When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s, most of us had no clue what was in store for 2020. We were busy mapping out our goals, checking our finances, ramping up marketing, and preparing for a productive season of events.
Then, COVID-19 struck. Everything became uncertain: events got postponed (or cancelled), our revenue took a nosedive, and we found ourselves trying out new hobbies to keep us (and our families) sane at home until this blows over.
By now, we’re nearly six months into the pandemic and, for the most part, we’ve all settled into our grooves. They are nowhere near what they looked like at this time last year, but we’re adapting and discovering where we fit in this ‘new normal.’
Along the way, we’ve all learned a thing or two about living in a global pandemic, including what it looks like to run a business despite the uncertainty of the future. Here are seven business lessons that we’ve learned in 2020.
During times of uncertainty, your clients will be understandably worried about what lies ahead for them. Keeping communication lines open is essential, even if there is no update to share. Give them a call to say hello and see how they’re doing — that’s all it takes to show them how important they are to you!
Opt for phone calls.
In sticky situations, it’s always best to pick up the phone rather than relying on an email to convey an important message. Tone can get lost easily in written communication, which can lead to more issues and misunderstandings, so stick to phone calls when you need to discuss something sensitive or significant.
This year has taught all of us that we can never predict what will happen tomorrow, let alone months down the line. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to budge on your rules or requirements a bit, which will be much appreciated by your clients. Always be prepared to adapt to an evolving situation so you don’t get left behind.
Organization is key.
This lesson rings true in any situation, but it’s especially crucial when working remotely. We’ve been thrown into a work-at-home situation where we’re expected to juggle childcare with our work and, in some cases, dealing with spouses working from home as well. If you want to find some sort of happy balance, you need to get organized on both ends.
Team morale is everything.
Our employees are our most valuable assets, so prioritizing team cohesiveness is essential. It becomes particularly critical (and more challenging) when your team is dispersed due to remote work, so you need to go above and beyond to ensure everyone is motivated and engaged in the work at hand. A few Zoom meetings or fun virtual competitions can go a long way in keeping everyone in good spirits!
Busy is not always better.
Prior to the pandemic, we lived in a society where being busy was valued over self-care and personal time. In just a few months, that concept has been turned on its head and many of us are relearning the beauty of spending time with family and taking breaks to recharge. There’s no doubt that we’ll return to in-person business, but hopefully we can all take this lesson to heart and be more intentional about carving out time for ourselves. Our careers mean little if we don’t have the physical and mental health to keep it going.
Lastly, the most important lesson we’ve learned is that we are resilient. There was a lot of fear in the beginning of the pandemic as we tried to figure out what this meant for our businesses. But, now that we have a bit of retrospect, it’s clear that our industry has navigated the pandemic with grace thus far. We’ve pivoted, we’ve connected, and we’ve lifted our communities. The truth is that we are resilient and we will continue to thrive, regardless of the obstacles thrown in our path. Keep this truth close as we go through the next several months and, hopefully, get closer to returning to business as usual.