For many of us, the first business closures from COVID-19 are coming to an end. While your business
may be reopening now or soon, it is, by no means, back to business as usual. Even if you are fortunate
enough that customer demand immediately returns to pre COVID levels, the market and some of its
norms have changed. What adjustments can and should you make for your business? I’ve gathered
some thoughts from conversations with other small businesses in the last couple of months. It’s notable
that many of the “workarounds” owners have identified during the pandemic are just more efficient
ways of doing business during more normal conditions. Whether its being introduced to new solutions
or adapting processes to leverage those solutions, the adage “Necessity is the mother of invention” has
been proven yet again. Here are 4 takeaways fellow business owners have expressed:
The advantages of planning – So many leaders were caught flatfooted by their business closing
due to COVID-19. While the majority were scrambling for work from home solutions and
evaluating how the changes impacted operations, some had plans in place and tested.
Operations were not severely impacted, giving them a leg up on the competition. Good
businesses go through that once and learn from it. Recent experience has left them vowing
they’ll be prepared for the next disruption.
Embrace existing technologies – Tele- “X” and online solutions have been around for awhile and
their adoption has been growing in recent years. Reaction to COVID-19 has shoved it right to
the forefront in many industries. Videoconferencing, telemedicine, online payments, electronic
signatures, upload portals for files… the list is extensive. All items that have been leveraged
during this time to limit interpersonal engagements during a pandemic. It’s also a list of items
that help your business increase efficiencies without sacrificing quality of service – most likely, it
improves the level.
Adapt business processes – Leveraging the solutions just mentioned cannot be done in a
vacuum. In almost every case, it’s a change for how you do business and interact with your
customer. Ensuring your staff can utilize the solutions competently while educating customers
and managing expectations requires a high level of execution. But then, so does separating
yourself from competition.
Developing clear policies- Many businesses were unprepared for the impact of shifting to
primarily working form home. Aside from the technical challenges of simply making employees
functional, exposure of their network to new vectors of remote access had to be evaluated. But
against what standard? Compliance was tough to maintain on short notice changes of this
magnitude. Many owners were also navigating the employment side of COVID-19, particularly
as their legal requirements as employers changed. Who could/should work from home? If I am
an essential business, what should I expect from my employees? Establishing a WFH policy is
adjacent to your Remote Access policy. Having each of these established makes decisions easier
and they are quicker to communicate to a team who already has an idea of what to expect.
Disruption of your business is always stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a negative. You can learn much
about your business’s resiliency during the experience, helping to highlight new approaches and
opportunities. Look for more in depth thoughts on technologies and policies in upcoming posts. When you reopen, the question is not ‘Can you be a better business?’, but rather ‘Will you be a better
-Marc Gibson, CEO/Founder of DThree Technologies