I am a triathlete. Several years ago, I participated in an Ironman Triathlon, a pinnacle for me and a lifelong dream. The Ironman has been called one of the most difficult single-day events in all of sports: a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride, and ending with a 26.22-mile marathon. My race took me just over 15 hours to complete.

When I think about the past six months, especially for small businesses, it feels a lot like that endeavor—minus the exhilaration I felt at the finish.

I’d competed in many triathlons before, yet the Ironman was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I was confident that I was prepared, but the course at times was unpredictable. The winds shifted. The temperatures changed. And, just as small businesses are doing today, I was forced to change my strategy, even as I was swimming or cycling or running. I had to ensure steady progress, while adapting to the physiological and psychological stress of the day-long race. Resiliency was key. (Discover tools to support small business resiliency in this new guide from LinkedIn and Cisco.)

Small businesses may be more vulnerable, but they’re more agile too

I don’t need to describe the last several months for you because you lived them—your personal triathlon. You’ve learned that while all businesses feel the impact of this challenging economic climate, not everyone bears the weight equally. Small businesses are especially vulnerable.

But small businesses are also agile and resilient. Like athletes who alter their race strategy when conditions change, you’re willing to consider new ways of working to adapt quickly to the new environment.

And that’s exactly what these three small businesses did. I love these stories of Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, Karameller, a small candy shop, and Del Brenta, a designer and manufacturer of heels, wedges, and platforms for the most recognized footwear brands in the world. They’re powerful examples of small business resiliency. When the traditional ways of doing business became challenging—or impossible—they innovated and took a new approach.

72% of small business owners say the outbreak is likely to have permanent effects on the way they run their business.

Resources to support small business resiliency

LinkedIn and Cisco partnered to create Beyond Survival: a Small Business Resiliency Guide to share tools and best practices like those used by Second Harvest, Karameller, and Del Brenta. In the guide, you’ll find industry insights, helpful resources, and stories of innovation. These tools are designed to empower you to weather this crisis and reframe your goals, just as I did throughout my own race.

You’ll find even more tools at our Empowering Small Business Recovery resource center, including strategies to address financial challenges as you reopen and offers from our partners, like American Express and Stand for Small, and GoDaddy and Open We Stand.

A race like no other

Our greatest victories can come from some of our most challenging endeavors. And this is a race like no other in recent history. Why not let it also be a catalyst for a recovery like no other?

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. When you’re strong, we’re all stronger. Learn how Cisco can help you to the finish line with technology that enables you to adapt, adopt, and overcome.


Christophe Pla

Director of Marketing

Global Small Business Marketing