“I never learned anything on a good day.” – Paul Pearson, Founder and CEO of Custom Props Inc.

Business schools teach the theory of business, the analytics of running a company, and what are considered best practices by those in the ivory towers who stay away from getting their hands dirty. Real business, whether it is a small mom and pop, or a huge multinational conglomerate is much messier and more complex than any graduate student coming out of an MBA program will know, at least until they have to mop out their first overflowing sink, or figure out how to make payroll when there’s not enough in the bank.

Running a small business requires a multitasking ability that encompasses, emotional strength, diplomacy, strategy, forethought, emotional intelligence, mathematics, banking, governmental bureaucracy, human relations, the legal system, marketing, sales processes, technology, and creativity. To be an entrepreneur in today’s world one must master, and stay current with the latest trends and environmental issues.

Then there’s the little matter of the pandemic. It is in my opinion the biggest disrupter in the world of business since email. There used to be a languid pace to the way things happened. Even with the advent of computers speeding up everything from document production to printing, there was a natural buffer on the pace of life, the U.S. Postal Service kept a lid on just how fast you could expect something delivered, whether it was an approval letter or a package of cookies. Along came email and suddenly you could communicate instantaneously, with multiple people. Our expectations of response times shortened dramatically. We became more demanding, needier and less civil in my opinion.

For the past year businesses have had to adapt to the ever changing demands of the public as they confronted the single biggest mass casualty event in 100 years. Across the business world we’ve had to change the way we do business, and what we can reasonably expect. In the beginning months of the pandemic the courts were closed so divorce and family law attorneys like me were shut out of our traditional workplaces. The office towers that housed the firms were closed and in the blink of an eye everyone was working remotely.

Technology providers were furiously setting up home access for lawyers, support staff and trying to figure out how to integrate word processing while maintaining security and confidentiality of client files. The courts were forced to find ways to allow hearings to go forward while social distancing. Technology has now been put in place where many proceedings are held virtually. I literally have appeared in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Los Angeles county courtrooms without leaving my office thanks to the innovation of Zoom and L.A. Court Connect. The practice of family law has fundamentally changed due to the pandemic, and I’m pretty sure that most of these changes are here permanently.

In a similar way, the restaurant world has had to adapt to “delivery only” – which killed many an eatery. The quarter-step into outdoor dining allowed for the lucky few those who had enough parking space they could repurpose, to quickly set up outdoor spaces so that they could continue operations. Restaurants like Z Garden, Gilbert’s El Indio, Viet Noodle, Rae’s and Lunetta were able to take advantage of the heavy traffic on Pico Blvd by modernizing, and converting their parking or sidewalk space into dining areas. Those less fortunate places like Rosti Kitchen on Montana Ave or Tacos Por Favor on Olympic and 14th had to make do with a few sidewalk tables. Even the Speak Easy, the bar that is literally across the street from my office and I’ve been in twice in 20 years, has begun to remodel their interior and built outdoor dining that has charming lights and heaters.

Now that we are moving back towards actual indoor dining there is hope for a decent recovery of these restaurants and more. The sad part is the number of places that didn’t have the ability to pivot or adjust to the pandemic problem, Places like the UnUrban Coffee House across from Trader Joe’s on Pico or the 18th Street Coffee House on Broadway have gone out of business and hopefully the next owner will find great success once we’re back to some semblance of normalcy.

Out of all things there is both good and bad. From this pandemic, that took so many lives and livelihoods, there is a lot of bad. For those who lost their livelihoods, there are lessons of resilience, redemption and recovery. For those who survived they too will have a sense of resilience, redemption and recovery.

Solving the problems of how to navigate a pandemic has taught many businesspeople, the winners and the losers, lessons they will use on their next adventure. As entrepreneurs, they will dig deeper and have greater resources to call on, as they face the next round of bad days, and learn more.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra