Many business owners and leaders have begun 2021 unsure of how to effectively develop goals and a strategy for how to approach a ‘post-COVID-19’ world, with business plans at risk of being disrupted by different factors.
2020 began strong for many businesses, with managers and leaders starting with business plans that should have seen them through the year. The swift and unpredictable effects of COVID-19 left many of these plans abandoned, with a new approach to planning required.
Although timelines and outcomes may not be as simple to measure and predict as in the past, there are some key considerations when you’re working on adapting and creating your 2021 business plan.
1. Reframe the purpose of your plan
It can be tempting to begin your planning process with hard-set key outcomes and performance indicators – this is a great goal, but not conducive with a rapidly changing business landscape.
Enter the planning process knowing that you are creating a list of short-medium term goals that may be adapted due to forces you can’t control. This is as much a psychological practice as a business one, as it requires embracing shifting goalposts.
Using examples from the recent past, and from similar industries and areas, work to create a main goal and 1-2 contingencies that may be likely if your region were to enact something similar to Victoria’s recent restrictions.
Who would be responsible for rolling out customer communications? How would you adopt safety measures in your team? What timelines are likely to be interrupted?
2020 was a crash course in crisis communications for many, and every business leader has learnings they can share to help plan for 2021.
2. Embrace flexibility
Businesses that had previously engrained flexibility in their business-as-usual practices were able to adapt far more easily when required by COVID-19, shifting their practices online and embracing flexible workspaces, short-term meeting spaces, and WFH solutions for their teams.
While planning for the future, also take time to create contingencies for issues that may harm your business’s efficiency if something unpredictable were to happen. Take the new year as an opportunity to begin planning for EOFY and removing some of the potential roadblocks and high-cost/low-reward issues for your business.
For many, this may involve making the shift from privately-leased office space to an all-inclusive flexible office space that allows them to scale up and down as needed, and ensure there is one fixed cost each month.
3. Focus on your customers and clients
Whether you work selling a product or service, a hard time in the business world is likely to also affect your end-users. Operate with empathy, and try to plan on how you can improve the experience and journey of your clients and customers.
Engraining goals around customer experience into your 2021 business plan can help you retain customers and attract direct referrals – especially during tumultuous times, word-of-mouth marketing becomes more important than ever.