Congratulations! You have completed what may very well have been one of the most challenging first halves of a year in your career. Here, I hope to provide some reflection, insights and inspiration for the way forward. These are the big lessons I have learned so far in 2020:
1. This too shall pass, in both the high times and low times.
At the start of 2020, my team and I were riding a high. My company had started from scratch in the midst of the Great Recession and had exceeded $1 million in revenues for the first time in 2018 and again in 2019. There were also so many times we were knocked down, like the time a commercial banker declined my otherwise acceptable loan application, citing the need for my husband to co-sign on a corporate line of credit for a business I wholly owned. Yet there were so many more instances of my team and I overcoming adversity to build a solid woman-owned small business. From this high point, we believed anything was possible. In many ways that was true: It was possible that much of what we had worked for would shrink overnight, and that terribly difficult decisions would arise through no fault of our own.
It’s important not to get too comfortable in business — particularly not to overleverage debt or underfund savings in profitable times — because you never know what could happen that’s out of your control. And, most importantly, it’s critical to remember it’s possible to survive and even have moments of prosperity in leaner times.
2. Put people first, especially in the most challenging of times.
The week the NBA canceled its season in the midst of March Madness, when Disney closed its parks and Fortune 500 companies and school districts sent workers and students home, I realized how catastrophic closures across the U.S. would be for small businesses and the economy.
As some of our clients mandatorily shuttered doors, I knew we would likely lose revenue and, therefore, not be able to retain our full team. Heartbreaking as it was to downsize, I watched in admiration as our furloughed and laid-off staff members continued to show up for the coaching we extended, started freelance careers and remained selective about new job offers. Their resiliency inspired me to continue to look for new ways forward, particularly by rehiring as many people as possible to the team once we righted the company.
The upshot is your greatest asset is your people. Be as good as gold to them, and they will see your company through even the most trying of times.
To read the full article and learn more about the lessons Big Buzz CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips has learned in the first two quarters of 2020, click here.