Launching in Lockdown: Opportunity or Insanity?

Launching in Lockdown: Opportunity or Insanity?


7 min read

This is exactly what I’m doing – and the real answer is probably a bit of both! In this article I discuss the pros and cons, what inspired me to take this decision and what I will be bringing to the research industry. 

We have all been there, working 9 to 5 in a job and having that “light bulb” moment when you think “Hmm…I could really do this for myself!”

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However, for whatever reason, the idea never turns into reality for most of us. 

For some, it’s about being just too comfortable in a job and the feeling that having that level of responsibility could be a massive headache they simply do not need in their lives. 

For others, it could be the fear of what might happen if things go wrong, such as running out of money, not being able to pay their bills, losing the roof over their head or witnessing the looks of disappointment in their family’s eyes, when the news of failure is broken to them. That last point, I must admit, has always been a key worry for me. 

Finally, we have those for whom it’s none of those things. Instead, it’s all about the ‘timing’. These people are certain that one day they will break out and do their own thing, but they are just waiting for the right time.

But when is the right time? 

Surely not while businesses around the world are struggling just to keep their doors open… right?

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Whilst employees around the world are being either laid off or furloughed en masse, entire industries are at a complete stand still. According to the Financial Times, the UK economy is heading for a recession that is forecast to be deeper than the 2009 financial crisis and one of the most severe since 1900. Globally, markets are down 35% or more, credit markets have seized up and credit spreads have spiked to 2008 levels.

In these unprecedented times of economic instability, some might understandably say that giving up your relatively well paying job in order to set off along the risky road of entrepreneurship is dangerous. Others may even say it’s foolish!

But are they right to say that? 

Is it possible that launching a company now in this current climate, whilst a large proportion of the world is on pause and your future competitors are all scaling back, could actually be a perfect time to do it?

According to Kimberly Palmer, writing for US News & World Report, “going against the tide and starting your own business in a recession not only lets you escape from the corporate grind, but it also can be easier than it would be during boom times.”

Whilst we are all working from home, nobody is expecting you to have a fancy office and clients aren’t expecting you to treat them to lunch in order to talk business. There are no corporate events to go to, no company cars to pay for… you don’t even need to put on proper trousers before getting stuck in!

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Startups by nature, are nimble, flexible and have fewer expenses, but can you recall any other time in our modern business world when the ‘big players’ and the ‘small fries’ were on such a level playing field?

What Covid19 has shown me more than ever before is that it is the resourcefulness, rather than resources, that truly makes the difference. 

Launching during tough times will make it necessary from the start to create a lean, mean, efficiency machine! Being forced to develop these habits from the beginning can only be a good thing and I truly believe that if you can make a business work while consumer confidence is at its lowest, just imagine the boom of success when things finally improve!

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“To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”– Bill Gates

Taking advantage of a weaker economy and coming out on top is no new idea. What do Microsoft, Burger King, MTV, Apple, Disney, Revlon and Fedex all have in common? All of them were launched during economic downturns. 

So in conclusion, my question is – Is it wise or utterly foolish to launch a company during the Covid19 crisis?

If I’m honest, I have no idea what the answer is. However, time will certainly tell, because for better or worse, this is the path that I have decided to take. 

I work in Market Research Fieldwork and have done so for the last 5 years, starting at Indiefield and then moving on to Central Fieldwork. 

I have worn many hats in my career. I’ve been a telephone interviewer, recruiter, supervisor, project manager, sales manager, marketing manager, client services manager and had many more experiences in between, gathering valuable knowledge in the process. I’m a member of the MRS, AQR, ICG and have built a solid network of industry contacts over the years. 

My friend and mentor Marc Gold, an industry expert and fieldwork mastermind, once said that my biggest strength is that I’ve never pretended to know everything about everything but have instead always been open and willing to learn. So, while I may not yet have decades worth of experience, I’ve learnt a lot of lessons very quickly and plan on continuing to do so as my client base grows.

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The company I have launched is GuineaPig Fieldwork Ltd. Do go and check out my brand new website here:

The aim of GuineaPig is to create an innovative and effective fieldwork agency that manages both qualitative and quantitative fieldwork projects to an exceptionally high standard.

In my working career, people have said that they enjoy working with me because I’m friendly, fun to be around, appreciative, passionate and react to stressful situations with a calm, focused, problem solving approach.

I want GuineaPig to resonate all of those values. I want our clients to enjoy working with us, I want our suppliers to know how valued they are and I want my team to feel excited about coming into work every day.

In our industry, regardless of where we are positioned on the totem pole, its the same totem pole we are all part of. To me, that means that all of us, from our biggest clients to our most junior employees, are colleagues, all critical to the success of the business and should be respected as such.

I firmly believe that, if we can remain true to these values, GuineaPig can position itself as the first choice for research agencies and direct clients around the world. 

Am I daunted by the task at hand? To be honest with you, I’m terrified!

I have two children that depend on me to provide for them, a wife that I want to support and the same financial pressures as almost any of you reading this article. 

However, it is those same pressures that give me confidence, as they are what will push me to give this business venture everything I’ve got. 

I do hope this article inspires some of you ‘would-be’ entrepreneurs, who may be on the verge of taking the plunge but paralysed by the uncertainty of the times. This could potentially be the biggest opportunity of your life. Don’t waste it!

If you want to know more about Guineapig, or have a fieldwork brief you’d like me to take a look at, just get in touch via

Stay home, stay safe and stay motivated!

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