November 5, 2020

How to Develop a Business Plan for 2021 and Beyond

The coronavirus pandemic has created a global health and economic crisis. 2020 has been a rough year for most businesses, and it’s not over yet. Businesses are feeling the strain and cannot wait for the year to end. But what’s the guarantee of 2021 being any different? What if things take a turn for the worse? Have you developed a business plan to ensure the long-term survival of your company?

Read on to learn why you should and get started right away!

Why Develop a Business Plan Ahead of Time

Smart business leaders realize that now is the time to develop a business plan for 2021 due to continuous COVID-19 business disruptions, economic turndown, and rising tariffs. These events have not only exposed the strengths and weaknesses of many companies but have also opened new opportunities and mediums for conducting business activities.

While we hope that 2021 represents a blank slate or fresh start for employers and employees, nothing is certain. By starting your 2021 business planning early, you may be able to finish 2020 on a strong note and shift your focus toward long-term goals and objectives. In other words, it’s time to stop thinking tactically and start thinking strategically for long-term stability and prosperity.

Here’s how companies can develop a smart business plan for 2021 and beyond:

1. Begin Planning Early

Typically, companies start thinking about developing a business plan for the next year in November or December. Some businesses prefer to plan for the new year in January, and others go into the new year without a plan. However, this isn’t your typical year with the pandemic looming over our shoulders.

Beginning the planning process early enables managers and employees to start thinking long-term sooner and shift the focus from short-term contingencies and survival plans. This positive approach boosts optimism and prepares companies to position themselves for success.

2. Be Cautiously Optimistic

There are no real signs of things getting better worldwide, so it’s best not to be blindly optimistic. Most financial forecasts show a little growth, but you’ll probably want to keep your expectations in check. Yes, you can, and you should develop a business plan to bounce back from a destructive 2020, but the change in the calendar doesn’t mean you should go all out at once to bring life back to you’re your business.

3. Embrace Reality

Businesses have to accept that it’s difficult to predict the future in these unprecedented times. So, when developing your business plan for 2021 and beyond, use existing market conditions such as current affairs, consumer behavior, and competitor activities. Negative planning is a great approach in times of shortages and other unpredictable challenges in this business climate.

Many organizations perform a SWOT analysis, an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The results can help you identify areas that require your attention in terms of management and changes. Usually, here is where you manage expenses and resources to cope with the changes. For instance, many companies in the US, including MyPillow, Dyson, Carhartt, and Gap Inc, transitioned their production to make masks, ventilators, sanitizers, and other protective equipment to combat COVID-19.

4. Set Projections

Currently, many economic forecasts indicate modest economic growth in 2021. However, businesses need to be careful before setting optimistic projections without accounting for the risk of uncertainty. With a more conservative plan, you can identify new opportunities and change operations to capitalize on those areas to grow or revive.

5. Incorporate Agility

In crisis times, business leaders face the challenge of examining their management and policies and incorporate changes for the future. Running a business in COVID-19 times demands agile leadership for survival and recovery.

We’ve seen that companies that were quick to adapt their operations experienced a lesser impact than others. Therefore, factoring adaptability into your business plan for 2021 and beyond is crucial. For example, many companies embraced working from home and allocated digital resources to transform their businesses. This shows that flexible goals, processes, and strategies can help boost stability.

6. Plan for Unusual Situations

While most business plans include contingencies, owners should consider planning for unusual ones as well. This includes providing additional tools and equipment for remote workers, teaching online on zoom, or adjusting to delivery model, etc. A long-term strategy for these scenarios will help navigate hurdles as they come.

With ‘business as unusual’ on the rise, distant learning and working in pajamas could be the future no business expected this early in the digital transformation. Not able to keep an eye on operations has also made managers and leaders deal with something they’re not used to.

7. Take Care of Your People

No business plan is complete with a people strategy. Noe more than ever, managers and business owners should prioritize taking care of their teams and employees. This goes beyond COVID precautions and remote work training but considering their mental health. Employees are also concerned about financial stability, fear of the unknown, and work-life balance.

Adressing these concerns necesitates maintaining a strong corporate culture is paramount, especially if you’re adapting to remote working. You can add an employee-wellness program to your business plan, along with flexible schedules, half-days, and generous bonuses to boost loyalty and happiness.

Plan Ahead

The pandemic has afforded many businesses and entrepreneurs to rise to the occasion, learn, and adapt along the way. Organizations that use this time to plan using their experiences will better position themselves for success and make necessary changes in such a fluctuating business environment.

With 2020 in its last quarter, it’s time to develop a business plan for 2021 and beyond to prepare for the challenges that lay ahead. Going in prepared will ensure that nothing will surprise you, and you’ll be prepared to bounce back from any setbacks,

And if you require additional information regarding business technology and IT services, we recommend you try our services of Percento Technologies.  🙂

by Bobby J Davidson

We love our company and we love what we do.  Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business!  As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management.  We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services.   We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business.