job, she hoped for right off college, the sense of urgency to make a living so she can survive the pandemic remains to be a top priority.

On the other hand, another flight attendant, Joan Marie Santos, turned to bake cupcakes and pastries during the flight lull. Her passion truly lies with baking, a hobby she only got to do in-between flights. But with the ongoing pandemic and approximately one flight per month (as opposed to her usual 15 flights per month), she started baking and selling her pastries to nearby communities to make ends meet.

With the uncertainty of the pandemic, people, not just flight attendants, have to be flexible and adaptable to the changing times. 

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Less Plastic, More Life: How This Youth Leader Is Ending Bali Plastic Bags

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Plastics, at one point in time, may have been a useful and normal part of everyday life. However, because plastics take forever to disintegrate, it has become a global ecological problem.

More often than not, these plastics end up polluting the environment and also end up killing animals who mistake them for food. Because of these environmental concerns, Melati Wijsen from Bali, Indonesia, decided to put a stop on single plastic use forever. And she’s just 18 years old.

The Genesis: Bye Bye Plastics!

Indonesia is the second world’s largest plastic producer next to China. Wijsen saw the ill-effects of single-plastic use in her hometown as plastics were everywhere! The side of the road, the rivers, and the canals – plastics were an eyesore to the popular tourist destination.

Still, the quality of environmental life in Indonesia was rapidly declining as plastic usage increased. Melati Wijsen, together with her sister, just came from a school video showing inspirational leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King when they were inspired to start doing something.

They then formed the non-profit organization called Bye Bye Plastics in 2014, where its primary objective is to ban the use of single-use plastics throughout the community. Their plan of action included encouraging their schoolmates to join their cause and often held meetings during lunchtime!

Within months, the Bye Bye Plastics team was able to mobilize communities to clean the polluted beaches with a whopping 50,000 people clearing more than 150 tons of plastics! Also, the team encouraged businesses to reduce their use of plastics.

By 2018, the team partnered with the Balinese government to ban the use of single-use plastics, which took effect in July 2019. At present, Bye Bye Plastic expanded globally, with 50 teams spread out in over 29 countries.

What’s Next?

Because of the success of Bye Bye Plastic in Indonesia, Wijsen became a prominent youth leader with a global audience. She has spoken to different youth leaders in various prominent platforms such as the United Nations conferences, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Economic Forum.

But she will not stop there. In an interview with Wijsen, she feels proud of her team’s accomplishment. Still, she feels frustrated that the world’s awakening about such a prominent environmental issue took six years in the making. She also vowed to assist with other youth-led initiatives.

Wijsen and her sister founded another non-profit organization, Youthtopia, where its primary objective is to have a support group among other budding youth leaders. It also aims to develop the skills of youth leaders through development activities, peer-learning activities, and online workshops.

To date, Youthtopia has catered to a multitude of youth leaders whose cause ranges from anti-human trafficking to Black Lives Matter foundation. In another interview, Wijsen mentioned that she has all the hope for the youth and their generation because of their passion for making an impact on the community.

When asked for advice to be given to youth leaders across the globe, Wijsen wisely mentioned three actionable steps to take to make an impact:

  • Empower Yourself
  • Collaborate with others
  • Reach out to leaders

Indeed, youth leaders such as Wijsen are inspiring figures not just for the youth but also for anyone—regardless of age, gender, and nationality, to do the right thing and make an impact on the community.

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