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The pandemic changed the way we do business. Although we've heard of a “mysterious” illness spreading in Asia, we never thought that COVID-19 would lead to total lockdowns and unprecedented job losses everywhere.
I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to continue working despite the uncertainty that COVID-19 presented to us aspiring entrepreneurs.
One of the positive things that the pandemic taught me – if there's any – is I learned to adapt to the changes. The changes were jarring, to put it mildly, but thank goodness they brought the best in all of us! So what lessons have I learned as a solopreneur in the middle of the pandemic? I learned to:
Back in the day, when I worked in the office, I followed a rigid schedule. From the moment I wake up, I know exactly what assignments or projects to work on. I have a timetable; I have meetings, deadlines to meet. I planned the day; I start and finish my day like clockwork.
Well, those days are over!
Now that I’m working from home, I’ve learned to be more flexible. I learned how to set things up at work and to find solutions to problems that I never came across before. I’m my own IT! I learned how to manage my tasks and find ways to stay productive. If you are working from home, for yourself, you have the benefit of being able to take charge of how your products are made. For example, those running their own healthcare businesses are in a similar position to me and can choose everything from the way their products look, to how they are made (such as choosing the correct blister packaging for capsules). I was afraid that my business would hit a rough patch because I am working from home.
But business continued despite the pandemic! I was busier than ever because I was juggling many tasks at once, but I was still getting things done. And you know what? I was able to stay productive even when I am working from home because I learned to be flexible.
There is definitely no “I” in team in these dark, uncertain times. When you're cut off from the office and stuck at home in front of a computer, you have to trust your team to work with you.
Yes, it's hard to lead a team when everyone's at home. Still, through compromise, cooperation, persistence, and flexibility, it's possible to complete big projects even in the middle of a health crisis. Also, communication is essential, internally and externally. If you cannot sit with your team in person, you need to keep everyone in the loop to complete the project on any virtual platform available.
I've learned that I can't do it all and delegate specific tasks to my team members. It was during this time that I've learned how vital a team management platform is at work. I've discovered ways to work our schedule around my team's timelines. I’ve also learned to be patient; some processes may no longer work when you’re working from home. Thankfully, there are so many workarounds; you need to find the right one for your team.
The jarring changes in the business landscape made me realize how vital a contingency plan is. No one saw the health crisis coming, so it’s not surprising that many businesses were affected by the lockdowns. But preparing well in advance could minimize the effects of these changes.
A good crisis plan is a critical part of any business. I've learned that certain business processes have to be changed during a crisis.
When you’re managing your business in the comforts and privacy of your own home, it’s crucial to prioritize two things, the safety of your team members, yourself, and the survival of the business. Thankfully, working from home makes it so much easier to create and stick to sanitation measures.
Working from home for more prominent companies means spending thousands of dollars on laptops, webcams, headphones, and subscriptions for team management solutions. For us, independent entrepreneurs, the adjustments are minimal. As long as we have our laptops and personal computers, we can work remotely.
As for the business’s survival, it’s tricky to navigate the industry in these unpredictable times, so learn how to adjust your work processes when changes happen. You have to anticipate certain situations and find workarounds fast enough so the changes won’t make as much impact. You need to know what products or services are more valuable during the health crisis and create campaigns to earn some leads. Other campaigns for products or services that don’t really offer much value at this point should be paused to save time, energy, and resources.
Keep your business on the right track by making it better day by day. Check your goals and plans, see which ones are attainable in this business climate, and leave the rest until everything goes back to normal. Concentrate on goals that will give your business a quick advantage over the competition and pursue more resilient projects. Yes, you can think about the future, but the health crisis brought so many changes that you should invest only in potentially profitable projects.
The pandemic may have affected the way we do business, but and if you've been feeling overwhelmed, you're not alone! It's been a challenging season for everyone, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't wish for a better 2021; it’s possible to keep your numbers up as long as you’ve built a resilient brand.
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