It’s been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In business, this is more evident every day as organizations have to deal with all sorts of different problems. How business leaders react to those problems ultimately makes the difference between beleaguered results or success. Let’s take a look at three lessons business leaders should be learning from recent events.
For the small business, the COVID-19 pandemic was filled with lessons to be learned. One of the most valuable was that your staff is extremely important. Not that you didn’t think they weren’t, but for many businesses, the situation changed so suddenly that there wasn’t a lot of time spent focusing on their situations. Every business is made up of people that largely want to do well, regardless of the circumstances. They are people, however. People have problems.
If you just look at the circumstances that a lot of workers had to deal with in the past year, you’d realize that as important as your business is to you, without people that care about their work, you don’t have a business. Some people lost loved ones. They had spouses or people close to them lose their jobs or get furloughed. They had children that were home the whole time that they were being asked to work from home. Through all these circumstances they made their home the office and were able to keep your business afloat.
If there is one stark lesson that can be learned from 2020, it is that empathy is required to be the kind of business that people want to succeed in. Business can be cutthroat. Costs need to be slashed sometimes, and that often means jobs need to go. The realities of business don’t have anything to do with how employees are treated. If your company treats people with the respect they deserve, most times you will get more out of them.
Besides the difficulties that businesses and the people that work for them have had to deal with over the past year, it has been pretty remarkable how many businesses have been able to shift their focus to a remote-only workplace, sustain their ability to provide the services they were contracted to provide, and overall make something good out what is admittedly a bad situation.
One thing that isn’t that surprising is that businesses that tended to adopt tech early, or that already had the technology in place, seemed to do better than businesses that scampered around trying to fill in the gaps. Some smaller businesses had to piece together their strategy during the pandemic as they didn’t have the capital on hand to alter their whole IT strategy overnight and therefore had difficulty getting up to speed. Regardless of how it was approached, the rollout of digital tools to facilitate remote work has been a bright spot for workers and businesses alike in a time when positive variables are in short supply.
Now that vaccinations are being handed out en masse, businesses are trying to find a fair balance that provides people with the flexibility they’ve come to depend on, while also utilizing the brick and mortar workspace. Remote work is popular and businesses have to be careful not to alienate their workforce as employee turnover is extremely costly. It will be interesting to see how business owners will be able to compromise their wishes to get their workforce back to normal with employee demands. Businesses that do it right, will stand to prosper dramatically in the coming years.
Make no mistake about it, a lot of companies went out of business over the past year and a half. For some, it’s going to take a great deal of creativity to get through the rest of the pandemic and the subsequent recessionary period that many people think will continue for some time. When we say creative, we don’t just mean the creativity it takes to successfully market your business (although it can include that), what we mean is that business owners--especially small business owners--will need to keep their options open to be able to get through this transitional period.
Business owners have an unprecedented amount of stressors, and many times the pressure that comes from these situations can make people revert to what they already know. Unfortunately, at this time, what you know may not be the thing your business needs at the moment. By having the creative ability to respond to the litany of challenges that are currently present for a small business owner, you could actually save your business. The current environment is filled with volatility and uncertainty and finding new and innovative ways to deliver products and services will be key in the upcoming months.
Many businesses have never had to endure a period like this one. Decision makers need to learn the lessons presented to them and react accordingly. At Washington Works, we can help you get through this period with quality technology support and services. To learn more, give us a call today at 301-571-5040.