Let's flush 2020 and move forward!

Goodbye, 2020! Ready for what’s next…

Whether we’re managing a business, starting a career or just trying to keep life in order, years like 2020 don’t do much to convince us that things are going to keep running smoothly. Many of us are just ready to move past the year 2020 and get on with what’s next. It feels like the year has been one frustrating lump of setbacks that are still somewhat undefined and unknown. We want to give the year 2020 a big flush! Let’s take a look back at the year and then a look forward to find what’s in store for 2021 and beyond.

Looking back on 2020

2020 brought a mix of all kinds of lessons for businesses and individuals alike. Even with several weeks to go before we’re done and we can fully put it behind us, there are still many lessons that can be learned from the craziness of the year. There have been many lessons over the course of the year, but here are three of the most relevant lessons from observations we’ve made.

  1. Businesses must actively seek out customers

  2. Innovation and education are critical to success

  3. Customers are still looking for great products and services

While this list is far from a comprehensive view of everything to be gleaned from 2020, it’s a great starting point for some thought and conversation about the year and what moving forward looks like.

Businesses need to seek out customers

If you’re like most businesses, customers don’t just come to you – you need to go out and find them. While this may seem like an obvious observation, many businesses may have taken for granted the momentum of a great economy and the high readiness and willingness of customers to buy. When it feels like customers just come to you with little or no marketing effort, it is easy to get lulled into thinking things will always be that way. Well… nope! 2020 has certainly been a wakeup call to many businesses and they’ve remembered that customers’ trust and money must be earned.

The year has also highlighted the reality that standing still is likely to put you behind. Holding the pause button for too long can have dramatic and undesirable effects on your business. You’ve heard the analogy that life (and business) is like walking up the down escalator. If you stop even for a few moments, you quickly realize you can drift back to where you started. In our fast-paced economy, combined with shutdowns and uncertainty, standing still has never been more dangerous. And even though our businesses may have powered down for a while – our minds don’t have to. Instead of fretting over the difficulties, we can dust off our thinking caps and get to work solving problems and leading with our minds and coming up with creative solutions.

Innovation in business is alive and well

Despite the global pandemic and uncertainty in so many parts of life, innovation is alive and well and people are coming up with new ways of doing things. With such a rough year, many would assume that the rapid pace of startups and innovation would have come to a grinding halt. But quite the opposite has happened. Faced with difficult challenges, brilliant minds have come up with new solutions that help us adapt to the challenges in front of us. Communication channels have changed through video conferencing technology. Restaurants have adapted to keep customers fed and happy. Individuals and businesses have found new ways to work from home effectively. Businesses of all kinds have started offering better solutions to get products to their customers quickly and more efficiently. The healthiest businesses are the ones that adapt to their customers’ preferences in addition to situational factors outside of their control – ignoring either isn’t the right recipe.

And as the increasing pace of innovation and adaptation continues, if we don’t know how to do something, we buckle up and learn it. Our modern age is the age of learning. We can’t be content sitting around and waiting for the world to slow down for us so we can catch up. With so many ways to learn and experiment, there’s no excuse NOT to learn how to do new things that can keep businesses moving forward. “I don’t know how to do that” is no longer a viable excuse when we’re trying to move our businesses forward. With many skills and areas of knowledge, we can experiment on a small scale in the business. We can even take courses to learn more about elements of running our business we may need help with.

People still need and want products and services

Even when the economy is in turmoil and uncertainty seems to be the state of things, people still need products and services. When many were expecting the economy to come to a grinding halt because of Covid-19, it didn’t necessarily happen that way everywhere. Even with many businesses closed and people working from home, businesses have found ways to adapt and make the most of a less than ideal situation.

When your business is deeply affected, sometimes you have to come up with new and creative ways to get your products and services to customers. Sometimes that means we need to adapt our business model, our delivery method, our purchasing process, our supply chain, or other elements of our business. But when businesses are attuned to the needs and wants of their customers – even in unprecedented circumstances – there are many opportunities that may have been unseen or unheeded before that offer a new way forward.

We’ve only scratched the surface with these little nuggets of wisdom gained from 2020. There are many more out there to be found and certainly ones that apply specifically to your business. Armed with those lessons, now it’s time to look forward into 2021 and to chart our course to success there.

Looking forward to 2021