Business Lessons Learned During the Pandemic

(Episode 1 of 2)

Business Lessons Learned During the Pandemic

As COVID-19 struck this past year, we have all been affected in one way or another. Unfortunately, many have been negatively impacted by COVID’s health conditions, changes, economic status, and numerous other ways. 

Specifically, in business, many companies around the world, from start-ups to larger companies, have been forced to close their doors, file for bankruptcy, lay off employees, or think quickly about how to best adapt to the strenuous circumstances. So, what are the most important lessons we can learn from this global pandemic? 

“When you look at any other major disaster to have taken place throughout history, the world always finds a way to bounce back from the amount of trauma caused by it. Whether it be the Great Depression, World War II, or 9/11, there’s a lot you can learn from the response to huge global disasters from the past.” (Source: Keap.com)

This is episode 1 of 2. In this episode, we will be discussing some business lessons we can learn from this worldwide pandemic, and how we can use this crisis as an opportunity to pivot, improve, diversify our revenue, and become more compassionate and patient with those around us. 

Be Quick to Pivot and Change

If anything is consistent, change is, and it happens quickly. When change occurs, it’s easy to fight against it or resist. Quite often, it’s much more difficult to adapt or “give in” to change. Many changes have taken place this year: a worldwide pandemic and its effects on countries, communities, families, individuals, and the workplace. 

“Businesses have, for a long time, taken for granted just how stable (comparatively speaking) our cultural climate has been and how quickly things can change. Businesses that have been able to pivot amid massive, rapid change have survived. Meanwhile, those that have not been agile have either not survived or have taken a major loss. It’s important to see opportunity in the midst of a crisis or confluence of events, and not be upended by the fear the change may pose.” – Steven Le Vine, Grapevine PR & Consulting (Source: Rolling Stone)

Many times, it is necessary to pivot or change the direction we are going in with a venture, product, service, etc. In the case of COVID-19, the workplace has pivoted to a remote, work-at-home setting (much more than it used to be), and in many other ways. We need to be prepared to adapt to these changes happening around us. Businesses that don’t adapt will suffer challenges such as employees finding a better work-life balance working remotely somewhere else, and clients going to other businesses for help who provide video meetings. 

“We are in a transitional period and employees are becoming more assertive and clear-headed about what they do and do not want out of their employment. That trend started when the millennial generation entered the workforce, but it has become more pronounced across all generations due to the pandemic. Employers looking to recruit and retain top talent will need to meet the expectations of these employees or risk losing them to competitors who offer more flexibility.” (Source: JD Supra)

This crisis has definitely been a tectonic shift that is changing the business landscape, but this has also opened up many doors and created many opportunities for entrepreneurs that were not “typical” before COVID hit. 

Remote Work Has Many Advantages

Remote work has caused many valuable shifts in the workplace. Some of these shifts that will stay, according to Tech Republic, include businesses being more trusting and empowering of employees, managers increasing flexible working hours, virtual teams working across locations and departments, and agile teams forming and disbanding around specific activities.

Working from home has definitely been a shift for many businesses and individuals, but it is possible and allows for valuable opportunities such as those previously mentioned. I personally have benefitted from working remotely. It allows me the freedom to interact with my family and help them as needed. It allows me to spend less time away from them. I also feel that working from home avoids many of the distractions that can take place in a typical work environment and gives me more time to focus on creative and priority projects. And, I love the money I’m saving not having to pay rent and all those related expenses.

According to Arjun Bajaaj on Forbes, with the necessary tools and resources, remote work has resulted in a much more productive outcome, even more so than in an office environment. We need to consider the long-term potential of working remotely. This can help prepare us for other crises in the future, but it also helps the workforce maintain a better work-life balance, which results in a valuable outcome and decreases the expenses of running an office or renting a space. 

