The past year was one that we will not soon forget. I think we are all relieved to see it behind us, and we can look forward to a better 2021. Here are 6 key business tips for a prosperous 2021:

1. Keep records of any government programs you used and the application paperwork. The government has made it known they will be doing checks, so make sure you can prove you qualified for it. Be careful – the rules changed over time, so make sure you keep a record of what the rules were when you applied/received the funds.

2. If your business was not as severely impacted this past year, rejoice in your good fortune, and plan for a strong 2021 – did the crisis show any areas of your business that could be improved? There has been a lot of talk about ramping up on-line – I know dozens of small Winnipeg businesses that discovered a North American market for their goods and services – exploit it – go virtual if you can!

3. If your business was forced to shut down (or if it was otherwise negatively impacted), take time to re-think. How can you make the business stronger in 2021?

4. For all business owners, take a look at (or create) a succession plan – will you be ready for the next crisis? What is your emergency plan? What is your succession or exit plan?

5. For all of us, shop local – the local restaurants and specialty stores will still need us to support them, even after the closures are over. We made an effort to participate in “take-out Tuesday” (although in our house, Thursday/Friday worked better, but I am sure the restaurants appreciated it all the same).

6. Finally, stay healthy, and be kind to one another. Regardless of your race, religion, politics, or even beliefs about the effectiveness of masks or vaccines, be kind to those who might think differently. The vast majority of us have not lived through a war, and up until 2020, have never been asked to sacrifice much for the “good of the country.” Over the past few months our government has asked us to do things that we didn’t like, and some sacrifices will continue in 2021 (and beyond – wait until the tax bills start coming!) Stay strong.