23 December 2020

Lessons learned: How the challenges of 2020 can contribute to your growth in 2021

By Jacey Bunker

Writing this blog could not have come at a better time. The news of a greatly diminished Christmas is raw for so many of us so, it has been quite a cathartic process to reflect on the last year and identify the positives from a tough 12 months.

Today, we share our top five take aways from 2020, that we hope will help you to enjoy continued success and growth in the year ahead. 

1. Be ready to PIVOT

The world of retail is fast paced but this year has seen acceleration on another scale. Campaigns, which normally take weeks to plan and create have been successfully delivered within days. This year has taught us how to streamline processes and our contingency planning has reached new heights. In a world of uncertainty, the only certain thing is change and agile businesses that are ready to quickly shift their strategy will reap the rewards.

2. Communication is vital

This year has increased our ability to read the room. By that we mean really listening to our clients, and our colleagues, listening for the words unspoken, being more human – and for the most part, doing this virtually. Being a bit more vulnerable during uncertain times has really broken down the barriers between client and agency helping us to collaborate in a more open and honest way. And it is from these solid foundations that great work is being delivered and will continue to be in 2021.

3. Embrace new possibilities

This year has also taught us all to be a little braver and to open ourselves up to new possibilities. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of all inventions. And, as a business, we have embarked on a period of exploration forging exciting new partnerships, developing new service offerings for our clients and even planning expansion into new territories. Periods of adversity are no doubt difficult, but they can also be defining moments in a business’ history if they are ready to embrace the unknown.

4. Cash is king

For all the exciting pitches and client delivery work happening on one side of the business, it is all in vain if you don’t have cash in the bank. Being absolutely rigorous on your financial processes and keeping a healthy balance sheet is key to surviving an economic downturn. Accounts receivable may not be the sexiest of departments, but it is the one that will see a business through a pandemic.

5. People change, but not that much

Whilst we have no doubt seen a huge shift towards ecommerce, make no mistake, people will always want to go shopping. Nothing beats the feeling of finding that perfect piece, trying it on and leaving the shop with it in your hand. We saw this in the strong results from The Boulevard in NI, which recorded double digit growth YOY in footfall and sales over the summer when the scheme reopened. 

In conclusion

To grow in 2021, retail operators and owners must continue to invest in creating compelling on-site experiences that provide more reasons for people to put away the laptop. With another potential lockdown on the horizon, there is certain to be pent-up consumer demand to get out and about again. Now is the time to plan exactly what that offer is going to be.


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