5 Lessons Small Business Owners Should Learn From the Pandemic

Covid -19

If you’re like me, you’re a bit stupefied at how the world has completely changed in a few short weeks. And you dread what it’s going to look like once the threat of coronavirus dies down. So many small businesses have been impacted, and the small business landscape is going to be forever changed.

I’ve had my moments of despair, as have we all, but I find myself looking for the silver lining. There are always lessons to be learned in chaos; it’s up to us whether we heed them or not.

1. We’re not alone

I was laid off a few weeks ago as a direct result of COVID-19. It stung. It felt like being broken up with in a relationship that had been completely healthy and happy.

But I am not angry or bitter, though it would be within reason to be so. Why? Because I know I’m not alone—20% of my company was laid off. Millions of other people have been laid off, furloughed, or seen a reduction in the number of hours they can work.

We’re all panicking. We’re all afraid of how we’ll make ends meet.

Because I’m also a business owner, so I see the other side as well. The few clients I’ve kept have asked for a temporary reduction in rates. Do I give it to them and be glad to make some money? Or say no and make none? You might be struggling with the same decisions.

This pandemic has made me keenly aware of how connected we are. There’s never been, in my lifetime, something that has impacted every human on earth like this has. There is some comfort in that, in knowing I’m not the only employee laid off, nor the only business owner struggling.

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2. What we do now will determine our future success

What are you doing right now in your business? Are you curled up in a fetal position, waiting for things to get better, or are you proactively finding creative ways to market your business? Are you mired in the process of applying for financing, or are you also keeping an eye on how you can keep employees working?

It’s scary. We can agree on that. But doing nothing isn’t going to help the millions of small businesses in this country weather this. We’ve got to be proactive about planning for right now—even if that means veering off of the business plan path—and also think about how we need to pivot for the future.

3. The future has already changed

Speaking of the future, we keep talking about how we hope things will get back to “business as usual” soon. But the truth is, things won’t be “usual.” Not for a while. Maybe not ever. I feel sick to my stomach when I think of how many businesses will shutter because of COVID-19, never to open again. Entire industries will change how they operate.

The way you’ve been doing business? That probably needs to change. Thinking about that now will help you come up with a plan for how those changes will happen.

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