For the majority of small businesses, this year has been a tough one. We like to compare it to frozen, skied out moguls. When we look back to February when all this began, business was popping like a bottle of champagne after an amazing powder day on the mountain. The economy was on track to have a spectacular year. Flights were packed, restaurant reservations were hard to come by, retail was having an outstanding quarter, ski resorts were thriving, and so on. Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little time called the beginning of 2020. And then, almost overnight everything changed.
Was your business prepared? With all this madness ending on the horizon, we are going to highlight some lessons we have learned this year and how to better prepare your business for a downturn in the hopefully not so near future.
The first and arguably most important lesson is business agility. Was your business able to pivot from its normal operations quickly and efficiently? Were you able to be agile enough to not resist change and come up with an altered, perhaps new business model? Business owners had to humanize their companies by really knowing their customers wants and needs, and changing processes and procedures to meet those needs. Part of adapting quickly has to do with mindset. You must be mentally prepared to switch gears in a timely manner. 2020 has tested us and revealed our strengths and weaknesses. Were you able to make the best choices with the information you had?
Photo Credit: IG/@michaelmowery
This brings us to the next topic of creativity. I bet you have had to come up with creative ways to either thrive or hold on for dear life this year. The pandemic has forced businesses to get out of their comfort zone and come up with new creative ways to reach customers. This may have been finding new channels to target, creating new products to fit customer’s needs (for example: lots of companies started making face masks), modifying how customers use or consume products, and finding new market opportunities. By getting out of your comfort zone, you may have unlocked new, exciting transformations you never would have known existed if it weren’t for 2020.
Getting out of your comfort zone also meant getting familiar with technology. Tech has been the backbone of having a successful business in 2020. Many entrepreneurs have become pros at digital platforms such as Zoom and wizards in document sharing cloud platforms such as Dropbox these last few months. The biggest takeaway here is, be comfortable with using technology before you even need it. Zoom made its debut almost a decade ago but most business owners had never used it before 2020. Were you ready to jump on board with new tech services?
Many businesses were not financially ready for a pandemic. Every day we are seeing multiple businesses, big and small go out of business. A lot of businesses did not have the cash buffer they needed to withstand the downturn. This brings us to the importance of having an emergency fund. While we know having excess cash is not possible for all businesses, those that had backups were more likely to stay afloat. We cannot stress enough the importance of having a good accountant and bookkeeper to deliver financial reports for you to have a grasp on your cash flow. If you still don’t have full transparency on your finances, reach out to Singletrack Accounting.
Now that we have gone over the learning lessons of 2020, we can look back on this wild year and know that we have acquired some valuable lessons. To summarize, 1) Be agile. 2) Be creative. 3) Technology is your friend. 4) Don’t get over your skis with your finances. We have learned a lot and will come out much stronger in the years ahead.
At Singletrack Accounting, we are here to help you. We want nothing more than your small business to succeed. Our done-for-you program not only provides audit-ready books & tax filing but also a Team of Small Business partners who understand what you are going through and are with you every step of the way. Please reach out. You do not have to go it alone.