The thought of Strategic Planning during a time of uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, economic crisis, and a somewhat controversial election may seem daunting. Some may be putting off the inevitable, waiting for a sign that things are beginning to turn around. Unfortunately, this is the most critical time to take the reigns and make some strategic decisions on how and where your company will maneuver the next 12 months.
2020 snuck in and slapped us in the face, laughing all the while. Even the most qualified economics could predict what would take place early in the year. As a result, the COVID-19 Pandemic had a catastrophic effect on all businesses across the globe. Large and small ones alike. Many strategic plans outlined in 2020 were blown to bits in the first quarter of the year.
For this reason, many of you are hesitant to develop a strategic plan for 2021. But the truth of the matter is, your team is looking to you for direction. Your current customers are looking to see how you handle this crisis and what strategy you will be implementing to strengthen the relationships already established over the years. Your job as CEO is to provide direction and instill confidence in your employees, customers, and stakeholders.
It would be best if you had a plan for 2021, but you can’t pretend all these external factors aren’t going to influence your ability to achieve your goals. As you prepare your strategy for the next 12 months, flexibility is critical. Revisit your planning process and decide what to start, stop, and keep doing. Here are some examples of the kinds of decisions you may need to make for your planning process.
- Scenario Planning: As you establish your baseline goals, identify possible scenarios based on what you know now and your best guess at how different techniques could impact your business. Establish different targets for Plan A or B.
- Talk to Customers: The best way to establishing strategic goals is to talk to your existing customers to identify needs, challenges, and opportunities. As you head into your planning process for 2021, you need to think deeply about how you can deliver unique value to your customers. Your findings should guide your strategic decision making.
- Multi-day planning event. Instead, develop a process of discovery, market research, gathering data, and begin brainstorming ideas. Schedule a regular time to work on the strategic plan throughout the year, and be sure to have a process to revisit and adjust the plan based on what you learn as time goes on.
- Waiting to Work on Strategy: If you find that one or more of your strategic moves is not working, don’t wait until the next planning meeting to pull the plug. Don’t waste any more time or energy on a losing move. Deploy resources to those elements that are working.
- Virtual Planning: During this uncertain period, many companies have switched their in-person quarterly planning sessions to virtual meetings out of necessity. Consider keeping this format for your annual planning session, too.
- Prepare Well: While this is always a best practice for strategic planning, preparation has never been more important to your success moving forward shortly. Encourage your planning team to think more creatively, paying critical attention to market changes, customer expectations, and internal processes.
Hopefully, these examples have given you some food for thought. If you take nothing else away from this exercise, remember this: your team is looking to you for answers. It would be best if you started working on your company’s future direction now. If you find yourself needing professional direction or additional help, MarketAtomy’s team of qualified consultants stand by, ready to assist. Go to marketatomy.com to find out more information.
MarketAtomy, LLC is a growth development-learning environment for small and medium business owners with one goal in mind…to empower them with the tools and knowledge needed to build their business on a rock-solid foundation. Through foresight and fortitude, entrepreneurial dreams become a reality. For more information, please visit marketatomy.com. Visit MarketAtomy.Academy to find out about the only Learning Management System developed for early stage business growth.