Many companies have shifted into this remote work environment, and “they’re finding it works. Not only are employees able to complete their workload [while dressed comfortably], avoid frustrating commutes, and reduce dry cleaning bills, they’re keeping pace with production and morale is high. Some businesses are running with the trend. Twitter and Square have notified employees they can work from home permanently if they choose. Google and Facebook have extended work-from-home options through the end of the year… we may have been thrust into telework, but it seems to be working.” (Source: Zenefits) 

Diversification Can Provide Stability

“Through the pandemic, we’ve learned to diversify further, because you really never know what will happen.” – Bridget Hilton (Source: LSTN Sound Co.)

One of the main tectonic shifts I focus on is recurring revenue, and having multiple streams. When we pour all of our eggs into a single basket, it can be quite dangerous. What if the only revenue stream we have is destroyed overnight? What other revenue is there to rely on? 

This, unfortunately, was evident as COVID spread. Various stores have been hit hard by the effects of COVID and have had to go out of business either because of the pandemic or because they were barely surviving before it. Diversification of revenue can come in many ways, such as SaaS products, membership sites, online courses, masterminds, recurring product shipments, entertainment subscriptions, etc. 

Through the pandemic_Blog

Luis Carmona, the founder of Tripboxx, said:

“As the owner of a few small businesses (an interior design firm, a small creative agency, and a photography business), I have been told too many times to count, ‘If you focused on just one of your businesses, maybe you can grow that one a bit more.’ Now, more than ever, I have never been so glad that I didn’t listen to that advice. I understand the reasoning behind the comments, but this pandemic has shown me that having multiple revenue streams in different fields is the way to go. When one type of business hurts, the others may save you from going completely under. A varied business portfolio is key to ensure that you can stay afloat with the natural ebbs and flows of a small business. I will continue this business model to ensure the longevity of my business.” 

(Source: Spectrum Business)

Steve Haffner, the founder of Pinnacle Thinking, was also forced to develop other areas of products and revenue during the pandemic: 

“As a solopreneur who makes his living as a professional speaker at on-site events, the pandemic completely pulled the rug out from under me. What I have learned is that having multiple delivery methods for my intellectual property is not just as “nice to have” but a necessity. The forced time away from the stage has given me the chance to spend time developing other formats and products that are still true to my brand and expertise.” 

(Source: Spectrum Business)

 More Compassion and Patience

 

Everyone is dealing_Blog

Despite living through a pandemic, everyone is battling their own struggles or challenges. It’s difficult to see many of those challenges. It is important, however, to be aware of the struggles or challenges going on in the lives of our business partners, employees, and co-workers. 

Add a pandemic to those already current challenges or struggles. “Everyone is dealing with the stresses of this strange season differently, and it is critical to remember that almost everyone is surrounded by shadows you cannot see through Zoom or hear through a phone call. However, these shadows are very real to them and are likely impacting their worldview massively. This is a great time for extra compassion and patience. And the remarkable thing is that this is in no way unique to these times of plague. I find that a valuable thing to reflect upon, and I hope that those of us reminded of that this year go forward with more compassion and patience.” – Tim Fields, Kabam (Source: Rolling Stone) 

Key Takeaways

Here are some of my key takeaways from today’s episode:

1. Don’t be afraid to pivot or change. Businesses that are able to effectively and quickly pivot when needed are the ones that survive.

2. Crisis opens the door to opportunities. 

3. Employees today are more clear about what they want from their employment. We need to try to better understand and meet these expectations as best we can, or risk losing top employees to competitors. 

4. Working remotely brings many advantages such as a more convenient work-life balance, not having to commute, decreased office expenses, flexible working hours, more focus time, better family connections, and more agile teams. 

5. Diversifying our revenue streams can increase stability, especially during times of crisis. More revenue streams also increase the chances of higher revenue. 

6. Everyone has their struggles or challenges with the pandemic. Many are struggling with challenges other than the pandemic. It is important to be aware of others, what they are going through, and to be more patient and compassionate. 

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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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