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Lessons Learned from a Long Year

Lessons Learned from a Long Year

Last year was a long one for all of us. From simple inconveniences to overwhelming difficulties, the virus brought with it hardships like none many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Not only personal, but professional ones as well.

A study conducted by Yelp found over 176,000 US businesses had closed as of April. Of those, 79% were listed as "temporarily closed", while the remaining 21% had closed their doors permanently. In just six short months, those numbers had changed to nearly 164,000 total closures; only 40% of those identified as temporary. This means the permanent closures had jumped from nearly 37,000 to almost 98,000. US Small Business owners had either been forced to close their doors or had decided it just wasn't worth the fight, and it was time to cut their losses.

We were one of the latter.

A series of local events (looking at you Town of Halls), as well as a few health issues, had been brewing for a couple of years, and somewhere around June, the time seemed right. All the pieces had fallen into place (or out of place, I suppose) and closing the business made the most sense. So, we let our clients know; closed out our accounts; and shut the doors. It was a difficult decision; the failure stung; but it was the right decision... at the time.

By September of 2020, 60% of US Small Businesses closed due the pandemic were not opening back up.

We were one of those businesses.

Over the last half of 2020, I took the opportunity to do some developing; both in my professional and personal lives.

For starters, I came to the realization I hadn't been operating at 100%. In any aspect of my life. The aforementioned health issues had a larger affect on me than I had realized, and pride wasn't letting me admit it. They also had an obvious affect on my personal life. If anything, shutting things down for a while allowed me to make up for some lost time that my time in the Army had shunted from my wife and kids. I honestly don't even know if they realized it, but the time off was the best thing I could have done.

Professionally, it all goes back to the operational capacity. At best, things were running at fifty to sixty percent at any given time. And that, as any business owner can attest, is not sustainable. Having the time to reset has provided an opportunity to reevaluate processes and procedures that had been, if I'm being honest with myself, haphazardly slapped together over the last five years to put proverbial band-aids all over the place. Inefficiencies caused more work than they should have, and often resulted in frustrations that could have been easily avoided.

So, why bring any of this up? Who cares right? Well, no one honestly, and I'm okay with that. But, to those that made it this far into the post, I'll say this:

Don't be too proud to acknowledge the successes of failure. In closing the business, I was able to reevaluate our offerings, restructure our processes, and relaunch stronger than we would have been had we fought through the rest of 2020.

So again, why bring any of this up?

To let you know, we're back, and we're better than ever.

Looking forward to working with all of you again!

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