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No one saw the COVID-19 shutdown coming and most businesses did not have plans in place to bounce back.

Janet Lockridge and her business, Precise Operations Management (POM), work to ensure businesses are prepared for unforeseen disasters through planning and training, while making sure their clients’ employees are safe from injuries and illnesses.

“If businesses had taken continuity planning more seriously, then we would not be in the predicament that we’re in,” Lockridge said.

POM began in 2013 after Lockridge realized some businesses needed help with documenting work practices and safety procedures.

But when the shutdown hit and many businesses cut budgets, Lockridge saw safety departments were the first to go — a huge part of her business.

AAfter all of POM’s clients canceled their safety training classes during the shutdown, Lockridge was concerned her business was not going to make it. Despite those cancelations, she found ways to pivot.

Lockridge began focusing on creating a construction division, something she has always wanted to do, but never had the time to get off the ground.

Now that Lockridge has been able to focus on construction, POM has made bids on construction projects and hired women and minority-owned businesses and tradesmen to do those jobs.

“I’m super excited and very optimistic for this new construction division that we started and we’ve subsequently started hiring employees and we’re doing jobs and trying to position ourselves to get more jobs,” Lockridge said.

Innovation and creativity are strategies Lockridge said other small businesses must keep in mind to succeed. She said one way to do that is to develop continuity plans now.

She suggests deciding if there is a product or service to offer online and planning how marketing and outreach would change as a result of a potential disruption of business operations.

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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