What businesses learned in 2020 to make 2021 even better.

by Peter Wilson | President

What are the lessons your business learned in 2020? What lessons and best practices are you planning to incorporate into your business in 2021 and beyond?

We talked to a few businesses and got their answers to these timely questions.

Lesson #1 – Quickly Adapt New Procedures

One of our clients, Aussie Pet Mobile, implemented contact-free pet grooming procedures for the transfer of pets. They call or text the pet owner to inform them that they’ve arrived. The pet owner then places the pet in a crate or secures the pet’s leash near the door and goes back into the home. The groomer then is able to take the pet to the mobile grooming van for their spa treatment. Once the groom is complete, the steps are reversed. Payment is handled through a call or card on file. Clients have been very happy with the contact-free procedure and the business has seen continued success.

Lesson #2 – Your Business Needs An Email List

Email marketing played an important role for business success in 2020. Many businesses initially used email campaigns to let their customers know that they were still open and their new operating procedures. 

When some of our dental practice clients were forced to close, we used email to update their patients. When they reopened, we used email to let patients know and updated them on the new procedures for appointments.

Many businesses discovered they didn’t have organized email lists for their clients. We were able to assist them in combining, de-duplicating and cleaning up their lists.

Lesson #3 Virtual Meetings Work…sometimes!

It seems that most businesses that could go virtual in 2020, did. In many cases that meant employees working remotely (usually working from home), meeting with co-workers and customers over zoom calls, attending webinars, relying on email, websites and social media to let customers know you’re open for business and more.

The Upsides of Virtual Meetings

One of the pros of going virtual, especially for meetings, is the elimination of the need to travel. Whether it is across town or across the country, with virtual meetings we can stay where we are and still participate in the conversation. Eliminating travel means we can spend more time actually working.

Virtual meetings also allow more people to participate. Some who would not normally be able to participate in a meeting due to distance or time restrictions are now able to attend and contribute.

At bizmktg.com we’ve been conducting our weekly team meetings virtually for the past three years. The meetings were originally in-person and we shifted to virtual when our team member’s schedules no longer overlapped. We were able to carry on as normal, even when in-person meetings were restricted.

The Downsides

While we enjoy the convenience of virtual meetings, there are several downsides to acknowledge. Researchers have suggested that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. Without the visual body language clues from an in-person meeting, we are left guessing how others perceive us.

We also lose the serendipity of a side conversation, since multiple conversations are not easy with today’s technology. 

Distractions are also a downside of virtual meetings. We usually have our phones within arms-length at all times, including while in meetings. Many of us are likely to immediately read an incoming text message, even while we’re in a meeting. That is less likely to happen in in-person meetings. One way to help your staff to be less distracted during meetings is to encourage your staff to occasionally turn off their camera to get up and grab coffee or go to the restroom like they would during an in-person meeting.

Consider whether or not a meeting should be a phone call or a video call. Just because we can do video meetings, doesn’t mean we always should. Unless you are screen sharing, a phone call might work the best for some meetings and may help prevent “zoom burnout.”

Looking Forward

Even though 2020 was a difficult year for many businesses, there are a lot of lessons and changes that we can bring into 2021. Think about the changes that your own organization has made in the last year and talk it through with your staff members. Which adjustments do you want to keep in place and which adjustments do you want to phase out? 

Stay tuned for next week where we will talk about some tips on making virtual meeting work for your business.

If you or someone you know wants to grow their business in 2021, schedule a free consultation with us.

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