Now that 2020 is over, it’s time to look ahead to a brand new year like a blank white canvas. You are the author and the artist of that next chapter. What are the things you’d like to let go of the past year? And what are the exciting things you’d like to introduce or start in the next 12 months? 

If you’re reading this right now, there’s a good chance you’re curious about at least the 3 underlying themes of this article: 

  1. Why start a business in the first place; 
  2. Why set up a blockchain-powered entity; and 
  3. Why do it in 2021 

We could address all those questions one by one, but especially this year, I believe they’re more interconnected than ever before. Here’s why in one word: vulnerabilities. 

If our society was represented by a house, the global pandemic would be the storm that tested its structure and pillars, exposing all the flaws and shortcomings of the building. In the real world, this hit many industries, tested our trust in governing bodies, institutions, priorities in life and made us rethink our social contracts. We now see the fundamental vulnerabilities in our everyday life such as the truthfulness of information we consume, cyber security, rising inequality. Big themes – but also big opportunities.

As any entrepreneurial person would know, this is the time of disruptors. Systemic disruptors. And while there hardly is a “wrong” time to start a business, now is the time we have a global audience waiting for our house to be fixed and re-built better than ever before. 

So aspiring founders ahoy – here’s my take on why 2021 might just be that perfect year to e-sign a start to your own business. 

 

1. You make your own job security 

If there’s one thing Covid-19 left in the world, it’d be the depth of uncertainty in many people’s livelihoods. In the US alone, unemployment soared record-high earlier last year and has been fluctuating ever since. This isn’t to say you should start a new business simply because you got laid off or because it’s “safer” than being an employee; it does, however, give you the control of the steering wheel. 

As a founder of your own business, you are the captain of your destiny.

The classic stuff: you control your own time; you decide your own terms and conditions as well as your pay; your location; the people you work with – and yes, your own job security. In reality, it’s not exactly a chill walk in the park but hey, you are the one who gets to control the pace, the way, where you’re heading to and when to pivot. Having that level of ownership in your life alone can be a real value-add. 

 

2. Making deals virtually has never been this accepted 

While the technology behind virtual conferencing has been around for a long time and teams have used it to collaborate for decades, never has it been so widely accepted as it is today. Sure, it’s always been a viable option in lack of better alternatives pre-Covid; post-Covid, however, it is now a default method of business communication. The element of acceptance here makes a huge difference.

Traditionally challenging things to do in 100% virtual settings (negotiating M&As, strategic partnerships, closing new B2B sales cycles and establishing trust) are now all happening online, changing the dynamics we’re used to. 

For a starting founder constrained by resources, this gives you the possibility to be seated around the same table with big players that used to fly their teams around half the globe to do so.

If you’re strong in tech or have a solid ‘virtual etiquette’ this will even give you an edge in adapting to new tools and overall savviness in navigating virtual ways of doing business. 

 

3. Your (and everyone else’s) awareness of industry vulnerabilities

When you’re starting something new, a good way to go about it is what I like to call gap finding. Regardless if your goal is to publish a paper, find the right pricing strategy or grow your business exponentially, understanding what’s missing on the market is important for two reasons:

  1. If you’re able to identify the gap and satisfy market needs, there’s a good chance you’ll find instant product-market fit. This is traditionally one of the hardest things to figure out for early-stage ventures and the #1 reason why startups fail. 
  2. Finding the right fit will simultaneously address other typical startup challenges. These could be timing, pricing/cost issues, market education and revenue model, just to name a few. 


Why are we talking about this? Because as the global pandemic hit, many needs and offerings were left unmatched. In other words, lots of gaps in the market. 2020 didn’t only expose legacy industry vulnerabilities, it paralyzed entire sectors. Lack of digital offerings, digital team culture, digital infrastructure or funnels made traditional businesses redundant overnight and powerless against lockdowns and political shifts.

While a business is always confined by its operational landscape, and these shocks would’ve been impossible to predict, the need to re-architecture your product portfolio has never been this pressing.

Many businesses are now rethinking their offering as well as diversifying their supply and value chains.

Understanding this and keeping resilience in mind, 2021 is a great year to disrupt the old; especially as consumers are still adapting and looking for new, agile solutions.

 

4. New consumption behavior 

Perhaps one of the most profound trends we experienced last year was the massive consumptions shift into digital channels. In the US alone, the increase of e-commerce observed in the first half of 2020 was the equivalent of that to the last decade. Virtual store-fronts and experiences replaced physical ones and I’m not sure this trend is going anywhere anytime soon.

In a recent study, consumers in 9 out of 13 major countries surveyed said they have tried “new kinds of shopping” and the vast majority of them intend to continue doing so. Responding to this, brands are exploring new realms in D2C (direct-to-customer). Although 60% of these companies report feeling they are barely ready to capture e-commerce growth opportunities.

All I hear from this for our aspiring founders is opportunity, opportunity and opportunity. 

