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6 Top Resources For Business Leaders To Thrive During COVID-19

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Leading a business during the COVID-19 crisis is like captaining a ship in a storm — you face threats from all sides, you never know when or how the weather will change, and it can seem as though you have to go through it all on your own. 

The good news is that, as time has gone on, more and more resources have become available to help you forge a path forward for your business. Even though you may feel isolated, no business is going through all of this alone. In order to make it out on the other side, companies need to be prepared to take all the help they can get. 

Without a new stimulus anywhere in sight, businesses can no longer rely on the possibility of government — they have to find a new set of resources to work with. Here are some of the best:

1. Six Feet Apart

Most of the resources on this list are niche, business-focused info hubs, but Six Feet Apart is much more than that. Think of the site as a resource of resources, a compendium of information so vast and broad that it can help just about anyone adapt to a post-COVID-19 world.

As the line between our work and home life has blurred, Six Feet Apart provides tips and best practices to help people successfully adapt to a COVID-19 lifestyle. It features articles on everything from working from home to homeschooling, from food to style, and everything in between. The site is a useful jumping-off point for business leaders looking to adapt both their business and their family to our pandemic world.

2. Lawyers For Good Government

COVID-19 has forced business leaders to ask questions about liability, responsibility, and legality they likely never thought they’d have to. For this reason, Lawyers For Good Government started the Small Business Legal Clinic Project, a pro-bono program connecting companies with lawyers who can answer any questions they may have related to COVID-19 challenges.

Currently active in 30 cities nationwide, the program allows businesses with 25 or fewer employees access to a free, 45-minute consultation with a lawyer. This experience can be invaluable for companies looking to reopen but unsure how exactly they can do so in conjunction with the law — helping them do their part in operating responsibly.

3. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

One of the country’s top ranked business schools, the Kellogg School of Management has compiled a series of free webinars tailored towards helping business leaders navigate this difficult time. Featuring some of the country’s most qualified business minds, these talks can be a great way to see new valuable perspectives.

With topics ranging from “Pharma and the Pandemic — Lessons For The Future� to “The Emotional Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating Current and Future Mental Health Challenges,� selecting just a couple of these webinars can seriously expand your knowledge base in just a few hours — a difficult thing for any business leader to pass up.

4. National Venture Capital Association

Startups were hit particularly hard by the lockdowns and uncertainty that followed; companies that were already running on fumes suddenly had even less capital to draw upon than before. The National Venture Capital Association’s collection of information for VCs and startups is designed to help those in the startup ecosystem help navigate the road ahead.

Primarily intended to assist startups in finding out what government aid options may be available to them, the NVCA also contains an active list of startups who are helping fight the COVID-19 crisis themselves — a good place to start if you’re looking for companies to model after moving forward.

5. U.S. Chamber of Commerce

For those looking into what government assistance may still be available post-CARES Act, search no further than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide. The guide itself is an exhaustive list of government agencies offering support and what businesses can do to connect with them. 

In addition, the Chamber of Commerce also published this set of facts, figures, and graphics designed to help communicate a clear message surrounding what businesses can do to help themselves during the COVID-19 crisis. If another stimulus does get passed, this guide will be a good place for people to start understanding what that means for them.

6. Hello Alice

Hello Alice’s COVID-19 business resource center is similar to several of the other options on the list: a full-scale guide for understanding every aspect of how companies can work through COVID-19. Featuring advice on everything from reopening to cybersecurity, the Hello Alice resource center is a valuable place for businesses of all types to gather information from.

Moreover, Hello Alice is also offering business grants of up to $50,000 dollars to support long-term growth during the pandemic. Companies can apply directly from the resource center if they’d like to be considered.

No amount of training could have prepared a business leader for COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean there’s isn’t value in trying to learn. These resources can help you understand what your next steps should be and how they may affect your business for years to come.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Statista to Make Business Decisions

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Every veteran entrepreneur knows that there’s a long journey from a business idea to its execution. Not even the brightest minds out there can ever predict all the potential roadblocks, the ever-changing market trends, and the hidden growth opportunities. However, the good news is that they don’t need to. Here is why you shouldn’t use Statista to make business decisions.

Develop the correct insights for your business

While we can debate the importance of gut feeling, the truth is that when it comes to business, having the right insights at your disposal is priceless. Let’s take a look at Starbucks, for example. The coffeehouse tycoon has taken an everyday beverage and turned it into an experience.

With tasty drinks, stylish interiors, and other attractive aspects like free wifi, it has built a buzzing community of over 24,000 stores.

