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Lessons Learned from COVID

It is hard to believe that COVID has been around for the last two years. When it first hit, many of us were optimistic that the lockdowns were only a temporary measure, and the effects of the lockdowns would not have long-lasting effects. Unfortunately, as we all know the lockdowns lasted a lot longer and the effects of the lockdown are still being felt today. While COVID created issues for business owners and nonprofits alike, looking back over the last two years we have learned some valuable lessons that we can take into the future. 1. Importance of Having and Protecting an Online Presence. Many businesses were forced to pivot from operating solely in a person-to-person sales or service method to providing sales and services online. While moving to this online method provided more opportunities to businesses, it also opened businesses up to more risk as there are regulations and procedures that should be followed when operating your business in the online sphere. One of the items that helps to protect your business's online presence and help to mitigate your risk is having a terms of use and privacy policy. The terms of use helps to govern how users and customers interact with your website. It helps to prohibit certain actions by users and customers and makes clear the business’ responsibility in regards to the content contained on the website. In addition to the terms of use, if a business is collecting information from its customers and users, it needs a privacy policy to govern the collection of such information, details on how the information is used, and how it is retained. Some of the states have passed regulations governing such collection of information and if a business is doing business in those states, the privacy policy needs to meet the standards set in the regulations. If you do not have a terms of use and privacy policy in place or if it has not been reviewed in a while, it would be a good practice to put one in place or have it reviewed. 2. Work/Life Balance. COVID forced many business owners to become not only business owners but assistant teachers and full-time care providers. The work/life balance that may have partially existed before COVID, completely disappeared. As a business owner, it can be hard to manage all the various aspects of your life without a global pandemic that became almost insurmountable during the high times of COVID. This forced many business owners to reevaluate where their time was being spent and whether there were ways to help to recreate the work/life balance, especially those who had employees. One of those methods was to create policies and procedures so that as a business owner you can feel comfortable taking some time away from the business. These policies and procedures can be an employee handbook or simply how you as the business owner want the sales process or service process to be for each customer and that your employees follow such process and creates a uniform experience for all customers. 3. Up-to-date Contracts. COVID also forced many business owners to reevaluate the agreements/contracts that were in place when the global pandemic started. Many business owners were faced to come to terms with some of the holes in their current agreements. One major issue that business owners faced was with enforcement of an agreement when the business owner could not fulfill the obligations due to restrictions imposed by COVID. This catalyst led to the addition or expansion of the force majeure clause. A force majeure clause can help to maintain an agreement but provide some help to the business owner if they need some extra time to meet the obligations under the agreement. In addition to the force majeure clause, COVID also forced individuals to reevaluate their agreements in their entirety to make sure that the terms of the agreement were an accurate description of the relationship between the parties. If you have not looked over your contract since COVID, it is a good time to look at your agreements and see if there are any modifications that need to be made. If you have questions regarding some of the lessons learned during COVID, we can help! Set up a time to speak with one of us today.

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