365 days. 1 Year. It’s hard to believe that what started out as a two week effort to flatten the curve for our healthcare system, is still impacting so much of our daily lives one year later. These past twelve months or so have proved to be some of the most difficult and wearing months of my business owner life. I’ll be the first to admit, I am very green to all things business ownershipy…yes…I just created that word! While I do feel I have a good understanding of how to deal with people and how to create a healthy work environment; last year proved that my breathe of business ownership experience barely makes it past the ropes to the deep end of the pool. If 2020 was a swimming test, I feel I passed but only by the barest of margins and probably with the help of a pretty lifeguard.
March, April, and May of last year presented some unique challenges for all of us, but I am going to specifically speak from my experience as an employer. We have a small, but intimate staff of nine. I know most everyone’s kids, spouses, family, grandkids, etc. That is part of what makes our team so awesome. Conversely, it is also what made 2020 such an emotionally hard year for me. You see in our line of work, the months that our business depends on to be successful, run from March to September. The winter months tend to be our lighter months. So right about the time when our business should be taking off, was when all the states started shutting down. I’ve never felt work stress affect my physical and mental health the way it did when the stay at home orders went out.
Driving down the road to work everyday became quite depressing as I saw business after business forcibly closed. I knew that every door shut, was someone else’s dream being put on pause, or worse yet, crushed. You see from an employer’s perspective, or at least this employer, I feel a strong need and desire to take care of our crew. I know that each paycheck matters for mortgages,rent,car notes, food, and school, etc. I knew exactly how our business slowing down 50% last year was going to affect our staff and it brought about great stress and pain. I can vividly remember sitting in my office like a zombie day after day as we were essentially staffed for twice the amount of business coming through our doors. It was a very difficult time for me personally as I wear their financial burdens as my own. It was a tremendously helpless feeling. One that I will soon not forget.
Fast forward to nearly a year later and our business is mostly back to normal. We are currently on pace to have our largest year ever. Since our opening in 2005, we have enjoyed year over year growth except for 2020. Frankly though I’m just glad we weathered that storm intact and with our doors open. In the end, people are all that matter. The people I work with helped get me through last year. I believe that we are closer as a team as well. My family served as a rock for me in some tough days as well. Our children, with whom we talk very openly with, saw their mom and dad navigate through a difficult season of life. Our God, with whom we don’t talk to openly and often enough, proved to be faithful yet again in giving us another opportunity to serve each and every day. All 365 of them.