But the company didn’t shoot in the dark: It managed to find out exactly what consumers wanted and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Would Starbucks be able to achieve such impressive growth by studying generic information on hospitality industry trends? Unlikely.

When you utilize advanced market research in your business strategy, you invariably outperform syndicated research platforms. Here’s why.

You need quality third-party insights

Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum.

While being data-driven has predominantly become a slogan that is pushed to sequestered sections of websites, the truth is that running a successful company requires having a long-term vision that enables leaders to make optimal decisions.

To power strategic business direction – whether that’s launching a new product or revamping a website – it’s key to generate strategic knowledge based on both internal business intelligence and actual market data.

The strategic knowledge should be provided by external sources – and there are various reasons for that.

Let’s say that a company like Unilever wants to conduct a study on the most preferred soap globally. Coming from an inherently subjective background, the company will struggle to secure a neutral perspective.

Not only will the results be distorted, but respondents might fail to give honest feedback, and there’s more pressure for further disbalances when presenting the results to the company’s structures.

Outsourcing research is key when looking to acquire market data as well.

If you were to call up a distributor of Procter and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of Unilever to inquire about the data, it’s likely you wouldn’t get very far.

Independent market research can, on the other hand, work within the broader guidelines from ESOMAR – the world’s leading market research house.

These guidelines include an agreement that enables data collection in an integrated but anonymized manner, allowing market research agencies to display trends without giving out any sensitive information.

Market research agencies often have powerful capabilities at their disposal.

Anyone can pick up the phone and make a call, but the right agencies know how to judge who to call, who to avoid, how best to approach preferred leads, and how to carry out research in the most effective ways.

Agencies also have access to databases, expertise, and tools to carry out the analysis – something that many in-house teams lack.

However, one must be picky with external sources too. Syndicated market research is to insights as Wikipedia is to knowledge. It might be useful as a springboard to help you orient in a topic, but can’t really work to build strong foundations for an argument.

Even if the statistics are correct, there’s no actual validation of the data, meaning that it can’t be considered credible. The sources are not known, the names of the analysts aren’t disclosed, and there is no information about the methodology – which is fundamental to every research project.

From traditional market research to platforms

There is, in fact, an even more important reason why syndicated research just won’t do anymore.

Our data capabilities have developed immensely over the last 15 years, and with that, the demands too. Two decades ago, generalized sources would provide valuable information, but companies now are looking toward more targeted insights that are specific to their unique business needs.

The parameters that market research has covered in the past are now freely available on the internet – so there’s a need to dive much deeper into the real business problem.

Simply said, intelligence starts with business-specific studies.

While the traditional model has businesses paying tens of thousands of dollars for hundreds of statistics, it’s obvious that we are moving toward a more hybrid and dynamic market research landscape.

The new market research landscape is one that still provides high-quality insights but often with a focus on your specific niche.

Rather than comprehensive reports with thousands of samples, businesses can get similar results by running a Twitter analysis for only a fragment of the price.

In fact, technology has enabled new sources of knowledge, further diversifying market research to be even more accurate and integrated: Apart from social media analysis, we’re seeing increased use of sentiment analysis, video analysis, consumer engagement monitoring, and much more.

Analysts are no longer focused on one domain, they are ramping up their experience in diverse, platform-oriented research fields. Platforms are brimming with experts that can help answer tough business questions by running a specific analysis at prices starting at just a few tens of dollars.

Targeted insights – immediately

Back in the mid-2000s, it was common to spend up to 3 months waiting for an external research assignment – after all, you were probably going to get “something good�. Ten years later, the waiting time has reduced to a maximum of 20 days, but today, even that doesn’t suffice.

Thanks to platforms, expertise, and capable analysts, today, we can have insights at our fingertips in real-time.

The need for real-time insights has proven particularly important during the current COVID-19 crisis. In fact, 49% of companies are now using data analytics more than before the pandemic, and both the quality and the delivery of data plays a key role.

No one will wait for a survey to be carried out in 60 countries – industries are dynamics and market conditions change constantly. However, syndicated research sites might fall behind due to its inability to deliver in short time-frames.

Businesses are now looking to get answers to their unique questions.

Staying up to date with the latest developments isn’t just a differentiator anymore — it’s a vital aspect of business decision-making.

Whether looking to launch a product, find when things will go back to the pre-COVID level, or understand the real impact of the crisis, the answers can’t be found with internal data only.

A bad decision is going to cost you much more than the cost of a market research report.

Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels

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