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Spring is typically a time of renewal. A time of reflection and a time when we celebrate new life and growth.  While the last year has been exceptionally challenging and frustrating, we have also learned many things contributing to our personal and professional development, allowing us to spring into growth.

For our organization, I’m sure, like many others, we adapted our business model. New technologies helped us accelerate business strategies. We uncovered new and more efficient ways of working. What we offer and how we offer it changed. And we continue to grow as we seek out ways to help our business community grow too.

While we’ve experienced fewer in-person connections, we’ve increased virtual meetings, phone calls and online interactions. We’ve experienced financial challenges, but this has amplified the need to focus on priorities, reduce costs and streamline operations. While we’ve had to transition to remote work, we’ve discovered new tools that have helped us connect, become more productive and efficient. These are all things that have helped us spring into growth and serve our members and business community better.

During Covid, we transitioned to a new customer relationship management system to better manage our service delivery. We redeveloped our website to make resources easier to find. We’ve modified how we offer memberships to create cost-effective solutions no matter where a business is in its lifecycle and to better match services to business needs. Our communications have been enhanced as we developed more targeted strategies for how we communicate. We’ve improved our benefit offerings to match services to what businesses need.

Technology tools that we have discovered have helped both our service delivery and productivity. Trello has helped us with project management. Miro has been an effective whiteboard tool for idea sharing and strategizing in a virtual world. Google drive with google docs and google sheets has become essential for multiple people collaborating within shared documents.

I’m sure everyone has become quite comfortable with virtual meetings, and we’ve tried a few. Platforms include Microsoft Teams, Around, Skype, WebEx, Google Meets, and more. I’m sure you can imagine, Zoom continues to be our go-to platform. For creating graphics, we’ve come to rely on Canva. Canva has a great video editing tool too, but Animoto and Clipchamp have come in handy for us as well. Need a quick survey or form, JotForm, SurveyMonkey and Doodle Poll have been a staple. Need to conduct a random draw, try can find a few virtual business tools on our Covid-19 resource page.

We’ve also come across a few others that we have yet to try, including Discord, another collaboration platform. There’s also a podcast creator through Anchor by Spotify, helps convert voice to text, and Wibbitz is a video editor.

We’ve also gone through several training sessions over the last year. With so many free training sessions this past year, we’ve maximized on a few of them. Sessions on mental health and stress management and sessions on growth, productivity, project management, technology, communication, marketing, sales, and strategy have helped us grow over the last year.

We have restructured our organization, focusing on key priorities and core service areas. We have analyzed our growth strategy, looked at how gig workers will fit into our business model in the future, capitalizing on student talent and how we supplement the work we do during peak times. We’ve been able to increase benefit and service offerings for our members and learn new tools, tips, and tricks over this last year.

All this to essentially say, we’re doing our best to stay on top of trends, tools, tips and resources so we can be equipped to serve you and be a resource for you. Whether it’s cultivating the connections you need, planting some seeds of advice and tips for your business or helping you weed out some of your business issues, this spring, let us help you grow.

As we look at tools and strategies, we need to also look at how they will help us prepare for future disruptions. The tools we discover should help us streamline services, increase productivity and look at technology differently. However, we know how overwhelming it can be, so we’re here to help our business community cultivate a path forward and spring into growth together.

So what tips, tricks and tools have helped you this past year?

What have you learned about your business?

How do you want your business to be different moving forward?

What new practices do you want to keep doing?

What would you like to learn how to do? 

How can we all continue supporting the people who need us most?

How can we all spring into growth?

Share your ideas with us through our website or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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