Start Your 2021 Business Plan
Poor planning is listed as one of the top three reasons companies fail, according to the Chamber of Commerce. Yet, many businesses forge ahead without a proper plan in place. With 2021 fast approaching, you can give your company a leg up on the competition with a business plan that will map out next year’s goals and put you on a path to long-term success. Individuals with a business plan are 16 percent more likely to build a lasting company when compared to individuals who don’t have one.
Whether you are creating a business plan from scratch or updating your existing one for the new year, it’s essential you start planning for 2021.
Here’s what our experts at Employer Support Services suggest to help you start planning.
Talk to Essential Employees
Essential employees, managers, and department heads know exactly what your company needs to balance workloads and personnel. They may also have some excellent ideas for products or services.
In these strange times, you may need to adapt and offer different products or services to fit your clients’ or customers’ needs. Your essential employees should be able to tell you exactly what your customers are looking for since they spend quality time with them. Use this information as you begin to plan for 2021.
In addition, getting employee input will help employees adopt the plan when you implement it, as they will have contributed with insight and ideas.
Plan for the Unknown
At the last count in August 2020, 163,735 USA businesses permanently shut down due to COVID-19 complications. While no one was expecting a pandemic, it does well to plan for various disasters to cushion your business against the effects when one eventually does hit. When building out your 2021 business plan, build in a plan for another complication.
Many businesses have crisis management plans for potential risks to their reputation, such as a strategy to mitigate damage from a negative social media post or a damaged product. The same concept should be applied to a variety of disasters. Map out what your company will do if another wave of the virus shuts down the economy again. Prepare your company for how it will operate if a natural disaster strikes your area. Planning for it now means a faster recovery when it does happen. When building your plan, a few factors to consider include:
- Initial Response and Message to Employees, Clients, Partners, and Other Stakeholders
- Procedures to Follow to Mitigate Business Disruption
- Secondary Risks that Follow the Initial Threat
- Business Continuity Process
In addition to preparing for the event on paper, it is also encouraged to financially plan for a disaster. Create a reserve cash fund that will help sustain your business should an unknown threat appear in 2021. This reserved cash fund will give you room to breathe when you need it most.
Talk to Key Customers
While talking to essential employees can give you an idea of what your customers want, talking directly to your customers will give you even better insight. They may identify a new problem or lateral service your company is well-equipped to provide, and that could increase your profits. For example, if you are a company that sells printing paper and your customers also need toner and repair services, you may want to look into providing that product and service as well.
Getting an idea of what your customers need or want for a more seamless experience can help you develop a service or product now or early in 2021. Planning for that growth can help ensure you have a successful year.
Set Conservative Goals
The economy took a hit when the pandemic swept the nation, causing a wave of job losses and ending the longest expansion since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office stated that while the economy is beginning to recover, the challenges facing the economy are expected to continue with real GDP and employment lower than the fourth quarter of 2019.
With that in mind, your business will need to set realistic goals and expectations. Sales and profit goals, as well as expansions and wage increases, may need to be lower than anticipated to reflect what is possible in a down economy. Set conservative goals that stretch your company, but that will still be achievable in the 2021 economy.
Reallocate Marketing Budgets
With continued shutdowns or restrictions being a real possibility into 2021, the reallocation of marketing budgets may help ensure you are still reaching your customers. If you have set budgets for trade shows, conferences, or other in-person events, we suggest moving your funds to other media that are not at risk for being canceled, such as website, radio campaign, or video production.
Building this fund reallocation into your 2021 plan will help ensure you are continually reaching your customers without as much risk to budget loss.
Start Building Your 2021 Business Plan
Nothing is set in stone for next year, and many are even still unsure what the rest of this year will bring. Having a plan that will help guide your business to adapt to the situation will help you succeed. Plan for the unknown and do your best to meet customers’ needs while setting your employees and your company up for success with the above tips from ESS.