How to Create a Business Plan While Fighting a Pandemic
As business owners prepare for 2021, it is important to take time to reflect on last year’s outcomes and lessons learned. We must figure out how to do business in the here and now, even when it is unclear how long COVID-19 will continue to impact the economic landscape. The only thing that remains certain during these times is the critical need for a resilient and flexible outlook.
A business plan often reflects a company’s mission or vision statement, but this year may call for a change in perspective. While some organizations were impacted by the pandemic more severely than others, it is likely that employers will need to reevaluate, update, or in some cases change the company’s vision altogether to better align with this new reality. A good place to start a business plan is with the establishment of a foundation statement that incorporates adaptability and resilience.
Additionally, business owners need to take the opportunity to strategically review organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to better update policies, develop new procedures, and reimagine how to work with employees and customers moving forward. While forecasting for 2021 may seem difficult, business leaders can better plan for the future by taking into consideration the lessons learned from the unpredictability of the recent past.
Here are three ways businesses can plan for 2021.
Capitalize on strengths
While the unexpected trials of 2020 exposed the vulnerabilities of many Texas businesses, the resilient organizations that relied on strong foundational components found business success. For some, the foundation consisted of top talent; for others, it was an adaptable crisis plan or the ability to pivot business pursuits quickly and effectively. When creating a business plan for the new year, consider expanding on organizational strengths. Focusing on initiatives that can improve a company’s overall position will be beneficial in maintaining a competitive edge over others who may be rocked by instability within the same industry. That means investing time and effort in specific areas that provide added value, whether it is expanding employee benefits, investing in technology, or further developing consumer marketing plans. Doing so can solidify a company’s standing with its employees, clients, customers, and even the general public.
One theme that will carry into 2021 and beyond is the importance of taking care of people. Upskilling, reskilling, and retaining top talent proved especially important in 2020. As the hiring landscape continues to shift, company leaders will need to ensure that they have the skilled workforce in place to ensure success. Whether plans for work are virtual or in person, investing in company culture can help employees and managers remain engaged and productive. Consider implementing new employee benefits such as expanded PTO policies, team-building exercises, wellness programs, and flexible schedule options that can help employees adjust to the altered state of work and feel valued in 2021.
Prepare for the unexpected
While the worst of the pandemic maybe behind us, the next four quarters hold no guarantees. As business leaders create projections, it is important to be cautiously optimistic and prepare adaptable business plans from the outset. This is the year to integrate a strategic business resilience plan into the approach. Business resilience ensures the long-term viability of a company by protecting its people and assets from threats, a characteristic that has proven particularly advantageous over the last year. When a robust, adaptable plan is in place to handle crises moving forward, business leaders can begin the new year with confidence.
Resilience is based in the ability to prepare for the unexpected—and being nimble enough to move, adapt, and implement plans when the unexpected occurs. That means understanding the potential impact of a changing economy and actively planning for it. This could require increasing cash reserves or expanding into new markets, increasing productivity and output, or increasing customer service and continually investing in core products. Each resilience plan will look a bit different, but done right, they can be what ultimately makes your 2021 successful.
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The pandemic has been difficult, but it has strengthened the resolve of many resilient business owners and their employees, which may position them for success moving forward. By taking the time to reflect on business results from 2020 and updating plans and policies accordingly, companies can capitalize on the opportunity Q1 has in store.