Lessons born from adversity
Fiona Clark has been reviewing 2020 to extract the key lessons that business owners can successfully apply in 2021 in order to grow their business. t’s good to see the back of 2020, and what a year it was. How quickly our world changed. Covid-19 impacted every single one of us, and our businesses. […]
Fiona Clark has been reviewing 2020 to extract the key lessons that business owners can successfully apply in 2021 in order to grow their business.
t’s good to see the back of 2020, and what a year it was. How quickly our world changed.
Covid-19 impacted every single one of us, and our businesses.
The fallout has meant different things for various companies. Some have had to close their doors forever, others did what they could to survive. And then there were those businesses that thrived and generated record revenues.
As we look ahead to the next 12 months, this is our chance to use what we’ve learned during the challenges – the lockdowns, the disruption across industries, and the financial impact. It’s our chance to double down and get clear about what needs to change for 2021.
We are heading into our first full year since the onset of Covid and we know it’s not business as usual. We had heard a lot initially about needing to pivot, to change in order to survive, to be flexible and resilient. There were great examples of companies doing this, especially in the short term to respond to urgent needs. Now we are looking longer term to establish what’s best for business – to lead our businesses into the next year and recover, rebuild or leverage the year that was.
Out of all the disruption and challenges we faced, there were also some good outcomes for businesses – good things that we can take forward and create positive, long-lasting change.
How can you apply your 2020 wins to 2021?
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to turn your business plan upside down.
It might seem like a long time ago since the first lockdown, and we’ve learned to live with it, but there are some good things we can take from 2020 that have had a positive impact on business in New Zealand. I’ve listed them here:
Many companies needed to pivot quickly and come up with new offerings, services, and ways to operate during lockdown. The speed with which things happened meant we also needed to implement quickly. Examples included a gin distillery that started manufacturing hand sanitiser, and local fashion brands manufacturing face masks.
What is interesting is how fast we can adapt to changing markets when in a crisis. Could we perhaps adopt faster decision-making and streamline changes to benefit our businesses in the future?
There has been a monumental shift in the way we work – there was simply no choice when we were in the middle of a lockdown. This has also brought time and cost savings, has resulted in excellent staff productivity, and increased efficiency in a lot of instances.
To those of you who worked from home with little ones – I believe you have developed a whole new superpower! The juggling required would have been immense, and is a testament to your resilience and commitment.
Businesses adopted various ways of working more efficiently during 2020, but a popular new hybrid workforce model can provide both the benefits of remote working and the social connection of being in the office and part of a team.
We seemed to care more in 2020. We cared about each other, we contacted our clients more, we checked in that our staff were OK. We seemed to be nicer, more patient and kind.
In my local neighbourhood, I had never seen so many people out walking their dogs and calling out “hello”.
We know business is built on relationships, and this highlighted how important it was to us all. How can this new empathy and kindness be integrated into everyday business? And what positive impact would it have for your staff and clients?
Businesses needed to get online fast when the pandemic arrived. This would already have been on the ‘To Do’ list for many SMEs, but Covid-19 meant they needed to take action quickly if they were going to survive. Through social media, e-newsletters, online marketing, Google Adwords, re-marketing, creating e-commerce sites, etcetera, we needed to be seen online and be found.
Service-based industries became very familiar with ‘Zooming’ every day (and yes, there is such a thing as ‘Zoom fatigue’).
Technology meant we had the tools to run our business. It allowed us to market what we do; enabled us to stay connected to colleagues. We could ‘see’ friends and family and we relied on it more and more.
Moving forward, technology needs to be invested in. Look at your marketing spend, your software. Upgrade your services, online marketing, and pay the experts to help you.
This is not a cost but an investment.
Supporting local businesses
There was the shift to ‘shop local’ and support local in 2020. Suddenly we were buying vouchers for coffee we wouldn’t be redeeming for weeks. We were looking for ways to buy from small businesses, because we knew it could make the difference between them staying in business or shutting their doors.
New websites were launched to help promote SMEs, and there was a real feeling of community and going out of our way to help others.
If you want to increase cashflow and turnover this year, how can you actively support other local businesses and help them do the same?
It’s up to you
How can you apply the experience of last year? Think about how you can take the lessons learned, and build a better, more streamlined, and profitable business for it.
We know there was a lot of hardship, and continues to be in certain sectors. But if we can take the good and find new opportunities, we can use this to create a better future for our clients and staff, our business, our families, and our wider community.
Leading business growth specialist Fiona Clark has developed an exciting new BreakThrough Women in Business Program, launched in January. This transformative 12 month program is designed specifically for female business owners or managers.
To find out more go to: www.bbsolutions.co.nz/women-in-business-program/