As we all know, 2020 was a challenging year. COVID-19 hit and everybody suffered. Some people suffered on a personal level, and some people’s businesses suffered. So, hopefully these five lessons that I want to share with you can help you crush 2021.
Let’s look at lesson number one, and that is to be prepared.
It’s critical and important that we are always prepared, especially if we are business owners, entrepreneurs and business leaders. We need to be planning ahead of schedule and being prepared for different situations and different scenarios.
A strategy that you can use is called scenario planning. Scenario planning is quite simple. Consider a particular scenario. So, this is if everything goes well, this is what the scenario would look like.
Then, consider what would happen if things changed adversely, so consider the negative impacts to the business.
- What would happen?
- What would you need to do in the business to keep the business operating smoothly?
So, that’s the first scenario that you can look at based on your original scenario.
Then, create another scenario:
- What if things took off for the business in a positive way above what we had originally planned?
- How do we pivot?
- How do we prepare for and how do we set the business up to deal with those kinds of scenarios?
So, scenario planning is basically looking at a plan, but then looking at contingencies that may happen along the way — negative contingencies and positive contingencies as well.
But ultimately, the aim here is to always be prepared.
Lesson number two, and that is to identify new opportunities.
As we all know, when COVID-19 hit, some businesses were able to prosper and they pivoted their business while others struggled to find their feet for a long period of time.
Some businesses are still struggling today and that’s because they were not able to identify any new opportunities within their business, within their market and also sometimes outside of their market.
Here’s an example I’m going to share with you.
This particular business was an events business. They focused on events. They provided staging, the light rigging, the visual audio setups for events like concerts, shows and large-scale public events. When COVID-19 hit, their business was literally shut down because no one was having any live events any longer and people were forced into isolation.
So, what this business decided to do was to go back and look at what opportunities there were. And, they identified an opportunity to create these stand up desks because everybody was transitioning to work-from-home arrangements. Stand up desks became popular because people were now buying all these things for their house so that they could work better from home, and these stand up desks became popular and it took off and they were able to:
- sustain themselves;
- sustain the business;
- re-train some of their staff, and
- maintain the majority of their staff.
That was because they were able to identify a new opportunity, and that was an opportunity that was very different from their core business.
So, it’s very important to be open to new opportunities, new revenue streams, new ways of thinking and new ideas. At times, it also means being open to taking risks.
Lesson number three — this is a very important one —- and that is to prioritise your health and self-care. Again, I’m going to be referencing 2020 and COVID-19 a lot because that affects a lot of what happened, and the lessons that we learned from that was health and self-care.
People were neglecting their health. Working from home, it was easy to run to the kitchen, grab a snack and eat all the wrong foods. Because of isolation, we couldn’t go out to gyms and train regularly.
And then, a lot of people were affected mentally by being cooped up at home. And also, because a lot of people lost their jobs, a lot of people had to change their work arrangements and their hours were cut, so they were struggling to make mortgage repayments and pay other bills.
So, a major and important lesson there is: prioritise your health and self-care. Consider and look at implementing those training and exercise regimens into what you’re currently doing. You’re working from home, so it makes it easier for you to go take a five-minute walk outside and get some fresh air. You might be able to do some mindfulness exercises as well, clear your mind and focus a little better.
So, a very important lesson — lesson number three — prioritise your health and self-care.
Lesson number four: harness technology
For a lot of people, they had to really upskill in using platforms such as Zoom for team meetings and a range of other tools. When they were in the office, their computer systems and their desktops may have had all the tools and technology already built in. When they transitioned to working from home, they had to purchase new laptops and they had to get new software.
This is where harnessing technology to be able to leverage and help you do your job better and more efficiently is essential.
So, what can you do to harness technology and work better?
For business owners, this is critical and important. Technology is being improved constantly and digital marketing, now with COVID-19, is critical and essential. If you’re not able to market your business in a digital form, you’re going to be left behind. So, ensure that you are harnessing technology.
An example of that is, we do some videos and we do some live streams, and we realised that some platforms were not benefiting from those live streams, so we had to go out and find technology, a platform that would allow us to be able to stream our content live and simultaneously to a range of platforms in real time.
So again, even we had to go out and find this new technology and harness this technology to advance our reach to our customers and also to prospects as well.
And then very lastly, lesson number five, and that is to build a resilient team.
And, to build a resilient team incorporates the top four lessons as well, because to build a resilient team, you need to be prepared, you need to have the right plans in place, and you need to have the right strategies in place.
When you have those, then, teamwork becomes easier, everyone’s on the same page, everyone knows what’s happening and what’s going on because there’s a plan in place and you are prepared for different situations and different scenarios. When an opportunity arises and you’ve got your team behind you, you guys can pivot. The team can then work towards implementing these new opportunities and new strategies as well.
Your team members have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They may have ideas and other opportunities that they may be able to share with the team as well.
Very importantly, like I mentioned in lesson number three, prioritise health and self-care. Take care of your team members, take care of your colleagues, reach out to a team member and ask them if they are okay. Especially with the way changes occurred like working from home, or maybe their hours were cut.
So, it’s very important when you’re building a resilient team and looking out for your team that you also ensure that they are taking care of themselves and you are also there to support them when you know they might be struggling as well.
And again, technology – to be able to leverage the tools like Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts, or whatever technology is being used. This is where your team bonding comes into place and the development of your team occurs. Being able to communicate with others when they’re not physically present, hosting meetings and events and knowing how to interact with each other when you don’t have that physical interaction.
So, it’s very important when you’re building a resilient team to ensure that the technology is supporting that development of that team and ensuring that you can work efficiently and effectively as a unit as well.
So, there you have it. These here are what I consider some of the five important lessons that we picked out of 2020 through this COVID world moving into 2021 that we can definitely improve on and that can help you crush 2021.