2020 was a hard year filled with unexpected, unprecedented events. This hit businesses hard, especially small businesses. As you begin 2021, you may be reeling and wondering how you can get your business on solid ground again.
You’re not alone.
This year our business clients are asking us a question that sounds like this:
How do I get back to where I was?
And it makes sense. Maybe you started the year with momentum, or maybe you had big plans. You’re definitely not the only person wishing for a time machine.
As financial advisers, we believe there are better questions to ask with answers whose outcomes you can actually control. Instead, try asking yourself:
- Is there now an opportunity to pick up market share by doing something different?
- Can I expand my offerings?
- Do I have premium offers to offset losses if my standard offerings disappear?
- Is there new talent available to hire because my competitors cut costs and let people go?
How will you make your company a winner?
In every global situation, there will be winners and losers. It’s worth asking your leadership team: how can we make our company a winner?
In 2008, a regional sprinkler company was trying to weather the worst recession in modern history. Rather than cutting operational expenses, the CEO chose to save his entire sales team. When their competitors closed doors for good, they used their cash reserves to effectively buy top salespeople from their competition. When the economy recovered in three years, this business went through the roof because they had every major salesperson in the Orange County landscape industry working for them.
What if this year isn’t the worst thing to ever happen to your business?
Not every financial loss can be attributed to economic downturns or worldwide pandemics. While some companies like Zoom and Peloton skyrocketed because their offering uniquely met the current crisis, business innovation has long been the result of failure.
The business communications platform, Slack, was originally a technical feature engineered for a gaming platform. When its founders accepted that Glitch couldn’t gain market share, the tool we know today as Slack was born. From one failed initiative, the founders pivoted to create a company whose revenue exceeded 400 million in 2019.
It may not seem like 2020 has done you any favors, but the reality is that it’s challenged business across the globe to innovate, strategize, and pivot. There’s no secret formula to get your business back to where it was in 2019. It may take a few years to feel like you’re back on track. But as you imagine and strategize how to recover from this year, the gift of 2020 is that you have another opportunity to make smart decisions about what to do next.
As you move forward from here, take heart! It will be difficult, yes. But in this difficulty, there is also opportunity.