It’s hard to believe that 2020 is nearing its end, but it will surely be one to remember for years to come. This year has been a difficult one for business owners. Many of my clients included, have persevered like never before, and for this they should be commended. It is this perseverance, adaptability, and resilience to overcome trying times that should continue to be your focus as you prepare your businesses for the new year.
With the second wave of COVID-19 upon us now, we know we will be heading into another unpredictable year, but instead of starting off the new year with unease, it’s time we remind ourselves of our entrepreneurial spirits, why we got into business, and why we love what we do. Use this verve to help you gain a fresh perspective for what’s bound to be another challenging year. Here are my recommendations for where to start.
Be open to change
In general, change can make us uncomfortable, but for business owners, unexpected change, like we’ve experienced this year, can deeply impact our livelihoods far beyond feelings of discomfort. Instead of letting change bring you down, I challenge you to welcome it. Let the entrepreneur in you identify new ways to succeed or adapt. Consider looking into improving technology platforms including those for employee collaboration, data security, and software accessibility. Depending on your business, you may also want to explore adding an ecommerce component to your business. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. I recommend getting support from your peers, fellow business owners, industry associations, business mentors, and your senior leadership team. Simply because you’re the business owner, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help or guidance.
Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t
It’s no secret that certain industries and businesses have been adversely affected by government restrictions and shutdowns. While we can’t control what the restrictions will be or what impact they will have, we can focus on decisions that are in your control. Instead of wasting precious time worrying you could be spending it on productive business improvements. Some of these may include improving processes and procedures; reviewing your marketing and improving brand visibility; adapting business models; identifying new business development opportunities; and developing a unique, welcoming company culture to drive employee satisfaction and retention. Some of the most successful businesses have made changes to things under their control to keep moving their business forward.
Reconnect with yourself, your staff and your loved ones
Running a business isn’t easy, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to burnout. If you do, there are far worse consequences than simply taking a day or two off. As we approach the new year, I encourage you to “let go” and disengage in the “running” of your business over the holiday. Think about the holidays as a battery recharging station. Take the time you need to fall in love with your business all over again. You can empower your employees providing them with more responsibility or considering their input for your strategic planning moving forward. Remember, that this year has been difficult for them as well, so I encourage you to recognize their efforts in a thoughtful way. Perhaps extra time off, or an electronic gift card in lieu of a holiday party/dinner.
I also recommend thinking more about your work-life balance and making some decisions about taking more time to reconnect with your loved ones. If your family is spending more time at home these days, take any opportunity to spend time with them. If your child is taking online school, consider combining your breaks with theirs and do something fun (who doesn’t love a snowball fight?).
2020 has been one of the most challenging in recent times. As we move forward into 2021, dig deep into your roots to remember why you became a business owner in the first place, and use that as inspiration to drive positive change for your business moving forward. If you need help getting started, The Alternative Board is here to help you succeed.