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5 business lessons to take away from COVID-19

Explore the best ways to implement those lessons now and in the future

Chances are, your business looks much different today than it did this time last year – and much more different than you thought it would now.

And, either fortunately or unfortunately, your business may never look quite the same again.

But, there are many powerful lessons that we can take away from the unexpected changes that can change our business for the better. Here are 5 business lessons to take away from COVID-19 and how to implement them now and in the future.

We spoke with Brandi Johnson, Marketing Coach at heybrandi.com on important lessons small businesses can learn from COVID-19:

1.  Ditch the office.

Across the world, offices were forced to close entirely or learn to operate with a skeleton staff. Many businesses, including Twitter and Facebook, have chosen to allow their employees to stay remote indefinitely. Some businesses have decided to close their offices permanently.

Related: How big and small businesses are shifting to remote work

Now is a great time to embrace how our small businesses can operate with a smaller physical footprint, saving overhead expenses while giving teams more flexibility. Ditching the office doesn’t have to mean that we give up camaraderie – we can still have team lunches, happy hours, and retreats. We just need to keep up morale and make sure our team feels connected to one another.

2.  Find a new way to serve.

Even if your traditional business was known for serving warm walnut brownie sundaes on red-checkered tablecloths, but you’ve not yet reopened, you can find a new way to help your customers. Restaurants are now offering online ordering services and curbside takeout more than ever before. And, many have even created cook-at-home kits. These kinds of ideas can bring families closer together with your business at the center.

While the rules may be different for how our small businesses operate in the future, we can continue to serve our customers in new and unique ways.

3.  Work WITH your customers.

Speaking of serving in new and unique ways, be sure to involve your customers in the conversation on how you can work together. We’re used to looking at our businesses through a specific lens. But, when we engage our customers in the discussion, we can find new ways to serve. For example, one local boutique’s customers asked for at-home art kits to replace the in-person classes they loved – which has kept the boutique afloat and has opened them up to a whole new revenue stream. Even when they reopen, they can offer both in-person classes as well as at-home art kits that were so successful during lockdown.

4.  Take advantage of technology.

Technology has not only changed our businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic but in many cases, it’s saved them. Now is a great time to lean into how technology can improve our businesses – from creating new ways to provide customer service (like with messenger or live chat bots), to the ways our teams work together using tools like Slack and Zoom. Plus, you can expand your online presence through tools like online shopping and email marketing so your business can be open, even if your doors are closed.

5.  Flexibility is key.

Whether your doors are reopening today, in a month, or you’re still considering a reopen, the biggest lesson that small business owners can learn is to be flexible (and creative!) with your problem-solving.

COVID-19 may be the biggest wrench thrown into how we were running our businesses, but the lessons we learn today can help our businesses not only survive, but grow and blossom in the months and years to come.

Go to OpenWeStand.org for more resources and to learn more strategies for getting through these tough times.