How to Build Your 2021 Business Strategy
Planning for the future used to be a much simpler task. No one predicted a global pandemic would sweep the globe last year and carry into the new year 2021. We can never know what is coming around the corner, but we can plan with the information we have. Building a plan for your business’s future is no easy task and is worthy of proper time and effort to get right. Your plan for 2021 will never cover every possibility or account for possible problems, but you can use the brutal learning experience of 2020 to make educated guesses. No system will ever be perfect, but here are a few ways to build a business strategy and plan for 2021.
Reflect On Last Year
2020 was not an easy or planned year for anyone. As a species, we had to adapt to a pandemic and adjustments to our everyday lives. Last year was a test for everyone, but you can learn after the fact through reflection and consideration like any good test. How did your business change last year? Did you transition to remote work? Did your company grow last year? How quickly did the pandemic affect your business? Is the pandemic still affecting your business? And if so, is the effect negative or just different than 2019? Where is your business sitting right now?
Once you evaluate your past year and current status, you can start making a plan for the future. Only by understanding your starting point can you safely move forward with the best information available at the time. That is not to say you should expect another pandemic in 2021, but you can see how your business adapted and use that flexibility to respond to different problems in the future. Your business may not face the same challenges again, but what you learned from years past can help you navigate future issues with more grace.
Talk With Your Staff
As a business leader, you have the ultimate say in how the company moves forward, but it is worth talking with your staff to see if there are issues you overlooked or if they have ideas you never thought of before. Employees are not just workers, they are people, and people have needs. Your bottom line went through the wringer in 2020, but so did your staff. Before you move forward into 2021, talk with your staff to make sure they are on board too.
As we start to climb out of the pandemic, now is the perfect time to talk about safety culture and procedures for unexpected events. If your company is moving to mainly remote work, make sure everyone is set up before assuming the new system is running smoothly. Talk about sick days and time off procedures; employers may fear employees will abuse more sick days if they are allowed, but data shows that is rarely the case. Treating your employees like adults and not assuming they will abuse privileges is the first step towards creating positive company culture between supervisors and employees.
Listen To Your Customers
Your customers control your bottom line; if your customers are not happy, your revenue will suffer. Everyone was a bit high strung last year, especially as 2020 came to a close, so it is worth revisiting customer feedback. Send out surveys with your newsletter, after service phone calls, and have a feedback option on your website for customers to use at any time. You can also put out a new social media campaign centered on reconnection to encourage engagement, specifically comments, on that post. Customers want to be heard, but you have to listen too. Don’t ask for feedback if you don’t plan to implement the good ideas.
Focus On What You Can Do
After 2020, many people have been struck with how little they can directly control. This rule holds true for businesses too. No single company can control its future, but you can focus on what aspects you can control and work on perfecting those areas. Instead of gearing up for the next worldwide disaster, focus on smaller changes. Make a new communication line with suppliers for faster responses, optimize packing materials to be greener and save on costs, relaunch your brand’s story to connect with customers on a personal level, or take up any other project to make your business better in ways you can control. Moving forward after the insane year of 2020 is no easy feat. Businesses are facing a still an unstable market, and planning for 2021 is easier said than done. Start by looking back at 2020 and learning what you can from hindsight to create a solid starting position to grow from in the new year. Talk with your staff to make sure everything is going according to plan and if they have any suggestions for the company. Listen to your customers and give them ample opportunities to give feedback. When it comes to making changes within the business, focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t. With the right planning and intentions, you can make a plan for 2021 to navigate whatever comes next.