 

5. Wider pool of talent looking to reinvent themselves and simply, interesting projects 

Maybe it’s all the reflective contemplation spent in 2020 lock-down or maybe it was just a matter of time, but abrupt events that knock us out of our comfort zones tend to trigger big life-altering questions. What’s the purpose of what I’m doing? Do I even like it? Who am I spending my time with and what is it again that I’m prioritizing?

If these sound like familiar questions, you’re certainly not alone. Herminia Ibarra writes in Harvard Business Review that in her recent online survey she asked 2000 people how they’ve responded to the global pandemic; 50% of all respondents said it has given them the opportunity to try or learn new skills. And that’s an important shift.

The World Economic Forum predicts that in the next year alone, by 2022, nearly half (42%) of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. If that number is anywhere close to being true, our world is facing a global reskilling emergency. 

So, for our founders with big ambitions; what a better time to build, involve and empower new team members with the curiosity to reinvent themselves than 2021. 

 

6. Future of Work is already here 

There are numerous definitions of what future of work really is but in many ways, its early predictions arrived ahead of the schedule. Remote work, fully digital workflows and automated processes, gig economy, knowledge-sharing and increasingly flatter governing structures.

Covid-19 “normalized” many of these things overnight and if recovering nations are anything to go by, these shifts are here to stay. It’s been estimated that more than 20% of the global workforce could work remotely the majority of its time, and still be effective. And from my personal experience with decentralized teams, it’s hard to dispute that. 

For entrepreneurs, this means a wider pool of possibilities in the global workforce. If location-independence is the new normal and virtual hubs our default work stations, wouldn’t that open your reach into new markets, industries and fields? 


If you want to learn more about remote hiring, we just wrote about it last month here!

 

7. Blockchain is (finally) going mainstream? 

If you didn’t notice, there’s a question mark behind this title. As we all know, bold and colorful predictions mark the aisles of blockchain history, year after year. This time, however, things truly might be different. 

Why so? 

I can think of a few different reasons. Firstly, enterprise adoption of blockchain technology will push existing use cases into a wider audience. Spotify is diving in, Paypal recently rolled out their new crypto service and Steve Wozniak started a new energy company powered by blockchain. Such launches will accelerate market awareness. Which in turn will result in better user experience for both the middle layers (enterprise/back-end) as well as end users. Ultimately, such shifts will help attract more mainstream users.

Secondly, many blockchain projects under development have now seen enough interest, resources and capital to be pushed forward. A recent Forrester publication predicts that 30% of global blockchain projects will make it into production in 2021, showing inflection points that imply definite changes rather than just a continuation of trends. 

And thirdly, the global shocks experienced in 2020 pushed many people to look for alternatives. Weakening trust in our legacy financial systems, increasing pressure for supply chain provenance and growing ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) scrutiny; these all amount to the public’s open-mindedness towards new fundamental, alternative solutions. 

Why would this matter to an aspiring founder? 

To start a traditional legal entity is one thing; but in the era of things going digital overnight and systems moving increasingly onto distributed ledger technology space, why set up something that has an “expiration date”? Central banks are starting to issue their own tokens, China is experimenting with cryptonized Yuan, asset owners are exploring to tokenize their illiquids and creatives have started to use the cryptographics to prove scarcity.

The decentralized ecosystem is only emerging but this is to say, if you want to ride the wave (rather than against it), there are already compliant ways of setting up blockchain-powered companies. And as the space matures, your way of doing business will grow alongside it. 

 

8. You get play a role in shaping the next new normal 

The global pandemic changed our world and it’s unlikely we’ll be going back to the pre-Covid state anytime soon. With or without vaccines, many systemic and value-driven changes are happening across the world and entire industries and sectors are undergoing transformation inside out and outside in. And I must say, what an exciting time to be part of this. 

As a founder, you always give yourself the chance to change the world, but as history has taught us, never waste a good crisis.

2020 alone has sparked a new generation of digital entrepreneurs and never have we sought after true creativity, agility, collaboration and innovation as much as we do today. 

By investing in yourself, you can fix whatever you think is broken. You can do something better or create a fairer world. This is fluffy talk, sure, but everything man-made around us today was once just a vision – and from vision, it’s a good place to start.  

 

9. Because why not 

This might sound like a lame reason but what can I say, life is short. 

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Tim Urban’s “Your life in weeks” illustration where a 90-year old life is packed into tiny little squares, each representing 1 week. And there, you realize #$@^&$ there aren’t actually that many weeks left! 

In fact, let me spare you the trouble of searching for it so I’ll share it here: 

 


There you go, life in months.

By the time you’ve reached the last circle in the bottom row, you’ve turned 90. And by any standards, we can consider that a long life. 

 

Now, any internal nudge to start a venture of your own? 

 

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We are team Korporatio. If your answer to the last question was yes, why not take a look into the jurisdictions we’re currently offering, learn more about Smart Companies or drop us a hello on Discord where we’ll answer any of your questions!