Having a well thought out, attainable, and forward-thinking strategic plan is one of the most important things for a business. Businesses that are sustainable and successful in the long-term, and that can grow and develop with the times, do not get that way by accident. They are successful in large part because of the comprehensive, rigorous, internal work that goes into developing an effective business strategy. And now it’s already time to start planning for a business strategy 2021.
We know this isn’t easy. Especially in times like these, when things completely outside our control seem to be changing every day, it can be very difficult to look too far into the future and make plans. But it is just as difficult, if not more so, to ignore planning for the future and to make important business decisions at the last minute.
With the right combination of factors, your business can be highly successful in planning for 2021.
In this article, we will discuss:
- how to go about the process of developing a strategic plan for your business
- how to incorporate digitalization and information technology into your plan
- specific considerations for your 2021 strategic plan
Steps for a Smart Business Strategy for 2021
If you have read other articles in which we discuss strategic planning, you know what goes into creating a strategic plan for your business. Today we will highlight some of the most important details that will go into developing a business strategy for 2021.
Get outside help with your business plan
First, there is the question of hiring outside help to assist you in creating your plan. At Saddock Advisory, we know first hand the work that goes into devising both short term and long term business plans. We have worked with a wide variety of businesses across a wide variety of industries. And we are experienced and knowledgeable in creating strategic plans to specific businesses.
In our experience, employing a professional who knows the ins and outs of strategic planning can be invaluable to the process of developing your business plan. This gives you, the business owner, the freedom to brainstorm and innovate. Meanwhile, your advisor takes care of the nuts and bolts of the planning process.
Analyze your current business situation
Additionally, when considering the strategic planning process, it’s about not only set goals but how to execute them as well.
We believe that a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis can go a long way for you and your strategic planning team. This type of analysis promotes thinking critically and realistically about what your goals and objectives are for the coming business planning cycle.
A SWOT analysis can be even more effective in times of uncertainty. This is because it encourages business leaders to think about opportunities and threats both internally and externally. Unfortunately, even when circumstances are outside of your control, you still need to address them. After conducting a comprehensive SWOT analysis you and your team should be well-prepared to establish your strategic goals and objectives.
Determine which goals are achievable next year
As we have said before, there are many benefits hiring someone who comes from outside of your organization.They will be better-equipped to look at your SWOT analysis and your goals and objectives from an objective, outside lens. Plus, they can analyze which goals seem to be more attainable and higher priority.
Of course, your leadership team will weigh in on this as well. Together, it is so important to decide on the order in which you want to prioritize your goals. Putting too much on your plate can be detrimental to your business’s success. You want your goals and objectives execution plan to be attainable enough that you feel accomplished when you cross each checkpoint.
Include digital transformation in your business strategy for 2021
The last area we will cover in terms of developing your strategic plan is digital transformation. The importance of digital maturity cannot be overstated in terms of planning for 2021.
The business world was going digital even before the coronavirus pandemic. And of course the new ways in which we have been working in 2020 have catapulted that transition.
However, when done correctly, digital transformation can:
- increase your business’s financial health
- improve customer experience and employee satisfaction
- even strengthen the quality of your products and services
For these reasons and more, digital transformation and innovation need to be key features of your business plan for 2021. It is important to create actionable goals in terms of your company’s digitalization strategy. And finally, it’s critical to be sure to design your budget to be able to support those goals.
FAQs about Planning a Business Strategy for 2021
All that being said, we know that preparing for 2021 is going to be different. There are more unknowns than certainties in most years. 2020 has left many businesses in very different places than they had planned for by the end of the year.
So, now we will discuss some key questions that many businesses may be having about planning for 2021. We’ll also give guidance on how to go about approaching them.
For instance, businesses may be asking:
What can we do to make changes for the customer?
First, many businesses have very real questions surrounding customer engagement.
Have customer behaviors changed?
And if they have, are these changes permanent?
It is quite possible that customer behaviors have changed. Depending on your industry, your customers may have gotten used to new service delivery models that they prefer to the old models.
The first step is to collect customer data. Once you have an understanding of customer behaviors, it is time to use that data to analyze and innovate. You very well may need to develop new products and services, and then switch up your marketing strategies. This could even be an opportunity to collaborate with other industries.
How can we move quickly towards a digital transformation?
Another important question, already referenced in this post, revolves around digital transformation. Most companies have already come to terms with the fact that digital transformation is a must. And so the question becomes how can your business move more quickly towards digital transformation?
Chances are that you have already answered this question for yourself to a certain extent. For most businesses, the pandemic forced them to quickly accelerate their digital transformation processes.
Now is the time to take a moment to think how you want to strategically move forward with your company’s digital transformation process.
There are two very important considerations to keep in mind here. First, unless you have limitless cash flow and staff time, you will almost certainly have to prioritize your digital investments. Which ones are imperative and urgent, and which can wait?
Secondly, make sure that you are planning to fund the investments that you plan on making. Too often businesses lay out elaborate plans for digital transformation, but their budgets do not give them the flexibility to carry these plans out. Now more than ever, budgeting for digital transformation is essential.
How can we be more socially, economically, and environmentally responsible?
The third question to consider is about social accountability. Even before the pandemic, corporations were increasingly being pushed to be socially and institutionally accountable.
Consumers have become more cognizant of how businesses approach social issues. And as a result, the bar for corporate responsibility has been raised.
This issue is two-fold: part of it revolves around corporate responsibility to the environment and society as a whole. But the other part of it concerns employees and other stakeholders.
This particular issue demands strong corporate leadership. In your strategic planning process, be sure to address how your business will step up and take social and environmental responsibility. But also stress how you will better address the needs of your employees.
An important component of this issue, in particular, is social media. The social media sphere has become a huge part of digital transformation. And so it is essential that you continue to push the envelope with your business’ responsible marketing strategies. Nowhere does this hold more true than with the issue of corporate social and environmental responsibility.
Saddock Advisory Can Help You with a Business Strategy for 2021
We know this is a lot to consider. Developing a strategic plan has never been easy, 2021 will be no exception. This is why it is more important than ever to take the time and put in the work necessary to ensure that your business is prepared for the upcoming year. Of course, there will still be surprises, but it is up to you to do what you can to mitigate the effects of those surprises. As experienced professionals in strategic planning, we are here to help.