By Teri A. Coutu
I think it goes without saying that none of us ever thought we would be facing everything currently happening in the world – especially all at once, but, here we are. As I have been chatting with business owners across the East Coast, it has been interesting to hear both pros and cons they have been experiencing through COVID.
The “cons” probably go without saying, as I heard the same things across every business. The “pros,” however, are worth sharing because it may spark some helpful thoughts and ideas.
Here are some of the “pros” that were shared with me:
- “COVID forced me to review my budget and create one that is more beneficial to my business and will keep me on target and in a better position over the long term.”
While it has been challenging for every small business, several companies made some serious changes to their overall budget and found areas where they could decrease expenditures.
- “I have learned how to be a better communicator now that my team is working from home.”
Managing remote workers can be intimidating to many team leaders, but several people indicated that they sat in on helpful webinars that helped them learn how to adjust their communications to meet the needs of each employee, and that has reduced conflict and maintained or improved productivity.
- “We created new business partnerships that have helped many businesses in our area.”
Every business needs a hand right now, so it can be very helpful to combine forces with complementing businesses. I spoke with one group of four businesses that started cross-marketing each other on social media and each one saw a boost in sales and income. They plan to continue building these partnership marketing programs regardless of COVID, as the business leaders are also enjoying having a peer group with whom they can share challenges and ideas.
- “We learned a lot about our employees and were able to make some structural changes to maximize their skills and characteristics to benefit them and our business.”
Challenges like this are a great time to re-evaluate who you have working in which position, and make appropriate adjustments. Some business owners indicated they let go of some under-producers while promoting some star employees and they probably wouldn’t have done that if COVID hadn’t forced them to focus on productivity.
- “I did some serious soul-searching and have started working on becoming a better leader.”
Vince Lombardi said “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.” Many business and team leaders have been using this time to improve their leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and team development. This is a great investment that offers a long-term benefit for each individual, their employees, and business.
There is always a silver-lining to any challenging circumstance. Sometimes it just takes more effort to find it. If you have some “pros” you would add to this list, or, if you would like more info on how to implement any of these ideas in your business, contact me – I am happy to help!