Is it safe to say that the last year has been a bit… challenging?
We’re not even referring to the pandemic itself. We mean all of the changes that our society has gone through BECAUSE of the pandemic.
Before the pandemic hit, the stock market was doing fine, employment was up, everything was going great. And then March came, and within just a few weeks, everyone was knocked off their feet, unsure how to move forward. Fortunately, everyone moved quickly to figure out how to adjust. Many businesses rapidly put technological innovations and new remote work procedures into place that allowed them to stay open, even during the lockdown. Remarkably enough, some of these changes were actually very positive steps forward!
While COVID-19 is still a problem, staying in business is now much easier than it was at the beginning of the year. Here are just a few of the things that the pandemic taught us about running a business in 2020.
While we certainly don’t expect anything of the magnitude of COVID-19 to happen in 2021—at least, we hope not—the disruptions caused by the pandemic taught us a valuable lesson about flexibility.
If you came up with a business plan back in January 2020, chances are that you needed to throw it out the window by the end of April. “Business as usual” just wasn’t possible anymore. Almost instantly, we saw a divide between businesses trying to rigidly stick to their original plans versus those that rapidly adapted to the “new normal”, changing their plans to best position themselves for success.
Those that tried to stick with a brick-and-mortar-only business model suffered, while those that shifted their business almost entirely online thrived. These businesses translated their product offerings to the digital space, allowing them to stay open throughout the lockdown.
Data Access is Essential
Dependency on the Cloud also grew throughout the pandemic. Locally-stored files were no longer an option, as people simply weren’t in the office. Accessing one’s data from anywhere became a necessity, leading many businesses to start exploring Cloud-storage options.
If you haven’t moved to the Cloud yet, it might be time to make the leap! This will give your business an additional level of flexibility to allow your employees to work from home. Speaking of which…
Communication Tools Are Key
Did you even know what Zoom was ten months ago?
Thanks to the pandemic, keeping in contact with your employees and clients became a nightmare of logistics. Sure, regular phone calls helped, but many people depend on non-verbal communication to truly connect. Enter Zoom.
Zoom rapidly took the lead in video conferencing, almost instantly beating out many of its more established competitors like Skype and Facebook. Why? Ease of entry; anyone could get on a Zoom call. They didn’t need to create an account or worry about hosting. Zoom facilitated easy communication between people—though the technology wasn’t always perfect. There were some significant security and privacy concerns, especially early on in 2020. But those problems have since been patched, and now Zoom is back on top.
Our advice for 2021 would be to keep an eye on the video conferencing space to see how companies innovate. Zoom won’t be on top forever, so by staying aware of new developments you’ll be able to keep your business on the cutting edge of communication—because even once we’re back in the office, video conferencing won’t be going anywhere!
Every Dollar Counts
While programs like CERB helped individuals financially survive during the worst of the pandemic, many small businesses were scrambling. Suddenly, their bottom line was flat, and their expenses were ballooning. Something needed to be done.
One strategy was to ask a financial professional to look at their books to find places where they could trim some fat. Businesses needed to become leaner to make sure that every dollar counted. Throughout 2020, we have gone through the books of many of our clients, helping them find a few places they could tighten their belts. Even freeing up a few extra dollars every month can make a huge difference during a time of crisis!
Even though vaccines are on their way, it’s going to be a long time before things can get back to the way they were. It’s not too late for your business to pivot and make some changes that will not only help you thrive during the pandemic, but long after. One of these ways is to shift your finances over to professionals.
At The Number Works, we’ve been working throughout the pandemic to keep small businesses in a strong financial shape. From handling taxes to finding a few extra dollars in your budget, we strive to make a real difference in your bottom line. Contact us today, and we can help your business survive and thrive in 2021 using all of the lessons we learned in 2020!