Business planning for 2021: will your strategy have to change?

It’s very clear that coronavirus is going to be part of our lives in 2021, so how can you best prepare your business for the new year?

Business owners have learned this year, perhaps more than any year previous, the importance of adaptability and determination in the face of uncertainty. The new strategies and processes learned this year are a great tool to carry through to 2021, making your business plan more flexible than ever.


Why there’s no blanket rule for businesses in 2021

In a recent article from Marketing Week,  a view from founder of Gracious Economics, Grace Kite, was analysed in the view of business planning for 2021. Grace emphasised the importance of avoiding a ‘blanket rule’ for next year, because as we have all come to realise, the world can change unexpectedly. Customers are looking for more personalised experiences, attitudes are changing, and there is much more emphasis on the customer journey. These changes don’t just apply to marketing, and the same precedent should be set across your company.


Analyse your business

Before putting a plan into place for your next business year, it’s helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis of your business. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your company in the next year, and how can these help you devise a well-balanced strategy?

Once you’ve considered these areas, it’s time to look more in-depth at your workspace, finances, services, staffing, and how you’re going to keep your customers engaged.


New ways of working

The uprise of working from home has taken the world online this year, causing many business owners to rethink their business accommodation. While continuing to work at an office is perfect for some, it’s worth considering the best way that you and your team work. Has working from home been a blessing in disguise? If so, supporting your employees to develop a convenient home workspaces could improve staff wellbeing and therefore retention, while decreasing your business’s overheads. But bear in mind that for some working from home is less productive and that not everyone can set up appropriate working space at home. So talk to your staff and prepare to be flexible.


Do you have the finances to see you through?

Few people enjoy tackling their finances, but this is a must before moving into your next year of business. Whether the pandemic has meant an influx of business, or a few quiet months, evaluate these funds and consider looking into any extra grants or government schemes before the new year. There are a number of these available, like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan or Bounce Back Loan, which is open until 30 November.


Consider introducing new services

There is no doubt that there are benefits to diversifying your services, as extending your offering means you have the potential to help even more customers and reach new audiences. Evaluate the services you currently offer, and look for areas where you could expand.

This leads into keeping your customers engaged; if you’re offering something new, it shows that your business is constantly evolving.


Are you happy with your staff?

The pandemic left lots of employers with no choice but to furlough staff or let them go, so it’s likely that as a business owner, you have evaluated your team before now. If you’re wanting to recruit before going into a new business year, it might be a good idea to look into the Kickstart Scheme which offers funding to employers that can provide job placements to 16 to 24 year olds.

It may also be worth researching taking on an apprentice who can learn on the job as they work within your business.


2020 has been a challenging year for business owners, but that doesn’t mean that 2021 has to follow suit. Don’t wait until the new year to begin your business plan – now is a great time to evaluate where your company is, and what exciting opportunities you can pursue.