How your business can bloom in 2021

Guest contributor: Naomi Simson founder of RedBalloon.

About Naomi Simson

Naomi Simson entrepreneur founded RedBalloon in 2001. She has been blogging for a decade at, is a professional speaker, author of Live What You Love & Ready To Soar, and a “Shark” on business reality show Shark Tank Australia.

As small business owners in 2020, we have all shared in both the challenges and opportunities that this unique year has presented. With a decentralised workforce in many cases, and inconsistent consumer sentiment fuelled by lockdowns, restrictions and re-openings, I think you’ll agree it’s taken a lot of ingenuity, determination and grit to navigate the year.

When the pandemic was declared in March, I quickly realised that work as we know it had changed forever. With our business very much a people business founded on connection and shared experiences (RedBalloon), there was great uncertainty on how we would be able to continue to serve our customers, support our suppliers and maintain connectivity with our employees. 

As business owners, you no doubt experienced the same pressure and responsibility that I felt during this difficult time. With a dedicated tribe supporting our business each and every day, hugely reliant on maintaining their incomes, I had some sleepless nights early on. I knew that a total reset was required if we were to come out the other side, a frightening thought after 20 years in business. 

So, we rapidly adapted and established a framework to lead us through. This six-point leadership framework provided a strong foundation and really defined our pathway forward. In fact, it actually positioned us to move into a period of growth from Q3 onwards. 

It was a time of really pulling together, collaborating with over 2000 suppliers to find innovative ways for each of them to go to market (two heads are always better than one). They say great things can come from a crisis, and innovation has certainly been one of the highlights of this year. From technology enabling remote working, through to businesses uncovering new channels out of pure necessity. Out of the box thinking has been in its prime. 

If this year has taught us nothing else, it has taught us this. That we are more adaptable than we ever thought we could be. That we are more agile than we imagined possible, and that collaboration is fundamental to business success. 

You can invest in the platforms, spend big on marketing and boost your IT infrastructure, but at the end of the day, it always comes down to people. You must understand your customer and listen - deeply to them. As I like to say “ Business is a people game. You cannot sell to people, they must to choose to buy.”

This year has shown us that we can work from just about anywhere, yet remain connected and productive. Building on this year, we now have an opportunity to redefine the workplace as we know it. To take some of the key learnings from 2020 to make permanent, positive, sustainable change. Flexible working should now be an expectation, which will make work so much more accessible to many who have previously been discounted.

So, as we move into 2021, I am tremendously optimistic for the year ahead. We as Australians have that unbreakable and relentless spirit which has driven our small business industry since its inception. It’s that sort of resilience that will place us well for the future.

Find out more about Naomi here.

Posted in: Business tips

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