As 2020 has been such a turbulent and life-changing year, there is no doubt that business owners will find challenges with planning for 2021. Because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, we all need to stay vigilant and aware that things aren’t going to go back to normal just because the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for anything. It’s also exposed the strengths and weaknesses of individuals and businesses alike. Fortunately, for some, the challenges have opened up doors and allowed business owners to reinvent their companies. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some business strategies for the upcoming year.
Set Realistic Goals
It is difficult to predict what the future holds, so rather than planning the next year based only on what you would like to happen, consider the challenges facing your company now. Develop your plans for the coming year to reflect potential new obstacles like restrictions and lockdowns. We certainly hope that this is not the case, but it’s best to be prepared. Set flexible goals that can move freely no matter what happens.
Adapting to different circumstances is a major key to surviving and recovering from all that we’ve seen this year. Of course, every business is different, but you can take what you’ve learned and adapt to the economic landscape we’ve found ourselves in. Do implement processes and strategies that help to stabilize your business now, as well as for the future if the economic crisis worsens before it improves.
Adaptation could mean adopting unfamiliar tasks and business structure. Many businesses have already seen this happen and have had to shift their whole business dynamics to accommodate the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to create new services and products to serve the current needs.
Take Care of Your People
Along with financial and operations goals, do include a people-building strategy in your business plan. It’s important to prioritize human resources, benefits, employees’ mental health, wellness, and satisfaction. As we move through the turbulence of our time, it’s also crucial to maintain a strong corporate culture while many employees are still working remotely. Additionally, when onboarding new workers, give them a strong and clear plan that follows your mission, goals, and strategies for the coming year and beyond.
Consider Your Customers’ Needs
As we approach and enter the new year, your customers might have completely different needs and expectations than they have had in the past. One major concern for many is safety and compliance. Processes like SOC readiness analysis tell your customers that you have controls in place to make sure their information is properly processed, secure, and accurate. COVID restrictions and regulations have changed operations, so these things can’t be ignored. Your customers need to know that you are aware of their needs and committed to moving forward with a strong plan for security and safety.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Based on the recent world events, you might want to plan for the widespread resurgence of COVID-19. This means possibly adding additional tools and equipment for remote workers. The implementation of flexible programs, childcare assistance, and innovative communication could help your company to move through the next year easier. Do also prepare for employee loss time by having a backup plan and temporary employees in place. Make sure you have a clear emergency strategy that includes various scenarios to help you navigate these things if and when they occur.
Look at Successful Companies
Take a look at how some companies have managed their operations during this time and seemingly thrived despite the ongoing challenges. Consider what lessons they learned along the way. This is also a great time to consult with your business mentors or even a coach to glean feedback and ideas for the upcoming year. It might even be possible to create alliances or joint ventures with competitors and others in your industry. These types of collective efforts could help bring stability to your 2021 business plan, as well as create positive, long-lasting relationships for the future.