It goes without me saying, 2020 was an extremely difficult year, and 2021 is still carrying some of those hardships. I in no way want this article to trivialize the loss of life and true heartache that so many have experienced during this pandemic. However, this piece will focus on the business owners, big and small, who have had to navigate unprecedented restrictions placed on their businesses and live in the daily fear of losing their livelihood. In most cases that livelihood is also their dream, the shot they took that most wouldn’t, or that thing no one thought they could do but they did it anyway, successfully.

There is always opportunity in adversity. Even if the opportunity is only a lesson on being better prepared the next time a national or global crisis comes about. It was just a relatively short time ago that the events of 2008 and 2009 left millions of people in similar situations like today, but for far different reasons. Make no mistake that there are plenty of people who found opportunity and prospered during the years that immediately followed 2009, just like there will be in the few years following 2020. Understanding that there is always opportunity in adversity, and being able to adjust in the moment are the differentiators between those who are better off on the other side of tragedy and those who are crumbled by it.

Adversity exposes deficiencies. Realizing our deficiencies presents an opportunity in the form of correction. We can get better and our businesses can get better based on our ability to identify and correct deficiencies. The events of 2020 have forced business owners to do something that every operator knows should be done daily, and that is evaluate then adjust. Pandemic aside, every business owner should be constantly scrutinizing the operation and figuring out ways to deliver their product or service better.

The adversity of 2020 has provided so much forced improvement for so many business owners. These improvements had to happen quickly and adjustments had to be made in the moment for a business to survive in the current climate. Restaurant owners had to learn how to better market their business online and partner with mobile delivery services. Office environments changed or became nonexistent all together, and companies learned how to facilitate employees working remotely. Many learned how cost-effective WFH can be for their company, and working remotely will be their approach going forward. All of these improvement opportunities came out of the adversity 2020 presented, and many will be better for it.

Although the sad truth is that many businesses have not or will not survive as a result of the pandemic, the opportunities for improvement buried within this adversity are real. Even if the opportunity is simply learning to be better prepared for the next economic downturn, regardless of the catalyst. Stay innovative, be forward-thinking, don’t fool yourself by thinking what got you here is what will get you there, and the next time any adversity big or small presents itself don’t get worried, get excited. Remember that there is opportunity buried in adversity. You just have to do the work to dig it out.