2020 has been rough — to say the least! Social distancing. Lockdowns. Civil and political unrest. We’re exhausted!
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and hit the economy hard. Businesses are hurting, and the pandemic has been particularly damaging to small businesses. Revenue for small businesses, which represent the majority of businesses in the United States, is down 20% since January, says the Brookings Institute.
Here at The Deciding Factor we’re grateful to have survived 2020. With the holidays approaching we’re looking ahead to the future by thinking about how far we’ve come as individuals as well as a team this year.
Adapting to Change
Like many businesses around the country and the world, The Deciding Factor has had to pivot to remote work since March. It’s been an adjustment not seeing each other face-to-face and modifying our workflow accordingly. “Human interaction is really important,” says Caroline Crew, Marketing Assistant. “This year, we’ve learned to go the extra mile to keep that human connection. We’ve become masters of video chat, messenger, file-sharing technologies and more!”
Adapting to change has meant also stepping out of comfort zones. “I like to plan things far in advance,” says Bart Bishop, Content Marketing Specialist. “Not knowing what’s going to happen from one day to the next has pushed me to become more flexible and open to new approaches.”
Some team members have even gotten to take advantage of downtime to broaden their skillset. Rebecca Katz Young, Graphic & Digital Designer, learned Adobe After Effects while Mitch Wilcox, Digital & Content Marketing Manager, has been developing his leadership abilities and civic engagement with the Cincy Next program. From brainstorming to creative collaboration and incorporating client edits, we’ve added to our toolkit to make working from home a success!
Appreciating What You Have
Working remotely isn’t just rolling out of bed and never changing out of your PJs. “It’s an exercise in patience,” says Lisa Higgins, Digital & Client Director, who has two school-age kids at home. “I’m trying to look past the negative and recognize the miracles in every day.”
Those miracles include big milestones in our team’s lives. Rebecca got married in October and says with a laugh, “I’m with the right man because we haven’t driven each other crazy being stuck in the same house together.” And Seth Drum, Digital Marketing Manager, was able to stay with the company even after moving with his family to Delaware for his wife’s job. Seth loves working from home. “My wife and I have dance parties between breaks on her days off,” he says.
You must find that work/life balance when you’re stuck in a home office. “I used to think that there’s a work me and a home me, but the lines are blurred these days,” says Mitch. “I make sure to schedule time for myself so I can unwind.”
Elizabeth Creehan, Content Marketing Manager, sums up our attitude in 2020 best: “You have to make the best of things.”
Being a Better Business
Perhaps the biggest lesson The Deciding Factor has learned is the difference between “work” and work. Our business prizes putting a personal stamp on projects, so we’ve strived to keep them from being a series of checkmarks. “It can be a struggle to stay patient in less-than-ideal conditions, so you have to be persistent,” says Karen Vance, Director of Digital & Content Marketing. “You keep moving forward.”
Achieving that goal has meant figuring out the right time to be transactional and the right time to be relational. Karen Meyers Holzer, the President of The Deciding Factor, believes both approaches are critical in business relationships. ‘I know a lot of people are experiencing “Zoom Fatigue,” but I love seeing our clients’ faces,’ she says. The Deciding Factor has clients in many states and even in Europe and Australia. “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to do video conferences and actually see some of our clients ‘face-to-face’. This has allowed our interactions with our remote clients to become much more meaningful than phone calls or emails. We’ve been able to build a rapport and I think this gives us credibility as an agency that wants to partner with you.”
How does The Deciding Factor plan to stay ahead in 2021? “We’re a digital agency and this year our clients have had to drive their businesses online in a greater way. We’ve helped them make that transition quickly and successfully.”
“In 2021, we’re going to appreciate each other more when we can be face-to-face. We’ll be able to benefit from the spontaneous collaboration that happens when you are together, and we’ll continue to use innovative technologies that will help our clients grow. The new normal is exciting,” says Karen.
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How was your 2020? It can only get better from here! Contact us to find out how we can help you transform your business with our innovative digital marketing strategies.