If there is one lesson that entrepreneurs quickly learn, it’s to keep moving forward. This last year has been a tough one to get through. However, as the relentless creatures entrepreneurs are, many have found ways to actually benefit from the situation or have already started rebuilding from it.
Being resilient and learning to go full throttle during tough times is how I was born and raised – and is how I run my businesses today. For example, during the pandemic my family and I had to put our heads together for our bar and restaurant here in our local small town. We were forced to close our dining area, yet we actually increased profits by offering pick-up and then adding delivery as a paid service. We used the opportunity to create a whole new menu and we used our off-sale beer license to deliver beer at our customer’s homes and businesses! We came out with higher profits than we would with our dining area closed, we earned an extra stream of income from delivery service charges – and we even received hefty tips! I was so proud of how we handled the situation, something I will never forget. Now we have since opened our doors and business is back running as usual. However I wonder if we should have ever got back to normal, every time I go to any fast food restaurant I’m still amazed to see their doors to dining are still shut and their drive up is packed with cars wrapped around the block. Brilliant actually. They are now operating with less staff, less house keeping and less menu items that allows them to cut their cost and increase profits on a huge scale. We might not all be happy about it as customers, but as long as the franchisees can get away with stretching their profit margins – we will definitely not see it change any time soon. Other businesses, especially in the health industry, have done very well as a result of the pandemic.
However, there are other businesses that have not done so well. Some of our non-profit organization clients, for example, whom completely rely on fundraising events to survive have almost gone extinct. Even if they could create an event environment with all the precautions to allow for people to feel more safe at the event, the chances of getting volunteers to put themselves at risk are little to none.
In my opinion, one of the worse effects of COVID-19 that I have seen is the devastating plummet of unemployment. According the the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) the unemployment rate has dropped 30%. This has resulted in shortages in food, manufacturing and household income across the nation. Not to mention those businesses that are already struggling – are now struggling to find employees. This puts a huge halt on the rebuilding process.
My digital marketing company has had it’s struggles too. Because of the instant loss of income from clients forced to close doors, I was obligated to lay off my full-time employee. Shortly after, I chose to leave my full time office building because all the meetings have gone online – and with no employees it was overhead that I just didn’t need. I picked up all the work myself … again (as I’ve done off and on for twenty years in the business, sometimes having employees and sometimes not). But the positive side was with the amount of money I’m saving, profits of course have increased.
So now, it’s time to move forward. That will mean different things to different company owners. Perhaps we now recognize ways to cut costs and increase profits. Maybe we created new products or services we can offer. Or perhaps we found a completely new path to take for our business. Whatever it means, we need to keep moving forward in our personal life – and our business. This reminds me of Walt Disney’s quote stated before the credits on the Disney film “Meet the Robinsons” –
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney