Every November we embrace planning for the year ahead; for our own business and with our clients. Typically, a big part of the process is reflective; looking back at our history and collecting past information to analyze and make educated decisions.
However, this year we recognized it is even more critical for business owners look to the future and develop a strong long-term vision and a solid strategic plan that goes well beyond 2021. Our plans must give us momentum and take us forward rather than leave us standing still and treading water “until this is over”.
Looking into the future with any confidence may seem an impossible task while so many things still feel uncertain. But we must make some assumptions and put a stake-in-the-ground to move forward and grow.
One thing we know for sure, we are not going to go “back to normal”. Things have changed and will not “go back”. We must honestly and openly assess what those changes are for us as business owners, for our business and for our clients so we can make sound decisions about how to adapt and build on those changes to create future success.
The business we had and the way we ran it pre-pandemic will be very different post-pandemic. Our clients, their needs, desires and habits have already shifted. Embracing technology and internet security are even more critical to everything we do. Consider these changes and assess their impact in order to build a solid business strategy for 2021.
The truth is none of us has a crystal ball to look to the future with any accuracy. There are, however, many reliable experts researching, studying and predicting. These resources can help us envision the possibilities and make some assumptions to consider as we make decisions and set strategy.
Make November your month to research, learn what is being forecasted and ponder what this means to you. Shed any pre-conceived notions so you can be open to make decisions based on the opinions as you gather information.
One thing that hasn’t changed; strategic planning is still vital to the growth and success of business. This year when we set our vision, we must research and consider our own predictions for what lies ahead for our industry, our clients, our business, and our communities. We must set strategy including what we’ve learned in 2020 to make 2021 the year that confidently moves us into 2022 and beyond.
The process of planning is still the same. It’s still important to make the time to reflect and analyze our experience and history. Feel free to use this checklist to help collect the information you need in preparing to plan.
It is still essential to get your plan out of your head and onto a document that can be communicated and shared. Here’s a guide for what to include in your plan.
This year, combine these tried and true tools with some serious investigative research, educated forecasting and creative thinking as you head into the process of planning for 2021 and beyond.