2020 was a watershed year. We’ve heard it a million times, but it still rings true. 2020 changed everything.
It shut businesses down, forced others to change their mode of doing business, and others are still digging out of the holes created by the global pandemic. From supply chain problems to consumer demand to public relations challenges, businesses have been dealing with obstacles they never saw coming for most of this year. Now, as we find ourselves on the fast track to the end of the year, we are, most likely, getting started on strategic planning for 2021.
Ahh, it rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? 2021 the year we hope will wash this tough year away. A year that will be filled with hope, optimism and maybe even a COVID-19 vaccine.
The lessons we’ve learned from our experiences in 2020 are more than just battle scars that we nurse and heal. These lessons have taught us about the strength of our business, our resolve as leaders and our ability to pivot in the face of unforeseen events.
What the individual lessons like are specific and variable to your unique business, but certainly they are important enough to be weaved into your 2021 strategic planning session, don’t you agree? Let’s explore some constructive and thought-prompting ways to do just that.
Find the balance between structure and flexibility. Your strategic planning sesh for 2021 should be a melting pot of what you know, what you know you don’t know and what you can’t even plan for. Simple, right? It may be tough, but it’s essential. Even though 2021 may feel like a new beginning, many of the 2020 challenges will overflow into 2021. And, many new, unforeseen challenges may await. Having strong foundational structures in place side-by-side with a plan for flexibility is the key to navigating unchartered waters that lie ahead.
Take a look around at a new set of entrepreneurs. No matter what your industry when you take an external assessment, you will likely see some changes. A new set of entrepreneurs has arisen to serve a new set of needs. On the flip side, many businesses have folded or changed their core operating modality. Understanding what the fallout looks like as it relates to your business will help you with your 2021 strategic planning.
Reassess your workforce. The global workforce, with the exception of essential workers, was thrust into a work-from-home environment due to COVID-19, and businesses adapted with no other choice. Now, after the restrictions have lifted, many businesses are rethinking their brick and mortar location strategy. From online selling to a 100% remote team, strategies that temporarily changed are now keeping them in place. As you dive into 2021 strategic planning, the desires of your workforce, the shopping habits of your customers and the cost implications of commercial real estate leases are all on the table.
Plan for the unknown. Is it possible? It seems counterintuitive to plan for the unknown. Especially when we, as business leaders, know that we find efficiency in the routine. Layer on top, the fact that we are hesitant to lock-in and commit because we know the future is certain, and we have some real challenges facing our strategic planning for next year. Planning for what you know are your strengths and weaknesses, as well as, auditing your known (and unknown) strengths and threats are in order. The tired and true SWOT analysis with a dash of pivot is the recipe for successful strategic planning as we close out the year.
Winning in 2021 will come down to a balancing act between structure and flexibility. Those who are setting themselves up for success in the current landscape but baking in processes that support quick pivots will adapt well. Strategic planning in 2021 has to draw upon the lessons of 2020 and requires a deep understanding of what worked, what fell short and where untapped opportunities lie.
To keep it real, this strategic planning session will be unlike any other and is not for the faint of heart. The good news, however, is you have a partner on your side. Jackie Awve Marketing specializes in developing strategy that fits today, tomorrow and the unknown. Finding that balance will be the sweet spot for 2021 and beyond.