Lindsay Young

Lindsay Young

As I sit with my laptop for the third day in a row, I’ve contemplated what to write about this month as so many of us are on COVID-small business-information overload. During the last three months, I’ve learned a lot of lessons and had a lot of epiphanies. Lessons about myself, my family and my work family, both immediate and extended. Also with my clients, the mentors and advocates in my corner, the Small Business Development Center Network, our role in our territory and my community. Whether business or personal life, from slowing down and embracing your family to having a rainy day fund, to diversifying, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can say they haven’t learned at least one valuable lesson during pandemic times.

I’ve reflected on some of the most notable lessons I’ve learned through my small business clients and through my journey as a leader and manager (both in the home and workplace) and as a co-worker. I could probably create pages of lessons learned, however, I’m subject to a word limit. Below are the ones that have floated toward the top of my journey.

Small Business Lessons:

  • Creating your “dream team” is critical. Fostering those relationships is imperative. Some call it the BAIL team (bank, accountant, insurance, legal), but your team could and should be more than just four people. Clients we saw with substantial dream teams on speed dial, appeared much more calm and stable. They knew exactly who to call and when.
  • Cash has always been king. This still remains. However, I’m going to introduce triplet kings (having triplets myself, this is by nature how I think): cash, cash flow and positive net income. These triplets have been crucial over the last three months. They have meant the difference between an approved or denied PPP loan.
  • Lean into social media. Learn it. Live it. Do it.
  • Diversify your staff, services, offerings, products and way you conduct business.
  • Have a rainy day fund or line of credit.
  • Contingency planning is a must.
  • Know what the cloud is and its place in business. Practice using it.
  • Network and contribute to your community in some way.
  • Everyday is a new day.

Leadership Lessons:

  • Lead with grace, empathy and transparency.
  • Authenticity is extremely meaningful.
  • Practice and embrace a high degree of emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman, 1995). Goleman concluded that there are five key elements to emotional intelligence, and for leaders, it is essential for success: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. This couldn’t be more crucial.
  • Hire tough and know your team.
  • Culture is important and will set your team apart.
  • Put people first.
  • Flexibility is critical.
  • Network and contribute to your community in some way.
  • Everyday is a new day.

It’s a tough time to be a leader, manager, employee and business owner. There have been some difficult times over the last three months, and there will likely be difficult times to come. But everyone has experienced them together. Let’s with grace and transparency, contribute to our community and no matter what, remember everyday is a new day.

Lindsay Young the director of the UHV Small Business Development Center. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston-Victoria. The center offers counseling, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up businesses in an 11-county area. To make an appointment for business services or register for a UHV SBDC workshop, call the center at 361-485-4485 or email at sbdc@uhv.edu.

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