For many of us, this has been the most unpredictable and difficult year of our lives. Only 11 months ago, we arrived in the new year and the new decade in a world that is far more different and far more certain than the world we have experienced – and it was hard to imagine how vast our lives were. Only collectively change in a short period of time.
Now however, as we look back at 2020 and our personal and collective experiences living through the COVID-19 epidemic, we have the mental, personal, and professional form to reflect on the takeaways and the challenges that lie ahead. Has the ability to prepare better. As much as 2020 is for us – loved ones, social interaction, daily routine and basic freedom – it has also left us invaluable lessons.
My top entrepreneurial takeaways from my experience navigating this startup landscape last year are:
Plan for the unexpected
When we launched the Punch List in January, we were living in completely different circumstances – and while COVID-19 was clearly becoming widespread in parts of the world, it was almost immeasurable at the time to think that a There will be a global pandemic. Stop life as we know it. But it’s done, and quickly. In the first week of February, I personally spoke to more than 120 contractors who were interested in using the punch list on remodel projects. By the second week, the demand was cut by half. And by the time 80% of the country’s people were on some sort of stay on home order after a week, our adoption rate reflects that grim reality. This is in contrast to an epidemic that we have seen in our lifetime, the magnitude that we will only see (until this year) on the silver screen.
Given that it is real, the film is like an all-realistic adaptation of Contagion. The lesson is mastery in each of us – this type of life-changing global situation is possible and as entrepreneurs, we need to prepare for anything. We adapted quickly to ensure that our team was set up for successful remote work. This means providing everyone with a small stipend to make their homes more “work-friendly” – the wrong equipment can do everything from muscle fatigue to ergonomic injury.
During a period where manufacturing activities and customer acquisitions were down due to increased restrictions, our team focused on what we could control – our product and user experience – knowing that once the restrictions were lifted After we leave, we will be an important tool to enable contractors safely, efficiently. And effectively complete remodels with homeowners while maintaining social distance. We’ve even created a new app, Specialist, from scratch. Using an expert, any expert (including contractors + apprentices, plumbers, personal trainers, hairstylists and cosmetologists, chefs, etc.) monetizes their time by engaging with their customers over video chat from home to help solve a problem Can, learn a new skill, or complete a task. The app has shared contact and appointment scheduling, point-and-record video calls, and automatically digital payments to allow small businesses to interact with customers safely, and transparently. The launch was such a success that we sold the specialist to a contestant one week after launch and four weeks after launch.
I am very proud of the team for identifying the problem, developing quick solutions, and building a product that can help the millions affected by the epidemic. Now as we turn our attention to the full punch list in 2021, we know that we need to plan to be ready to adapt to whatever we have to throw at us.
Create a culture of trust
With the epidemic becoming a distant task, it is more important than ever to lead with confidence. Have faith in your employees’ abilities and allow them the space and freedom to create a work environment, and even schedule, that allows for maximum productivity – especially in odd times when it’s every It is important to differentiate in one’s position. Avoid micromanaging as much as possible and make a connection to your company’s culture through trust. To combat segregation, my brilliant co-founder, Andy Vela, suggested scheduling 1 hour of “water cooler” calendar entry each day. During WC, the entire company gathers on video to chat about any topic, work related or not, it is relevant that day. This not only leads to separation, but it creates real human relationships when we cannot separate.
Promote financial well-being
During a period where many companies have been forced to make tough decisions about employment and record numbers of Americans have been reduced or shut down, for organizations to promote financial well-being of employees More important than ever. Look ahead and offer resources to help your employees educate, invest and wisely improve and plan better accounts for periods of uncertainty. Even though we recently moved to a beautiful office in San Francisco’s Financial District, Andy and I made the difficult decision to make the space indifferent and make Punch List a remote-first company. Monthly rent combined with low usage no longer made it a smart financial investment for the company. Instead, we transferred some of those funds to employees in the form of home office stipends and company-funded Internet / phone plans.
There is always a safety net
There is no question that 2020 has been a financial catastrophe for many companies, as businesses were sent by an epidemic that forced businesses to shut down for long periods of time, spread unemployment and seriously affect consumer spending did. The situation always highlights the importance of working as an entrepreneur to build safety nets, to keep your business above water during a prolonged decline.
Be sure to fully understand and consider your overhead costs and work towards creating a cash safety net that can cover those costs for six to twelve months in the event of a disaster. And, when needed, cut your losses to avoid ongoing expenses (goodbye office)! ”
Do not hesitate to adapt
This year, in the face of unprecedented challenges, several specific trading strategies have proved ineffective. It is important for a situation not to be fixed in one way of thinking or seeing, and instead to be able to adapt to different situations and scenarios efficiently. Your business may need to reorganize operations quickly, as many people faced an epidemic this year – able to do so quickly, and without hesitation, indispensable for survival. During a global epidemic in 2020, if you told me that we would have created a video app to help experts make extra money (by session or by minute) from their own home security, I would laugh at you. However, with the remodeling projects stalled, our team had to rethink where it was most needed – and I was not conscious of the results.
Invest time in relationships
People are important, and investing time in people and relationships is most important for entrepreneurs. Whether or not face-to-face contact is possible, be sure to dedicate time to connect with people – your employees, partners, customers, investors and fellow entrepreneurs. Aim to connect or check in with a few people each day. This can happen during planned sessions or during random slack / zoom calls, as long as you take a significant amount of time for yourself.
Take pride in building those relationships and take advantage of them, and the knowledge you gain from them helps your business to thrive. 2021 will be here soon!