Jess Sands is the founder of the Milspo Business Network, and owner of her own successful design business – she’s also an RAF wife who has run that business through many detachments, postings and everything else military life has chosen to throw at her! During the lockdown, she ran weekly online meetups for her network. In this first article in the series, she takes a look back at 2020 and the importance of new beginnings.

Oh my! What a year. I think you, like me, are probably comfortable with saying ‘goodbye’ to 2020 and are excited about the possibilities of 2021. It has been one weird old year! We hadn’t even got started before it all went that little bit crazy!

From the initial panic of Covid-19 to the enduring days of furlough and working from home, the military spouse and partner business community really dug deep during this time with some fantastic results.

But before 2020 leaves us, it’s time to look back and really digest the year, especially if you are running your own business. Some of the most significant business leaders I know don’t just look forward to their goals – they always, always, review and adapt their plans based on what’s happened before.

Here’s a simple process that I always go through at the end of each year. It’s the perfect way to look back, celebrate those achievements and work towards an even better next year!

Grab a pen and paper, and answer these questions honestly:

  • What was the best thing to happen to your business in 2020, and how will you be celebrating that? – Celebrating is a crucial part! It’s the fun bit that makes all the hard work worthwhile.
  • What didn’t you do that you really wanted to? What needs to change to make sure it happens in 2021 – Sometimes it’s just not possible to achieve all of your goals, and that’s ok. Be truly honest about why they didn’t work this year, and add some ideas for how you can make it work this year.
  • Where do you see you and your business at the end of 2021? – I think 2020 has taught us that no one can predict the future, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a firm grip of your plans and work towards your goals. Use this prompt as a chance to imagine your New Year celebrations at the end of 2021. Where are you, what have you achieved in the year, and how did you do it? It’ll keep you laser-focused for 2021.

As we leave 2020, I can’t help but look back – because you know what? It wasn’t all that bad. The whole business community learnt the importance of being able to ‘Pivot!’. Together we all found the joy of connecting online with others all over the world. For those in the military community, taking businesses online not only helped them survive a global pandemic but also helped them fit with military life. And for me, I learnt the real importance of community and how it helped me during those tough times. I hope the Milspo Meet-ups helped others as well, especially those who found themselves more isolated than ever.

2020 was a tough year, but we had some real successes too. And if that’s what we can achieve during a global pandemic, just think what we can get done in 2021.