News Flash

Keep Calm & Kerri On … October 15, 2020
Norwich, NY
10/15/2020 01:06 PM



Dear Friends,


Is it just me, or does it seem like “2021” is on the brain this week? At work, with friends, on social media, on email listserv's updates - there is a clear theme, and it is 'we are done with 2020' and are ready for 2021'. There are still so many unknowns, that seem to make looking forward difficult: 




  • Who will be President?
  • Who will win our local elections?
  • What will happen with COVID numbers this winter?
  • Will schools be shut down again?
  • Will New York be back on pause?
  • What will the winter look like?
  • I don’t think anyone can answer these questions … except maybe my husband. He is a “farmer’s kid” and swears that we are going to have a very cold winter with “more snow than ever”. It has something to do with the rivers depth right now, the birds, and his dad’s intuition. I often disagree with my husband, but when it comes to weather predictions (especially from his dad), I just go with the flow and order my snow tires and chains! Other than the weather prediction, things just seem to be up in the air - which is so difficult when you run a business or organization.


    For the past couple of weeks I have been in the endless pit of “budget planning” for next year. Normally, this is a task I really enjoy doing - budgeting, strategy, creating processes and spreadsheets … yes, I am that person! However, planning for 2021 just seems like playing a game of Monopoly. While I feel like I can optimistically plan to negotiate my way to owning the corner from Atlantic Avenue all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue (leaving a divisive trap between my cash corner and jail), I may actually only end up with Mediterranean and Baltic Avenue (which let’s face it, it’s cheap to put a hotel there for a reason). How do you plan for the unknown “chance” card, income tax payments, the “do we pay to get out of jail or just wait to roll doubles?” conversation, and landing on railroads that you only wished you owned (really, it’s $200 a pop if someone owns all 4!).


    So what are we to do? All I can do is offer some tips that we are using here at Commerce Chenango, and hopefully provide some insight as you work towards an unknown coming year.


    Take a close look at your 2020 expenses:

    Like many organizations, we took at 6-month snapshot of our budget back in June to reassess where we were spending our money. We looked at savings we had during the shutdown and reallocated some of our budget lines to match. So look at your own budget from 2020 and see where you can keep those costs down in 2021, yet maintain your program and mission. I bet there were things you did without, that you can still do without.

    Revenue opportunities:

    Ok, so you couldn’t have the events, programs, promotions and sales you planned for in 2020. Is there a way to make it happen in 2021? What if you waited until June 2021 - what can you reasonably do, and do well? Is there a backup plan for Q1 & Q2, just in case we are faced with another shutdown? It doesn’t help anyone to go into 2021 planning mode, assuming everything will be “like it was before”. So don’t. Reimagine your year and find those opportunities to do what you only wish you had time to plan for this year. How many times have I heard “If I knew this was going to happen I would have …”. Well, now you know it can happen, it happened once and chances are it may happen again. What does it hurt to plan for it now? Plan for the worst and hope for the best! 

    Investment in your organization:

    Where could you make smart investments next year that will help your mission? Is it time for some computer upgrades? Do you need to invest in a Zoom Pro or Webinar platform? Did the remote world of 2020 show you where you need some training and assistance? Where were the pitfalls and issues that bubbled up and how can you fix it for next year?

    Be realistic:

    You are not going to recover everything you lost in 2020 during 2021.

    Repeat that.

    You are not going to recover everything you lost in 2020 during 2021.

    Make reasonable and realistic goals for yourself, your organization and your team. Stressing about what happened in 2020 while looking for ways to make it through 2021 and trying to recover your 2020 losses will only put added stress on your team and you. Plan for consistency and hope for a slow recovery. Give your staff reasonable goals to achieve, be clear about expectations and the reality of your current situation. They will be more responsive for it, and you will be a better manager.

    Celebrate your successes: We often get bogged down by negativity and what should have happened. I am sure if you think, you can find ways to celebrate your team and your organization on their accomplishments. First off, you made it to Q4 and nearly the end of 2020! That’s something to celebrate. You likely survived working remotely (as did your staff), all while educating your children from home. That’s worth celebrating! What accomplishments did your team have? Who stood out? How can you celebrate successes that are meaningful? I am sure if you think about it, you can come up with quite a few things to be happy about and give your team a little recognition for a job well done. (FYI: saying “thank you” goes a long way and doesn’t cost a penny!)


    No one plans to be the “first row owner” (yes, Monopoly reference again). However, if it happens, make the best of it. Giving your friend the “stink eye” because they have landed on Free Parking nearly every time the pot was loaded up (we can debate whether you are supposed to get money when you land on this another time), and owns the whole alley along the way, doesn’t help you build out your cheap properties, and create a situation where you can wheel and deal!


    Plan ahead.

    Learn from what didn’t work.

    Celebrate what did work.

    You survived 2020.

    You got this.

    Be well, Chenango.

    ~ Kerri

    Kerri Green
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