Major economic disruptions bring lessons — some painful, others profitable. We have witnessed this through recessions. The recent pandemic gave us a different perspective. According to Reuters, a federal study reported fewer businesses closed during the pandemic than initially projected. “Fewer than 200,000 businesses in the United States may have failed during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.” For those businesses, it was devastating.
Other businesses found ways to reinvent for survival and success. We’ve seen this at The NIIC through businesses we served during the pandemic, like Moake Park Group. Karen Stahl, Co-Owner, shares valuable lessons:
1. Rethink the status quo. Rethink your processes, from sales to project management. Moake Park is a commercial architecture firm. “As an established company, we can get into a rut. COVID-19 made us question everything,” says Stahl.
2. Adapt to survive. Many companies adopted a hybrid working model, including in-person meetings, videoconferencing, remote sharing of documents, etc.
Stahl recalls how staff walked out of their offices with monitors and computers at the pandemic’s onset. “We thought it would be for a week or two. One week led to six weeks, which led to a year. We quickly discovered we are more resilient and adaptable than we thought,” Stahl says.
3. Collaboration is key. Leverage technology to maintain a collaborative culture working remotely, in person, or both.
4. Redeem the time. One way to do this is to redirect recaptured time to strengthen professional skills. During 2020, Stahl used the time that would have otherwise been in meetings to hone leadership skills.
5. Develop entrepreneurial skills. An innovative mindset is necessary to reinvent your business. Stahl concludes, “As disruptive as COVID has been, I seized the opportunity to develop, cultivate and apply my entrepreneurial skills and talents.”