Most of us hoped that with the arrival of vaccines, the pandemic would become something they teach in history class someday. What we have found instead is that it will be with us for a long time. The word “endemic” is starting to creep into our lexicon even as I write this. If the virus isn’t actively coursing its way through society, the specter of the past will continue to haunt us for years to come, especially if COVID makes its rounds again. It is the nature of the beast.

Shortly after the pandemic began, the Department of Commerce started to think about what would be needed once the main danger had passed at recovering and rebuilding from a global pandemic. As you’ve probably noticed, COVID had very little impact on some businesses – even entire sectors – while others have been shaken to their core. Many businesses have or will need to restart and rebuild. Some will have to find a new business model or reinvent themselves, while still others will think about calling it quits and look for an exit strategy.

With this in mind, Commerce created the Restart Academy. A companion to our groundbreaking Entrepreneur Academy, the Restart Academy offers advice, wisdom, and steps to recover, rebuild, and restart. The 12 modules aren’t sequential. They are designed to meet you where you are and take you where you need to go, from reigniting that inner entrepreneur and finding new pathways to growth to recommended exit strategies.

Lesson 1: Making a Fresh Start

Starting fresh can be hard, especially when the past is still haunting you. This module looks at the process you need to go through to leave the past behind and successfully start a new enterprise or rebuild an existing one.

Lesson 2: Channeling Your Inner Entrepreneur

The world has changed, and so probably, has your business. In order to reimagine your business, you may have to reach deep down to tap that inner entrepreneur that caused you to strike out on your own and start a business in the first place. This module will show you how.

Lesson 3: Building a Strategic Mindset

Building a successful business requires a strategic mindset that allows you to see the big picture and make decisions that will benefit your business over the long term. While you’re running your business, the daily grind can get in the way of thinking strategically. We’ll walk you through some tools and techniques to create strategies that work.

Lesson 4: Creating a Winning Pitch

While it’s easy to think that pitches are for entrepreneurs seeking a new round of financing, a winning pitch will serve you well in your existing business. Whether you’re closing a sale, securing additional investment, renegotiating a finance package or seeking a new partner, your pitch is your currency. In this lesson, we cover all the basics of making a killer pitch.

Lesson 5: Giving Your Business a Facelift

You’d be amazed how easy it is to refresh your business and your mindset with just a few steps. From a fresh coat of paint to new operational strategies, we’ll show you how to give your business a facelift that will increase revenue, reduce costs and attract new customers.

Lesson 6: Creating a 24/7 Sales Machine

Roughly 230 million Americans use the Internet to make purchasing decisions. The question isn’t why would you want to sell to this sizable audience, but why wouldn’t you? Learn how easy it is to integrate a website and e-commerce into your marketing and sales strategy.

Lesson 7: Rebuilding Trust

A lifelong level of trust can be shaken in a moment, whether it’s a global pandemic, food safety issue or bad press. This module examines ways to rebuild trust with your employers, customers and other stakeholders in the wake of a crisis that shakes your business to its core.

Lesson 8: Scaling Your Workforce

As you restart and rebuild, it’s easy to think of your workforce in traditional ways. But, do you really need all those people? Can some positions be outsourced? Do the job descriptions of the past reflect what you need tomorrow? The rebuilding phase is an excellent time to build flexibility into your staffing needs, from identifying gaps and reassessing needs to finding the right candidates.

Lesson 9: Knowing When to Grow

Your business has probably been through a lot of ups and downs over the last year and a half. Growing at the right time can be highly profitable, but picking the wrong time and wrong way can be costly. Learn how to achieve exponential growth in a dynamic environment, including knowing when and how to grow.

Lesson 10: Access to Capital

There’s a good chance that you blew through a lot of money this year, what with new public distancing requirements and periodic closures. As you know, restarting or rebuilding an existing business is far more capital intensive than the startup phase, where you could run lean and mean. Module 10 will explore some of the options that may be open to you.

Lesson 11: Tapping a Global Marketplace

We already covered adding e-commerce to your sales mix. But did you know that nearly three-quarters of the world’s buying power is overseas? In this module, we’ll take a look at exporting and whether it’s right for your business. You may be surprised at how easy and profitable it is, especially since Commerce has an export team to help you along the way.

Lesson 12: Exit, Stage Left

Every endeavor has a beginning, middle and end. At some point, you may decide it’s time to cash it all in and drink daiquiris beachside in Costa Rica. This module will walk you through some of your options, from a quick fire sale to creating a lasting legacy that will live beyond your years.

With Global Entrepreneurship Month coming up in November (our next blog), this is a great time to rethink your existing business, think about striking out anew or changing up your life to fit what you really want to get out of it. Those daiquiris are sounding pretty good right now.

Just north of the Emerald City, trying to remember where I put the blender,

  • Robb