Grappling With New Year Business Planning In A Post-Pandemic World
I recently took a brief vacation and as I was sitting on the sun-drenched beach, it occurred to me that every business owner planning for the upcoming New Year would need to address their plans very differently in light of the shifting landscape created by COVID-19. Last year, it was literally impossible for businesses to make projections and plans. But this year, we have a better idea of certain changes that may now be permanent, and we have better questions that may give us insight into how to approach marketing and other events.
Attempting To See The Future More Clearly
Once my vacation ended, I started trolling around the Internet to see if anyone else had insight on the topic of planning for the New Year that would be share-worthy. I found some interesting thoughts and stimulating questions at Harvard Business Review (hbr.org) that really sparked my thinking.
Here’s what I found most interesting. “Ultimately, planning for a post-pandemic world means answering three questions. The first is: How does your business really make money? Many companies haven’t taken the time to articulate their critical strategic differentiators or map out how money, goods, and information flow from their suppliers to their consumers.” Maybe your business is one of those that profited from new streams of income that naturally emerged as a result of the pandemic. If so, the second question may need to be looked into more closely. “Who do you depend on to drive the business?” The authors suggest, “Define your most important stakeholders and their behaviors that affect your business model.” https://hbr.org/2021/01/creating-a-post-covid-business-plan
Now for the third and most difficult question: “What will people’s behaviors look like after the pandemic?” The authors state, “Even though the pandemic is temporary, it’s lasting long enough to turn temporary behaviors into structural shifts. At the end of the crisis, some things will return to the way they were, some things will look very different, and some things will simply not come back. The trick is to figure out which is which.” https://hbr.org/2021/01/creating-a-post-covid-business-plan
Will It Stay Or Will It Go
Many businesses have employees that are permanently working from remote locations. Some may be working from different states or countries now. We host virtual marketing events in addition to in-person events. That means you’ll need to project and plan for what events might you be having in-person; what about trade shows; and on-boarding new team members in the New Year? And, of course, the ongoing attention to employee morale. Even customer demographics may have changed dramatically for some businesses.
Without question, it is clear that our plans and projections cannot be based on our historical past. The recent past has been so chaotic. Many businesses are having to deal with supply chain back-ups which means we have no real sense of how to plan the timing of certain events. The fact is, every business needs to start planning now because budgets and timing are going to be bigger factors this year than they have been in the past.