Covid will force you to change. You have no choice. Change is really scary but what’s the alternative? You’re going to stand on the platform, waiting for your train of opportunity to come in? People who wait are going to get run over. You have to go out there and make it happen.
At Wednesday’s virtual WP Engine Summit/2020, celebrated entrepreneur and bestselling author Robert Herjavec talked about how he went from waiting tables as a young Croatian immigrant with limited means to heading his own world-class technology company (and, of course, swimming with the Sharks).
In 2003, after selling BRAK Systems to AT&T Canada, Herjavec founded Herjavec Group—one of the largest IT and cybersecurity companies in Canada. The company has been widely recognized for its security products and services.
In his keynote, Herjavec shared his insights on digital transformation, the remote workforce, security, and living a life of purpose.
When great things happen, or really bad things happen, they’re usually happening to you but the world around you goes on. What’s amazing about Covid is that we’re all living it together…every one of us is living this experience right now.
When Covid-19 struck, and businesses closed their doors, an onslaught of employees who had never worked from home were now attempting to office there, which had a massive impact on web traffic. Herjavec cited a statistic that in the first five days of mass remote working in mid-March, global internet traffic grew by almost 30 percent.
Security has morphed with Covid. Laptops that were hardened and secured [came] home and found themselves in the hands of teenagers. Everything got thrown out of the window and it’s become boom times for the hackers.
According to Datto, a provider of data protection solutions, home office networks are 3.5 times more likely than corporate networks to be infected by malware. In fact, since March, VMWare Carbon Black reported a 148 percent increase in ransomware attacks.
In a recent blog post, Herjavec outlined four steps for businesses to secure their systems: ensuring Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are fully patched; enhancing system monitoring; implementing multi-factor authentification (MFA); and ensuring all machines have properly configured firewalls and anti-malware software.
Stop & shop
Businesses fall into three categories: e-commerce, building out e-commerce, and going out of business.
An Ernst & Young survey found that 42% of consumers say the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of Covid-19. And as Herjavec said, retail has essentially moved to an e-commerce platform and any business which hasn’t yet implemented an e-commerce strategy will be in trouble.
Unfortunately, in a new study from Kantar and Profitero, only 17% of brand leaders believe their organizations currently have a solid e-commerce strategy.
Winning with the sharks
Getting to yes doesn’t mean you can stop… People are so afraid of a real no that they’ll take a fake yes.
On Shark Tank, very much a consumer-driven show as opposed to B2B, Herjavec said that his most successful investment was with Tipsy Elves, which peddles “inappropriate, ugly Christmas sweaters” (and now offers everything from leggings to Hawaiian shirts—even face masks). Herjavec reasoned that his goal is to invest in something the consumer will like and not necessarily something he would like.
Digital transformation, of course, is much bigger than just having a website—it’s an immediate, multichannel and always changing dynamic experience. Herjavec described it as the “new economy, the future of entrepreneurship, and the future of Shark Tank.” According to a study on Gen Z conducted by WP Engine, traditional means of accessing the internet are no longer enough. Younger consumers want more smart devices, improved predictive technologies, increased personalization, and always-on content.
Mind your business
When you get a little bit of success, it’s easy to stop. It’s harder to say, I’m going to keep going.
Herjavec’s advice for today’s businesses consists of three basic things: belief, action and results, remarking that the “world doesn’t reward intentions.” In his book, “Driven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life,” he writes, “Successful business people retain a quality most others not only lack but often fail to comprehend, and that’s the unrelenting drive to convert a vision into reality.”
[Covid] did something that Amazon was going to inevitably do—force everyone to go online.