If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that sometimes even a perfectly laid plan can be interrupted. All business owners and professionals were faced with new challenges, and while we all hope for a return to normalcy in 2021, it’s anything but certain. With that in mind, entrepreneurs should take care to prepare for what they can. Here are four tips to keep your business running smoothly in the new year.
Create a plan A and B (and maybe c)
According to recent statistics from Yelp, about 60 percent of businesses that closed during the pandemic have closed their doors permanently. In order to avoid falling to a similar fate, you must be prepared with multiple plans to keep your business up and running. It might be tempting to assume that your business will return to normalcy when a vaccine is distributed, but that might not be the case.
How will you continue to earn money if businesses have to stay remote for longer? Did the pandemic cause a mindset shift in your customer-base that might impact 2021 earnings? Consider having a meeting with your team about all the possibilities for next year — no scenario is too outrageous. Then discuss your options for dealing with them in a healthy and profitable way. Even if 2021 ends up being your best-case scenario, you will not regret having multiple plans ready to deploy.
Provide employees flexibility
Your employees have all had a tough year, and it’s important to remember that everyone reacts to world events differently. This won’t change next year. While some people may be ready to get back to traveling and in-person meetings, others may want to wait longer. And the same goes for your customers.
Giving your employees flexibility with working remotely does not mean that you have to skimp on customer service or employee engagement. Consider investing in cloud-based enterprise software that provides multi-channel support to customers, while also providing metrics on employees. It can help your business stay mobile, flexible and efficient.
Do not expect 2021 to be your strongest financial year. While the latest business projections for the UK put GDP at close to pre-pandemic levels, it’s still a few percentage points away. And this is if there are no big surprises in the coming months. It is safe to budget and spend on the conservative side; perhaps more conservative than you would like.
Investments that will keep your team agile and efficient are likely worth the spend, but it is probably not the best year for experimental expenditures. When estimating customer purchases, remember that your audience likely just came out of a year with less spending potential than normal, and are probably also being conservative. Place your bets on known winners, and invest in a strong foundation.
Focus on value
Since your customers will probably be more conservative than normal, it’s important to focus on the value your company’s products or services provide. How can you prove your return on investment? Whether that’s efficiency in software selling or enjoyment from playing a video game, your team needs to spend more time than ever focusing on proof – proof that your company is reliable and worth the cost. Focus your strategy around the basics of what makes your product desirable.
If 2020 was a rough year for your business, you’re not alone. The world is going through a crisis like we’ve never seen, and its impact won’t disappear as we enter the new year. As you enter 2021, remember that there are ways to prepare and actions you can take now to ensure success for your business.