This year, we have all been hit by the most challenging global crisis since World War II, as shared by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The secretary-general shared that the pandemic has had an immense economic impact that can bring about the worst recession ever seen. As a result, business owners have no choice but to be resilient and adapt to the new normal to stay in operation.
But adapting and being resilient shouldn’t be the end goal for business owners; they also have to learn specific things from the changes that the global health crisis has brought to the business world. And to help you out, here are five lessons entrepreneurs should have learned from this year’s crisis:
The global crisis brought major disruptions to all businesses, and one of these is the shift to remote working arrangements. This had led to business owners relying on and trusting their employees more than ever. Therefore, businesses should have learned by now that a reliable workforce is one of the keys in surviving and thriving through a crisis.
This just shows the growing need for businesses to ‘Up-Skill Staff’, which can be done through free or inexpensive online training courses. These courses can help employees in other areas of business, especially if their own roles have shrunk as a result of the pandemic. In fact, businesses in New York are encouraged to provide employees skills training through state grants.
Mental health in the workplace has been an area of concern for some time, but with the global health crisis, the emotional challenges employees are confronting have significantly increased. With employees feeling stress from the uncertainty and major changes brought by the pandemic, business owners are faced with the challenge of maintaining staff, momentum, and morale. As such, business owners like yourself must stay alert to see possible signs that your employees are experiencing mental health problems. One way to do this is by staying on top of employee productivity, not in terms of the company’s success, but for employee well-being. Whether in a crisis or not, it’s important that you keep lines of communication open, and regularly check on your employees.
With employees working from home possibly feeling isolation and employees working on-site being worried about getting infected by the virus, it’s important to help them remember the importance of their work. And the best way to uplift everyone’s morale is by celebrating their successes (big and small). One way to do it is by announcing achievements through email or a group chat in your business’ main communication tool. This will help your team feel better and keep their spirits high during tough times.
The pandemic saw many businesses rapidly having to switch business models and offer new working arrangements to their employees. Therefore, another lesson is knowing the importance of an agile business, and being one. Sometimes, this goes beyond merely changing processes, and your company’s business structure also needs to reflect this flexibility. Sole proprietorships and partnerships may have found it difficult to manage these changes, but those who have chosen to register as an LLC will have enjoyed the benefit of a flexible management structure and less reporting. LLCs in New York are not required to have a board of directors or annual meetings, and also have to file fewer reports than corporations do. This type of flexibility is important for any business that wants to weather a storm like this year’s pandemic.
The global health crisis has also changed customer behavior and the way in which markets move, so businesses must learn and embrace innovation, not only to improve, but also to pull through major challenges. Being flexible and thinking about new and different ways to do things is essential, especially now that we are still in a pandemic. Many New York City businesses have shown this by pitching into coronavirus relief efforts to stay open. Restaurants have transformed into grocery stores, while distilleries have turned to making hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol.
Even though most businesses have already adapted to the changes that the pandemic has brought, the coming year can still be a great challenge as we cannot predict what the future holds. It’s crucial to learn how your business can go forward by adapting and accepting change, rather than wishing that you could return to business as usual.
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Nectar is part branding powerhouse, part consultancy, and part digital marketing agency based in Manhattan.