It is fair to say that the events of 2020 have been unprecedented and whilst the lockdown which was put in place following the Covid-19 outbreak was necessary for our health, it had a big impact on businesses. Indeed there are many who have not survived the lockdown and who have had to close their doors, those who have survived will have to take the lessons of this year forward.
Business guru William West Seegmiller has been speaking in recent months about the need for small businesses, in particular, to learn from the lessons of 2020, and here are some key takeaways.
Ability to Pivot
Those who have survived this lockdown were those who very quickly recognized the need for focusing on what they could do, rather than assuming that everything was out of their hands. We have seen micro-breweries using their setup to make alcohol gel, we have seen seamstresses looking to switch their machines to make face masks, and many more creative ways in which they could keep their business alive.
Even those businesses which have closed have shown creativity that has been able to help them to stay afloat during the lockdown. For example, some businesses have looked to sell coupons to customers which could be cashed in after the lockdown was over, with some bonus cash on top which would draw people in. This is just one example of the creativity which businesses should always be looking to show.
There were some businesses that did show creativity and an ability to pivot their focus, but many of them simply did so far too late and that resulted in a big problem. Whether there is a pandemic or not, a business’s ability to take swift action is absolutely critical and this is a key lesson which all small businesses must look to.
Whilst it is unlikely that we can expect another pandemic which will cause as much disruption as this one has, this has given us a reminder of what could potentially happen. This then will have to change the way in which we consider risk and we should factor extreme situations into our risk calculations. This is all the more important for small businesses that have far less backup or financial padding than a medium or large business.
This situation has reinforced the point that businesses must always work hard to keep their existing customers happy whilst they are looking to grow their customer base. During this tough time, it is regular and loyal customers who have kept so many businesses afloat and they will not only need to be repaid for that loyalty, but all small businesses should be reminded of the fact that they cannot ignore their loyal people in pursuit of new customers.
These are some critical lessons which those small businesses which have survived must be aware of, and they must learn from them going forward.