St. Louis Business Journal Leadership Trust
As a business owner, it’s no secret to me that each year presents new challenges. I also know that being a great business owner means encouraging my team to work hard regardless of the circumstances. The unprecedented challenges that all businesses are facing due to Covid-19 has made this year especially difficult. When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, businesses everywhere had to quickly adjust.
It’s true that many businesses are trying to navigate their own financial and operational hardships right now, but even so, there is also a lot to learn during a time like this. I can say for a fact that our business has learned more this year about growth than we have during any of our other years in business. I truly believe that along with any challenge comes growth, learning and new opportunities.
Based on my own experiences, here are four things I think every business can learn this year.
If you believe in the value of what you sell, nothing can stop you
Do you believe that your product or service offers something of value that customers need? If you can confidently answer yes to this question, nothing can stop you from being successful, even during tough economic times. Determine what your value proposition is if you haven’t already, and use the unique value of your product or service to your advantage at a time like this instead of acting out of fear, like many businesses.
Achieving business goals is always a team effort
It’s more apparent to me now than it has ever been how much teamwork goes into achieving goals. In an office setting, it feels like second nature to lean over someone’s desk or run to your coworker’s office to ask them a question. Now that we, much like a lot of companies, are working remotely, we have to find alternative ways of communicating with team members to effectively collaborate and achieve goals. When we do, results are that much greater.
If your organization is working remotely, make sure you’re using a communication platform specifically designed for workplace chat. Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Chat are some of the most popular team collaboration tools. Once you find the one that works best for your organization, nothing can stop your team from working together to achieve goals — even from your home office.
Showing team members that you trust them will pay off
The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever before to quickly adopt a work-from-home model. Having more team members at home means putting your trust in every person in the organization. This can be difficult, especially when business owners are already under stress about how Covid-19 may affect their business. Plus, if you’ve never allowed remote work previously, you don’t know whether it’s going to be a success or a complete disaster.
At a time like this when so many people are dealing with their own stress, the best thing business owners can do is put their trust in employees. Show employees that you believe in them and are there for them if they need anything at all. When you do this, your team members will return the favor by working as hard as possible to achieve goals.
It’s important to celebrate all successes, big and small
In addition to showing your team that you trust them, celebrating successes (big and small) should be a top priority right now. It’s very likely that each member of your team is dealing with their own personal struggles. They might be feeling stressed and anxious about contracting COVID-19, for example, or maybe the extroverts on your team are experiencing sadness since they’re spending most of their time quarantining and avoiding social interaction. Celebrating success will make team members feel special and like they’re making a difference.
One small way you can celebrate success in your organization is by creating a group chat on your organization-wide communication/collaboration tool. Whether you use email to communicate or a chat/IM tool, create an email chain or group chat specifically to announce successes. Big or small, post all successes in this channel or email thread and shout out specific team members for the whole organization to see. This will make your team feel great and keep their spirits high during these tough times.
In a year of change, uncertainty and ups and downs in the economy, there is something to be learned by every organization. For every change and hardship you have to endure this year, you should take it as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve your organization for the better. Don’t let change negatively impact your organization; it doesn’t have to. Instead, let every change lead to a brighter future — your business has the opportunity to come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
Scott Scully is the CEO of Abstrakt Marketing Group in St. Louis. You can connect with him about lead gen, marketing and business on LinkedIn.
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