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How We Keep Moving Forward When a Pandemic Is Pushing Us Backward.

Updated: May 4, 2020

No one needs to tell you that business is falling apart worldwide. 

You already know. You’ve read 50,000 posts about it. Stocks are tumbling. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Businesses are closing. The economy is on fire. 

But the scariest part is when everything you’ve worked for gets threatened.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent 100 hours a week for the past 3 years trying to get a startup off the ground. And before the pandemic hit, we had just entered a stage of “violent instantaneous hypergrowth” (as an investor put it). 


Many of our retail clients have been forced by regulations to temporarily close their stores. And in some cases, it’s not even financially worth it to have someone at the store all the time when nobody is coming in. 

I’m not here to complain. Far be it from me to do that, especially when other businesses have had to literally close their doors or lay off 80% of their employees. 

Here’s why I’m telling you this: Because while this crisis is incredibly difficult, it’s also proven that inspired people can keep moving forward in spite of massive obstacles. 

Dave from our team said it best: “Tough times never last. But tough people do.”

The folks here at SHIPSI have rallied around each other. We’ve pulled all-nighters together. We’ve solved hundreds of new, major problems together. We’ve coached each other through life’s challenges, and every single day we proudly wake up again to ride the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship—together. 

Know what we haven’t done? Given up. 

You don’t have to give up either.

Bust through that brick wall. Then, do it again and while you’re at it. Use every ounce of criticism, defeat, and even pitfalls to your advantage. Let it all be the fire under you. Choose to see the positive. 

These three pieces of advice will help you keep moving forward during this crazy time:

1. This situation is forcing you to be creative. Lean into it.

We are now being forced to ask harder questions than we normally would. Money is tighter, and the budget is forcing us to be more direct than we normally would be. We have to ask hard questions we wouldn’t normally ask. 

For us, the question was: “How many shapes and sizes does our core product come in?” 

Conveniently, our product roadmap just got a lot bigger—and so did the value we provide. There’s a huge need in the market right now, because of COVID-19: Retailers are trying to find ways to make sales without customers needing to come inside.

So in addition to helping retailers offer same-day and scheduled delivery, SHIPSI has started helping retailers manage curbside pickup. We’ve found a way to handle every transaction that doesn’t happen inside the store.

That would have never happened if we hadn’t started asking the hard questions.

2. We’re all fighting out of this together.

One of my investors who lived through the Dot Com crash told me this the other day:

“At least with the Dot Com crash, it was just one zone. But with this, we’re all screwed together.”

There’s something that builds a strange camaraderie when we all have to fight out of the same thing together. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We’re all figuring it out at the same time. 

Internally, we’ve had to become a tighter community. We’ve had to rely on each other in ways we never thought we would. Externally, I’ve relied on my fellow founders and entrepreneurs for encouragement, hope, and practical help—and I’ve offered them the same.

Your business community understands. They’re living it too. And they can help you find your way out. 

3. You actually have to give a damn, personally and professionally. 

This crisis is causing us to cut through to the things that really matter. People are hurting. Now, we have to care about something other than money. 

This is forcing us to be humanistic with our businesses. And while I imagine many out there feel as if they have more time being at home, it’s also a time for reflection. 

Ask yourself: Who and what do you care about and how can you help? What are you doing about it? Is that how you are allocating your time? Spending your money? 

Those questions could change the trajectory of your business for 2020. 

If you feel overwhelmed, or like you don’t even know where to start finding your way out of all me a favor: Think about these ideas.

My gut says at least one will actually apply or relate to your business. If not, maybe it’s time for something else. 

My hope is that at least one of the 3 will give you a big idea that makes a huge difference. The world needs us to fight our way out of this. And we’re going to. Together. 

About the Author:

Chelsie Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of SHIPSI, the delivery technology platform that enables retailers to offer same-day and scheduled delivery without managing any of the logistics. She’s a retail, technology, and supply chain expert who has consulted 500+ top retailers and brands on business strategy, growth, and execution. Among her previous clients are Saks Fifth Avenue, New Look, UGG, O’Neill, Nike and more. In addition to being nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Chelsie is also a contributor to the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a mentor to emerging brands, a surf enthusiast, and a yoga instructor. She currently resides in Venice, CA.


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