Selecting 4 Key Business Lessons from 2020

By at 31 December, 2020, 1:10 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

If you want to get overwhelmed by an online search, just plug “business lessons from 2020” into Bing or Google. The list is lengthy, to say the least.

I combed through an assortment of entries – including lots of firm-grasp-of-the-obvious declarations – and found some items that offer value as insights and/or reminders.

Trust. Writing in the St. Louis Business Journal, Scott Scully, the CEO of Abstrakt Marketing Group, talks trust with your employees:

“The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever before to quickly adopt a work-from-home model. Having more team members at home means putting your trust in every person in the organization. This can be difficult, especially when business owners are already under stress about how Covid-19 may affect their business. Plus, if you’ve never allowed remote work previously, you don’t know whether it’s going to be a success or a complete disaster. At a time like this when so many people are dealing with their own stress, the best thing business owners can do is put their trust in employees. Show employees that you believe in them and are there for them if they need anything at all. When you do this, your team members will return the favor by working as hard as possible to achieve goals.”

Liquid Cash. While it can be a luxury for many small businesses, it is worth noting what Adam Crookes, founder of Freshly Squeezed, noted:

“The most valuable business lesson I’ve learned in 2020 is the importance of having liquid cash. The most fluid asset a company can own. As we’ve prepared to weather the storm, cash has been invaluable to our business. This is our safety net. Fortunately, prior to the pandemic, we have always been big believers in the importance of having a strong cash position to prepare for the unexpected. The unexpected certainly came in 2020! Over the course of the year, despite having grown tremendously, we have continued to build our cash reserves in anticipation of the uncertain economic climate ahead.”

Diversification. Diversification is an old business topic. In entrepreneurial and gig economy terms, another way of putting it would be having multiple revenue streams. Either way, Bridget Hilton, LSTN Sound Co., observed:

“A hard but invaluable lesson learned during the pandemic is an old but good saying: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Our company did a lot of business in the events space and millions of dollars of potential revenue disappeared overnight. The same could be said for retail and hospitality. Through the pandemic, we’ve learned to diversify further, because you really never know what will happen.”

Remote Work. Finally, Arjun Bajaaj, CEO and founder of Daiwa, neatly summed up the benefits of remote work:

“While work from home was initially forced upon us, but we soon came to realize that remote working is indeed possible. With the necessary tools and resources, remote working resulted in a much more productive outcome, even more so than in an office environment. I feel we need to consider the long-term viability of remote working—not only will we be prepared for another disastrous situation, but also it will help the workforce maintain their work-life balance in a better manner, indirectly resulting in a valuable outcome for the company. Your business will also save money, as some of the major expenses of running a full time office will be eliminated.”

These are solid points from which we can all learn. No doubt, there are more valuable insights from entrepreneurs and business leaders, so always keep an eye out and stay ready to learn and improve.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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