There is no question the business landscape has changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but what remains unseen is how adjustments implemented in the past few months will continue to impact the future. While the pandemic has certainly brought new obstacles to the forefront, savvy business leaders know planning now for 2021, while taking the lessons learned into consideration and incorporating them into a strategic business plan, will set them up for ongoing success.
With this in mind, below are a few ways business leaders can plan for the new year.
Plan for current and future conditions
When planning, it is crucial for business owners to be realistic about the company’s current status and its future outlook. The coming year is expected to experience a modest economic growth rate, so businesses should be optimistic about the future. However, it is also important to prepare a more conservative plan, remain flexible and pivot should disruptions occur or continue longer than expected.
Business plans should include innovative solutions to any weaknesses that were exposed during the pandemic and consider employee and customer feedback. Taking a strategic look at the past in order to plan for the future can bring clarity to new challenges and highlight areas in need of change. For example, if management has not updated specific policies or guidelines around remote work or workplace procedures surrounding office safety, now is the time. It is important to consider these changes, as well as implement new protocols, as needed.
Create a business resiliency plan
Resiliency has been the key to business success during this past year, and it is imperative to develop a business resiliency plan for 2021. Business resilience is about keeping a company viable by protecting its people and its assets from threats. The pandemic has underlined the fact that unexpected events are inevitable and businesses must be proactive to rapidly respond and adapt in order to maintain operations.
Beyond reducing the risk of financial impact to a company’s bottom line, business resiliency planning can enhance the organisation’s reputation, mitigate threats of safety and health, expedite economic recovery and reduce the risk of business interruption. An effective plan may vary dependent on company size and structure, but it should incorporate solutions to areas of risk or weakness that surfaced with recent events as well as crisis management, emergency response and business continuity plans.
Develop a people strategy
People are vital to every business. Although the business landscape will look different moving forward, planning for people should be a priority. Maintaining a strong corporate culture, when employees are struggling to juggle everything from work-life balance to mental and physical well-being, is especially important in a remote work environment. Employee benefits to consider expanding into 2021 include employee wellness programs, flexible work schedules, learning and development opportunities, and PTO policies. People are a company’s number 1 asset and, when taken care of, become loyal advocates.
Planning for 2021 may seem daunting, but by looking strategically at business operations, incorporating a business resiliency plan and prioritising people, business leaders can prepare for success and overcome the potential challenges that the new year may bring.