In hindsight, 2020 offers business lessons

Raymond Keating
Raymond Keating

If you want to become overwhelmed by an online search, type “business lessons from 2020.” The list of results is lengthy, to say the least. I combed through an assortment of entries and found four offering value:

Trust. Writing in the St. Louis Business Journal, Scott Scully, chief executive officer of Abstrakt Marketing Group, cited trust in employees.

“The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever before to quickly adopt a work-from-home model. Having more team members at home means putting your trust in every person in the organization. This can be difficult, especially when business owners are already under stress about how COVID-19 may affect their business. Plus, if you’ve never allowed remote work previously, you don’t know whether it’s going to be a success or a complete disaster. At a time like this when so many people are dealing with their own stress, the best thing business owners can do is put their trust in employees. Show employees that you believe in them and are there for them if they need anything at all. When you do this, your team members will return the favor by working as hard as possible to achieve goals.”

Liquid cash. While this might be a luxury for many small businesses, it’s worth noting what Adam Crookes, founder of Freshly Squeezed, had to say:

“The most valuable business lesson I’ve learned in 2020 is the importance of having liquid cash. The most fluid asset a company can own. As we’ve prepared to weather the storm, cash has been invaluable to our business. This is our safety net. Fortunately, prior to the pandemic, we have always been big believers in the importance of having a strong cash position to prepare for the unexpected.
The unexpected certainly came in 2020. Over the course of the year, despite having grown tremendously, we have continued to build our cash reserves in anticipation of the uncertain economic climate ahead.”

Diversification. Another way of putting it would be multiple revenue streams. Bridget Hilton of LSTN Sound Co. observed this:

“A hard but invaluable lesson learned during the pandemic is an old but good saying: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Our company did a lot of business in the events space and millions of dollars of potential revenue disappeared overnight. The same could be said for retail and hospitality. Through the pandemic, we’ve learned to diversify further, because you really never know what will happen.”

Remote work. Finally, Arjun Bajaaj, CEO and founder of Daiwa, summed up the benefits of remote work:

“While work from home was initially forced upon us, but we soon came to realize that remote working is indeed possible. With the necessary tools and resources, remote working resulted in a much more productive outcome, even more so than in an office environment. I feel we need to consider the long-term viability of remote working — not only will we be prepared for another disastrous situation, but also it will help the work force maintain their work-life balance in a better manner, indirectly resulting in a valuable outcome for the company. Your business will also save money, as some of the major expenses of running a full time office will be eliminated.”