One Year In: Running a Business During a Global Pandemic

Throughout my entire professional career, I have been an entrepreneur. While I have truly enjoyed my journey, it has not come without its obstacles – leading through economic downturns, rapid industry changes and strong competitors entering the marketplace. Although all of these obstacles have taught me great lessons, nothing prepared me for 2020 and how to succeed in the face of COVID-19.

Recently I caught up with a friend who attended a prestigious business school and I believe he summed up the predicament the best by saying, “business school teaches you everything, except how to lead during a global pandemic.” This statement demonstrates the lack of clarity and sheer confusion around the best business practices during the pandemic.

One of my pastimes is to follow leading publications and thought leaders in business.  Over the years I have found these sources to be incredibly valuable when examining a variety of problems. It seems that almost all business problems have been encountered in one form or another and the leading publications and thought leaders expertly guide you through them. It was almost astonishing to see that, in 2020, many of these leaders were completely dumbfounded and struggling to put together any sort of strategy to effectively lead and succeed through the level of adversity and uncertainty the last year brought.

Although expert advice may not be readily available, and as I reflect on the year that was, I have learned one lesson that has helped me to come out of the pandemic stronger.  There is one important factor that will greatly help businesses get off to a strong 2021.

In short, businesses will do better if they truly hone in on the reason clients do business with them. The reason usually boils down to a few buckets – price, speed of delivery, expertise and relationship. In order for a company to succeed, they have to be drastically better than their competitors in one of these reasons. To aid in finding your reason, ask the following questions:

  1. How do your rates compare to those of your competition?
  2. Are you able to deliver your product or service in less time than your competition?
  3. If you were to hire the top people form your leading competitor, would it take time to get them up to speed due to your firm’s high level of expertise? If they would fit right in and do well, your firm does not have expertise over your competition.
  4. Is your team able to develop and retain relationships with all of the top businesses in your defined geographic area?
  5. Are you able to pick and choose the clients you want?

If you were to answer these questions honestly, you might begin to understand why it has been difficult to grow and come out of the pandemic with strength. I have seen so many companies answer these questions with only a grain of truth. It is almost as if they do not want to be honest about their problems and competitive advantage. New and prospective clients need a reason to use your firm, and if that reason is not clearly communicated and displayed, it will not only be difficult to attract new clients, but it will be difficult to retain your current clients.

At BAERING, we can help you ascertain your reason and develop a communications plan to help you and attract new clients. We want you to come out of this pandemic strong and ready to compete in 2021. We believe that companies do not have to stay with the status quo, but rather find new ways to emerge stronger and better than ever.