Lessons, Contingency Plans, And Adjustments

By Ajinder Handa, NCASEF Vice Chairman, President, Greater Northwest FOA

Since March, many small businesses have been forced to temporarily close, or alter their hours of operation, or open in phases. Due to their nature, a select few small businesses may not have had to close at all. In contrast, some unfortunate small businesses may have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors permanently.

Regardless of the services or products they provide, small business owners, franchisees, and franchisors were rocked by 2020. Due to COVID-19 and the everchanging economic conditions, all us were forced to learn several lessons.

Over the last 10 months, we all learned about the importance of flexibility. It is vital that small business owners are open to adjustments, especially during a pandemic. A few of the adjustments small business owners have had to make are finding new ways of conducting business, implementing new policies, working on a leaner budget, and, most of all, staying healthy.

Another lesson that we learned is that employees are a small business’s greatest asset. Through the last 10 months, small businesses have worked hard to keep their employees and to ensure that they are healthy.

Also, we learned how to operate on a much leaner budget than what we are traditionally used to. Many small businesses have had to adjust, due to a reduction in revenues and changes caused by the pandemic.

Most importantly, we learned that circumstances can drastically change overnight, and it is important to have contingency plans in place. A contingency plan is devised to deal with a future circumstance swiftly and effectively. If you look closely, many business owners made adjustments that improved their businesses, not just for now, but also for the future.

Based on what we have learned, it is time to:

  • Renew relationships with franchisees, franchisors, vendors, employees and, above all, customers.
  • Open new concepts with lower costs.
  • Identify vulnerabilities and fix them.
  • Change proactively to customer needs.
  • Find opportunities where others could not.
  • Embrace new ways of working.
  • Open new lines of communication.
  • Bring your community together.
  • Prioritize your team’s well being.

It is self-evident that we are a resilient group of people who can learn and adapt in the face of adversity. We are willing to fight for our small business since they are not only our livelihood, but the livelihood of many others.