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A focus on the positives we can carry forward into 2021 from 2020

2020 was the year which highlighted several out of date systems that without the immediate need, may have been swept under the rug for another decade at least.

As Britain enters into yet another lockdown what positives can we takeaway from 2020 that can still be applied this year and for the foreseeable future?

We’ve found that ‘giving back’ is essential and should not be a one-time thing

All those acts of kindness, going the extra mile. Perhaps we can’t keep them up during 2021 to the exact same extent, however, with the news of another lockdown we need to ensure that all members of our society are looked after, cared for and still heard.

Many of our SME business owners and readers have charitable donations built into their strategy on a yearly basis, however with lockdown restrictions in place 2020 flagged how focusing in on our need to really boost the kindness within our local community. So this year let’s aim to keep those good deeds going on a more personal and local level by building them into your yearly strategy.

Whether it’s donating food each week or helping out at a homeless shelter once a month, if each business in the area each vowed to tackle one issue, each county would become a much better place. Community spirit boosted – check.

We’ve used data to create multiple contingency plans and in turn have reduced our stress levels from that of, shocked to prepared

With the advances in data and KPI’s, all businesses have the opportunity to view ROI and the effectiveness of campaigns at the touch of a few buttons, many with immediate effect. By cultivating a opportunistic, entrepreneurial mindset, that data can be interpreted to give birth to new ideas to expand on what’s being clicked on in a successful manner and know what to revamp.

By continually staying abreast of changes and advances within your marketplace and other verticals, when certain roadblocks come into place, you’re in a quick position to pivot and form new strategies. Chatting to a number of business owners about their focus for 2021, it was clear that instead of rolling out one campaign, a vast amount of hard work has been undergone to create multiple strategies which can be applied in any number of different circumstances all which have the same desired effect of ensuring that the business can continue, secure jobs and make profit. When the news of another lockdown came through last night, I instantly thought of these business owners and was relieved for them that their contingency plans could be effected and keep their stress levels down.

We’ve whittled down our working processes

I’ve worked for years using task management systems instead of emails, however 2020 was the year that this concept really went mainstream. Collaboration between at-home workers across multiple projects was secured and SaaS providers saw their annual targets being met in a manner of months. Communication was the number one consideration for the millions of business owners across the globe and Zoom and Microsoft Teams were vying for first place to profit from the intense need. As furlough is due to come to an end this year, it will be interesting to see how many of you decide to keep the bulk of your workforce working from home, still utilising these online tools. Although even I have to admit, a break from the intensity of online Zooming was a relief over Christmas.

We’ve boosted our online offering

If your business didn’t have an online offering the chances are high that it does now. From cafes taking orders via apps to independent gift shops now selling their wares via ecommerce providers. Cash which once was king has been usurped by fiat currencies. Perhaps that’s no bad thing. It’s easier to keep track of all payments and by signing up to accounting apps the end of year tax and VAT can be budgeted for well in advance. Again, reducing stress and keeping those brain cells for innovation.

Digital banks have reigned supreme

With lending power curbed and long queues formed in the elements, more and more people have turned to creating online bank accounts with the likes of Revolut, Monzo and Starling to name a few. Quick turnaround decisions, revised red tape and user friendly, up-to-the-second apps have leapfrogged society into the new year in a smarter more organised with their money. It was time the banking system had a serious look at their customer experience, hats off to these digital banks who recognised and acted upon this need. Three weeks to change a business address in a high street bank compared to fifty seconds with a digital bank – I know which one I’d choose …

We’ve created new plans with speed and eliminated pointless tasks

Eight months to blitz a marketing strategy, collaborate and form a nice new Powerpoint? No chance. 2020 saw everyone’s predictions, goals and campaigns halted and completely switched round on their heads. Instead of having departmental meetings deliberating for hours upon end, strategies had to be devised and implemented in record time. The upshot of this? Many businesses have realised once again that they don’t need to fill man hours deliberating. By staying abreast of the data coming to them from their service providers a mentioned above, lends itself to a quick reaction to change. And we all know that those who respond quickly to change will make money in any economic climate …

We’ve learnt to control what we can and maximise opportunities when they arise

Survival for a certain amount of time for many became the sole focus of 2020. I certainly was for me. The first four months of lockdown were long, uncertain and I’m sure it’s resulted in the one grey eyebrow hair that keeps now coming through. Whilst certain specific industries have managed to adjust and capitalise, for many the mindset has been to simply stay afloat. In the vast amount of interviews we’ve conducted over the past year we’ve noticed a positive adaption to change and revamping of businesses where possible that has been both commendable and inspirational. The restaurants who opened food vans to serve substantial meals in pubs from, the gin companies who produced bottle after bottle of hand-sanitiser, the factories making toys who’ve made visors for the NHS, the seamstresses who had to shut their doors to their usual trade but have stayed at home and sewn thousands of cotton masks. We applaud you. Britain’s wartime propaganda department, Ministry of Information quote ‘keep calm and carry on’ became marketing material for numerous companies who re-wrote it in every single way imaginable in 2008. Yet the beauty of those words remains in their simplicity and needs to be remembered today, if you can keep calm you will think of solutions and be able to carry on.

Let’s all channel this quote as we enter lockdown 4.0. I wish you all a safe and innovative few months ahead. Keep me informed of your news and I’ll gladly interview as many people as possible to publicise what you’re doing to stay afloat and push forwards.

cmartin@cbmeg.co.uk

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A focus on the positives we can carry forward into 2021 from 2020

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