Now that it has been over two months since our lives and businesses have been forever changed by COVID-19, we all have had time to be angry, scared, anxious, and grief-stricken over the loss of how we used to live. When this is all over, there may be remnants of our “old” ways that will remain but most agree that the business landscape will be different as we move forward.
This change isn’t necessarily welcomed by businesses but business owners are resilient, if anything. They are naturally optimistic, they have a higher risk tolerance, and they tend to be on the lookout for new opportunities regardless of the economic environment. So, as we near the end of the shutdowns of many businesses and we get ready to move into a tentative and cautious operating environment, it makes sense to take a moment to look at the ways we can use the pandemic to emerge as better business owners. Let’s take a moment to slow down, reflect on the last few months, and evaluate the opportunities ahead:
What is essential? And what is not?
The word “essential” has taken on a new meaning for many of us. Essential services, essential employees, essential groceries…..we may never want to use the term again! Being forced to slow down, however, has given many of us a new perspective on the things that provide a return for our business and the things that weren’t really necessary to begin with. Are you carrying a line of products that don’t really sell because of a loyalty to the vendor? Maybe it’s an opportunity to use the pandemic as a way to drop the line and carry items that have a strong demand. Are you spending a lot of time at networking events that drain you of energy and don’t provide a return? The pandemic may provide an opportunity to drop some networking commitments that take you away from more productive efforts. Regardless of your situation, now is a good time to take a hard look at your business and make some small changes that will yield large returns.
Who is a real partner to your business?
Successful businesses partner and collaborate with other businesses and organizations. When things are going well, everyone wants to partner, everyone wants a sponsor, and everyone wants your business. What happens when things change? This is a good time to think back on the last couple of months and recognize who was there for you. Who helped you out or provided a shoulder to cry on? Those are your true business partners because they have proven they are there in the good times AND the bad.
How can you improve your financial knowledge?
Business owners who create valuable companies know their financials. They know their bank balances, they look at their Income Statement and Balance Sheet regularly, and they stay on top of expenses. It can be uncomfortable for business owners to learn the financial side of their business but the education is well worth it. We have talked with clients who have taken the slow down as an opportunity to invest in themselves as business owners. Some have learned QuickBooks, some have taken bookkeeping classes, and some have spent some time with their accountant. The investment of time and effort in learning business financials is well worth it and will pay off in the future.
Every challenge we face provides opportunity, and this time is no different. Changing our perspective can open our eyes to improvements we can make now that will provide great returns later. And finally, give yourself a pat on the back for all you have done in the past couple of months. You deserve it!