At the start of 2020, no one could have predicted the radical changes that would happen across the economy and every aspect of society. Business owners and their employees had to shift to meet online customer demands, accommodate work from home needs, and plan for uncertainty in every aspect of their organization.
Companies that were agile and pivoted as needed are the ones who are still standing.
Resilient business leaders learn from the past and create visions for the future. Even if your 2020 revenue and earnings did not meet expectations, take a step back, re-evaluate all the challenges and accomplishments of the past 12 months, and re-energize for 2021.
Look back at 2020
The most common reaction to the events of 2020 is uncertainty. The economy, business climate, and even how your company produces its products or services have changed. Some questions to ask as you evaluate performance during a pandemic include:
Take advantage of these experiences to analyze your performance to avoid making the same mistakes again in the post-COVID era. Regardless of the size of your company, reflect on what went right and what went wrong.
Success does not come easily to those who manage the crisis properly, but to those who move forward with the opportunities that will come next.
Move past uncertainty to a vision of the new, innovative business you now own. It may not look or act like it did at the beginning of the year, but that is an opportunity for growth and expansion.
Look Forward to 2021
To create a new vision for your company in 2021, remind yourself why you started your business. What motivates you to continue in this new environment? Are there areas of your organization or market that could be capitalized on in the post-COVID world?
The coronavirus has changed how we buy, consume, work, travel and communicate, and has introduced an era dominated by digital transformation. It's not just about delivering the product or service. The focus of many businesses now is the create a real connection with their client or customer. Even though we may be interacting digitally, relationships still matter.
One way to strengthen current relationships is to provide valuable resources to your customer. What value can you add to your existing market base to ensure customers see your company as viable, resilient, and capable of delivering high quality, despite the pandemic?
Your employees are critical to your success. Maintaining relationships with them is another aspect of 2020 that was forced on business owners. Instead of interacting with your people in person, now it's over Zoom. Consistent and meaningful conversations, guided by a clear vision and concrete goals, keep employees focused.
Please take advantage of your experiences in 2020 and use them to evaluate your business practices. Your 2021 vision must account for weaknesses in your operations that were revealed during the crisis. For example, if you redesigned the customer experience, adjusted marketing campaigns, and invested in updated IT systems, are these changes sustainable?
Another aspect of visioning is to develop a multi-plan approach. Layout potential contingencies that you may face in 2021, and create strategic responses that support your business, your employees, and your customers. For instance, your employees' ongoing health concerns, government regulations governing your business, and the increased use of technology are areas that could be disrupted in the coming year. Research how other companies have met these challenges, then craft strategic responses for your own company.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 outbreak increased the private sector's ability to innovate on the sustainability axis. Businesses across the country focused their efforts on ensuring their staff's safety and took action on issues regarding business operations, value chains, the well-being of the community and their employees.
A 2021 Vision is a necessity for every business. There are many reasons to be hopeful about 2021, and a clear vision provides the guidance necessary to thrive in a changing environment. It also transforms uncertainty into certainty, as new possibilities are identified for sustainability, growth, and expansion.
Your company is the product. Growth to Exit® is the process. The Buyer is your customer.
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