2020 was a year that made everyone scratch their heads and think….


What was that?!

It saw many suffer through terrible lows and heartbreaks, others be blessed with the silver lining that can come from catastrophe, but more than anything forced all of us to look at the world a little differently.

In business, many people have spent the last year embracing their inner Ross Geller in order to adapt, and while it may not have included a couch, conversations likely would have been around a change in product/service offerings, customer segments or even the business model.

Pivoting when used on the dancefloor may be fun, but when it comes to moving furniture or making significant changes to your business (especially during a time of upheaval), it can be a little overwhelming.

Earlier this year Zoe put pen to paper for Inside Small Business to talk about “Five ways small businesses can be more efficient in 2021”. In conversations that followed the publication, we realised these notes are more than just about being efficient, they form part of the fundamentals we build our businesses upon. Whether you’re a start up, an SME or a large enterprise, these basics never change and should never be far from mind.


“Taking the time to be educated on business problems and potential pitfalls will empower you as a leader to make the right decisions for your team and business from the start.”

Assuming gets you nowhere, and just like The Toothpaste Guy learned, reports don’t always paint the entire picture. Get educated in your own business to truly understand how it has been affected before reaching for a quick fix solution.


“There is no-one in your organisation better equipped to identify where problems may lay and there is no benefit in changing things without having buy-in from those that will be most impacted.”

Your team is your most valuable asset and there is nothing quite like a team that feels invested in the job they are performing, knowing their contribution makes for goals being achieved. They too will be feeling the impact of the pandemic and including them, their thoughts and opinion will not only go a long way for staff morale but for productivity and the right solution being reached.


“Staying open to insights and understanding the ‘current state’ of your business is crucial to the success of any organisation.”

Just because it used to work well a certain way, doesn’t mean it will always be the best way. Telehealth proved that in leaps and bounds in 2020. Re-evaluating the efficiency of current processes, how the events of last year has impacted them and how they may need to change could prove to be an extremely valuable exercise for your business.


“The potential need for business change and improvement doesn’t always only come from within. Your clients and potential clients should have a valid say too and understanding what their pains/needs are is crucial”. 

COVID-19 would have undoubtedly impacted your clients and potential clients too and understanding how their needs have changed will greatly impact your own business. Are their pains/needs still the same? Is there a different market segment that you should turn focus to? Is your product or service still relevant?


“Data can come in many forms and from a range of sources. System generated data from software, business programs (eg Xero) and apps provide great insight, as does communicating with team members and clients through surveys.”

Your business has a story to tell and too often is an untapped resource that could be the most powerful tool in your kit. Whether it be through observational studies, surveys or from an existing database, data brings together all of these fundamental business elements and helps to make far more empowered decisions.

If the only goal you achieved in 2020 was surviving, then you should still be proud of that. 2020 caught all of us on the back foot and changed any goals and plans we may have had.

Bad times shouldn’t be hidden away and never spoken of again though, because with the bad times comes opportunity for learning and improvement.

What can your 2020 teach you so you can make 2021 your butterfly year?