The coronavirus pandemic and its fallout are (sadly) no longer unfamiliar to business owners. But that doesn't mean things have gotten easier for those small businesses that have been able to continue operations. 2020 was the ultimate challenge, but 2021 will continue to test even the strongest leaders. As one of these leaders, it is up to you to guide your team through what this year has in store.

1. Focus on Key Revenue Drivers

Now is the time to focus on your surefire sources of revenue. While finding new streams can help you in the long term, it's important that you don't let experimentation take away resources that ensure your primary means of making money is on solid footing. This matters from a leadership standpoint, because if your team isn't confident that the company will continue to succeed, you may find yourself looking to fill key positions and lose experienced talent.

2. Continuously Look to Boost Morale

It’s no surprise that a recent study found people are more stressed after surviving a year with the pandemic.1 Whether work is the source of stress or not, related emotions can be carried into the workplace. Look for ways to boost morale among your team on a continuous basis. There are plenty of ways to do this. Inc. has a great list of 20 of them, including encouraging real lunch breaks, recognizing milestones, celebrating work anniversaries, bonuses, extra vacation days, etc.2

3. Find Ways to Improve Efficiency Company-Wide

Look for ways to operate more efficiently in all aspects of your business. Identify tasks that can be automated. Work on reducing or eliminating interruptions. Establish clear daily processes to follow and continue to perfect them. Ensure that good communication among your team is always happening. Have scheduled meetings that are on task, but open to feedback and discussion. Put employees on tasks that suit their specific skills and give them clear goals to strive for. Ask your team members to help you identify areas where time is being wasted and get their input on how to increase productivity.

4. Stay Flexible

As long as it doesn't interfere with efficiency, flexibility is an extremely valuable trait. In fact, it can even contribute to efficiency. It could mean allowing employees to adjust their hours to work around obstacles in their personal lives, or it could mean allowing for remote work. As long as the work is being done effectively, flexibility can work for you. Giving employees options and wiggle room may keep them from calling in sick or even leaving for another job. It can also contribute to higher morale.

5. Share the Wins

Teams want to know when they're winning. Your employees want to know that the work they're doing is contributing to the company's success. Therefore, a good leader will share those wins with the team. Let them know when the work they've done has paid off, whether it helped land a new client, helped the company meet a specific goal, or contributed to a noteworthy milestone.

Give credit and praise, not only to the team as a whole, but to individual team members. They will appreciate the recognition. Giving that praise in front of the rest of the team can provide additional motivation to everyone.

The above tips have been relevant in the past and will continue to be well after the pandemic has subsided, but here in 2021 they are particularly pertinent. As small businesses face obstacles they could not have anticipated a couple of years ago, great leadership has never been more critical to companies and the people who depend on them for jobs. As the leader, it is your responsibility to keep the company focused and charging ahead so that it is prepared to take on any additional challenges that arise.




The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC