To say that 2020 has been a year to remember (or forget) is an understatement! The global pandemic, presidential election, and virtual schooling, to name just a few.
Although this year has created new challenges for individuals, families, and businesses, it has also provided many learning opportunities. Here are some of the things that I have learned and or have observed within my clients.
Family is most important!
Where there are challenges there are opportunities.
The best laid plans require flexibility.
Those that have planned have performed better than those that did not.
Leadership is critical in times of uncertainty.
The ability to execute, regardless of plan, will always win.
Complacency will leave you behind, even in a pandemic.
Resiliency and a positive attitude can overcome even the toughest of times.
As a business owner myself, I am continually learning and growing. And, as do most, I learn a lot more in difficult times than in good times. This year has been no different. Like many of you, our 2020 Business Plan has not turned out as originally planned. When the pandemic hit in March, the faucet shut off for 6-8 weeks, gradually turning back on through the summer months and into the fall; however, not without casualties.
As leaders and business owners there are many hats we wear day-in and day-out. During a pandemic, this is elevated to an even greater level. We are managing uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, not only for our employees but also for the future of our businesses.
In our company’s line of work, we are fortunate not to face the catastrophic effects of COVID felt by those in the hospitality and tourism industries. We have, however, been challenged in unexpected ways.
How business is conducted changed overnight! How we deliver our products and services, operating remotely, or even the changes in the markets in which we serve. This year has caused us to rethink our business model. What can work in this new environment? What should we abandon? What should we continue to do post-pandemic and what should we go back to? Flexibility, creativity, and general openness to new ideas and perspectives has never been more critical.
So, what are some things you can do as a business owner and leader during uncertain times?
Be transparent – share the good and the bad with your team.
Focus on what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Engage your team in developing a plan – people want to act and be part of the solution.
During this past year all our clients have been able to manage through the ‘storm’ of uncertainty. Some have had significant growth, some have performed well below plan (but survived), while others have maintained levels of 2019. The one thing they all have done is have a plan. The plans may not be what they had initially established at the beginning of 2020, however, they were able to come together within their respective organizations when the pandemic hit to address not only the urgent, but the important. As leaders they evaluated the plans and identified where they needed to adjust based on the current mode of remote operation and communication. They sought out new markets and services where possible and/or developed new ways of delivering their product or service to customers.
Uncertainty breeds creativity and success – Helen Harkness, PhD
One of the most important things I have learned is that while having a plan provides a roadmap for execution - the ability to be flexible with that plan to take advantage of opportunities, shift when new obstacles are presented, and succeed in even the most difficult times, is the most critical part of the equation.
If there’s one thing that’s certain in business, it’s uncertainty. – Stephen Covey
There have been a lot of challenges this past year and there will be many challenges ahead. What we do with those challenges both personally and professionally within our businesses will determine our future success. Have a plan, be flexible, and know that life will continue to throw us curve balls. What we do with those curve balls determines our resiliency.
Cheers to a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2021! Plan, Lead, Execute!
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC
Our firm is focused on providing business owners and their businesses with strategic planning, exit planning, financial expertise, and organizational improvement. We use a holistic approach within all of our services by aligning leadership with business strategy and outcomes.
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