End of the Year Review: Reflections, Lessons, Predictions
What has the year 2020 taught us? Can we learn lessons to make 2021 better? Get insights from a team finding success during adversity.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I can’t think of a better quote to describe the year that was. On the one hand, the pandemic has been stressful, sad, and scary for everyone. In Australia, when you could only leave your house for an hour of exercise each day, it was easy to feel like you were in prison – but of course that’s better than contracting or spreading the virus. Each of us felt the pressure of the pandemic in different ways, but none of us escaped the effects. At moments, it really did feel like the worst of times.
But in spite of the unprecedented and often overwhelming events of 2020, the Next Technik team has achieved tremendous success – over and above what we forecast before the pandemic started. Our entire team has risen to the challenge of the moment and exceeded all expectations. In terms of growth and team success, it was the best of times indeed.
Let me highlight some of our 2020 accomplishments to help encapsulate what an exciting and important year this was:
- Doubled revenue and sales
- Increased the staff by twofold
- Filled key global leadership positions
- Opened Denver office and expanded into UK territory
We also met a major milestone: reaching the 100 customer mark. I always knew we would get there, but I never expected it to be this fast or under these circumstances. It was an achievement made all the more special by what the team did, individually and collaboratively, to bring it about.
The past year showed me what the Next Technik team is made of. It also taught me some lessons that I think are important to learn and share:
Remote Work Can Work
I have always been a big believer that the best work happens inside the office with the team collaborating together. But COVID made that kind of up-close collaboration impossible. When we went fully remote in March, I wasn’t optimistic. Nine months later, I’m convinced that working remote can work – but it doesn’t happen automatically, and collaboration tools aren’t enough. It worked for us, I believe, because we made a constant effort to connect people and build relationships, not just exchange texts and emails.
Customers Come First
The pandemic confirmed for me that we don’t sell software; we provide a solution our customers depend on in good times and especially in bad. Our customers called on us throughout 2020 for quick fixes, good information, and personalized assistance. In these uncertain times, they needed field service to run like clockwork, and they turned to us for help. Customer engagement was the most important work we did in 2020, and it will remain that way in 2021. When we put service above selling, everyone wins.
Solve the Simple Problems
So many of the problems our team faced (or could have faced) in 2020 resulted from small miscommunications and lapses in coordination. I quickly discovered that when you solve the small problems, like having a single source of truth for data or using automation to handle basic administrative tasks, it eliminates those little points of friction and puts everyone in a position to do their best work. Technology was the glue that held the team together and the oil that kept the gears turning smoothly. I think a lot of businesses discovered that in 2020, which helps explain why we saw the growth in sales and customer engagement that we did this year.
Forecast for 2021
I’m optimistic about 2021, and not just because we have a vaccine that will (hopefully) put a period on the pandemic. Another lesson we learned in 2020 was that field service is essential. Things like manufacturing equipment, security, IT, and medical devices don’t ever stop being important. Many field service providers saw only minimal dips in demand because of the pandemic, and the recovery period can only get better. I expect 2021 to be a good year.
I want to thank everyone who made 2020 a banner year for Next Technik – you have proven that great things are possible even in the face of great challenges. And I want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. Here’s to the exciting things yet to come!
“We improve customer engagement through field mobility and customer focus. Our award-winning application ‘NextService’ embodies this vision and focus. ”