COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, nothing short of devastating. While it has interrupted my life and decimated my business, it’s impact on me seems trivial compared to others across the world. My loved ones and I have our health and am incredibly grateful for that.
While it feels guilty to even consider any “upside” of a pandemic, I find my days being exposed to an abundance of articles all about the downside of COVID-19. So, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how I’ve have tried to draw out some positives from the current situation in an effort to share some hope amongst the gloom of mainstream media.
Here’s 10 things we’ve done in our business that I don’t think I would have been able to, if it was “business as usual”.
1. Flexible work arrangements. I’ve had a flexible work policy sitting in my drawer for years, too scared to implement it. COVID-19 left us with no choice. We have learned what works, what doesn’t. We’ve learned which of our staff thrive working remotely and which do not – and, importantly, they have too.
2. Unknown potential. Someone told me that COVID-19 doesn’t build character, it reveals it. Over the past 10 weeks, some people in my organisation have absolutely stepped up beyond what I thought they were capable of.
3. Tech stack. Our tech stack is way more sophisticated that it was three months ago and, as a result, we are a much more efficient business.
4. Trimmed the fat. When your sales pipeline reduces by 83% in two weeks, you quickly look at what you are spending your money on and how much value it really adds to your business. We are a lot leaner business than we were and a lot more vigilant on real ROI.
5. Business partners. I have been blown away by how committed some of our suppliers are to our relationship. From value-adds, reduced fees, or offering services for no fee at all. Our business may not have survived without their support and that has cemented partnerships for life.
6. Connection takes effort. Whether it be face-timing my mum, or dressing up for a black tie Friday Zoom meeting with the team, staying connected takes more effort than it used to and I’ve strengthened a number of personal and professional relationships as a result.
7. Getting projects done. I ran through old company presentations and found 12 key projects that I had committed to over the past three years, of which I had completed zero. I wrote them down, shared them with my colleagues, built project teams and now all 12 are underway and on track for completion by June 30. #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork.
8. Appreciation. I miss my office and all the awesome facilities my business offers. I think that when we return to the office, there will be less bickering about the origin of our coffee beans and more appreciation of the fact we have a coffee machine.
9. What’s our value? When the demand for my company’s core service (recruitment) dried up, I really had to understand what other value we could bring to clients. In order to do so we had to stop, ask, and understand what our clients’ broader business objectives were. We then had to understand if and how we could utilise our skillset to support them in reaching these objectives. The insights will change the way we service those clients, and the depth of our relationships, forever.
10. Fight or flight. Never has there been an easier “out” for a business owner than COVID-19. At the beginning of this I modelled out everything from business as usual through to close the company down tomorrow. It made me stop and really think about whether this is a business that I wanted to fight for and a risk I wanted to take. It forced a level of focus on my business I have not felt for years and I now feel more committed to it than ever.
"You can’t waste a good crisis”. I said to myself early on that I want to look back at this period and be proud of the decisions I made the way I used my time. Of course, there is another list of 10 things I wish I had done differently, but I will save that one for another blog.
I hope you too have seen a silver lining to the COVID-19 cloud and wish you all the success in navigating the skies ahead.