Business Owners Keep Moving Forward: Jesika Young
Being a business owner can be risky and stressful, but being a business owner during a pandemic brings a whole new set of challenges. For many female entrepreneurs, COVID-19 has been a season of stopping, pivoting, and trying to move forward despite uncertainty and fear.
THE BENEFITS OF DIVERSIFICATION
Wealth management advisors typically urge their clients to be diverse in how they invest so that they don’t have all their eggs in one proverbial basket. Jesika Young, president and CEO of Cimtech in New Albany, Indiana, a precision machine fabricator and assembly/sub-assembly manufacturer, knows just how important diversification is. “We make hundreds of thousands of component parts for a wide array of industries — food and beverage to hospitality to automotive to rail, medical, you name it,” she says.
When the automotive industry shut down completely in response to COVID-19, it had an impact on a wide range of companies that supply parts and components, including Cimtech, but being a manufacturer of diverse components gave the company wiggle room. “Luckily, because of how diverse we were, we were able to adapt and take on some additional work,” Young says. Because Cimtech also does design engineering, there are opportunities due to the economy restarting and how life in a post-COVID has changed. “There are going to be needs for things that haven’t been invented yet,” she says.
Cimtech staff has been able to still have meetings with clients who are across the country using Zoom and other tools, but Jesika says she misses the face-to-face meetings.
In the midst of uncertainty, Jesika and her colleagues tried to keep what they could control at the front of mind. “We can’t control what our supply chain does; we can’t control what our customers are going to do and how they’ll react. We can control the safety of our team, the quality of our product, and that we’re still delivering the way that we always have to our customers and partners,” she says.
As a manufacturer, safety has always been a top priority, but COVID-19 has made it an even greater one for the future. “All of the protocols [hand sanitization, disinfection of every office, no tool sharing, and very strict visitation policy] that we have put into place will remain,” Jesika says. While Cimtech staff has been able to still have meetings with clients who are across the country using Zoom and other tools, Jesika says she misses the face-to-face meetings and hopes they will be able to begin again soon.
P.S. See how COVID-19 has affected other business, like that of our 2020 Most Admired Woman — Beauty/Fashion Tawana Bain.