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What Can Small Businesses Learn From 2021?

Small businesses across the globe were hit hard by the pandemic. Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and surprises around every corner required many to pivot — quickly and often.

In doing so, many have learned valuable lessons on operating a successful business. Among them:

The importance of crisis planning. The businesses that fared best in the early days of the pandemic were those that had a business continuity plan that outlined how to respond during a crisis. While a plan can’t prepare you for every event, a good strategy will address ways to ensure employee safety, communicate critical information to employees and customers and protect sensitive data, should staff need to work remotely or in a less traditional structure.

Protecting yourself is as necessary as protecting your business. Small business owners don’t get paid sick days when battling an illness. Not only do their businesses suffer from extended absences, so do their earnings. Over the past two years, many owners learned the importance of disability and critical illness health insurance.

Learning to do more with less. The longer a company is in business, the more likely it is to experience a downward trend in the business cycle, whether due to a pandemic, recession or something else. Many owners have learned where they can cut back, or better manage their inventory, without compromising quality or sacrificing what makes their business unique.

Agility matters. Sticking with “the way things have always been done” has proven unsustainable for many companies. Those that learned to shift gears and reinvent their products, services and methods of doing business often found greater success. That kind of agility can deliver benefits in any business environment.

The Bottom Line: Every small business owner expects to face adversity and the pandemic tested many owners’ ability to overcome its challenges. Those that learned to be prepared, yet flexible, will be better positioned to succeed in 2022 and beyond.

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