The way many businesses operate has changed forever, we’ve had to pivot to meet new demands, processes and customer habits. In the face of uncertainty, it is increasingly challenging to plan for the future.
While it’s tempting to put aside future planning, and often it’s not seen as a priority – now more than ever, what you need is a vision, a strategic direction and realistic goals to accomplish in the coming year or two.
Unless you’re a large multinational with significant infrastructure, five-year plans are no longer the go – if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that in small business we need to be able to pivot quickly and in a way that makes the most of the resources, people and best laid plans that were already in place.
In many businesses, people are the resource and assets with the biggest impact on you achieving your vision. Have you communicated the vision, strategies and goals? Are they on board? Do they have the skills and attitude to help you get there? Ensure that the people are part of your planning.
Given the ongoing uncertainty and getting to know the ‘new normal’, it’s good to have one or more backup plans for your business. Lay out potential contingencies that you may face, but keep them realistic, and consider strategic responses to these possibilities.
What you should be doing
- Identify your ultimate vision for your business. It might be ‘break even by Q12022’, ‘Have a saleable asset by end of 2022 and exit the business by mid 2023’. – it should a very high level, succinct, and achievable.
- From there, make it bite size – turn the succinct vision statement into the underlying strategies that are going to get you there. A strategy could be ‘Document the department SOPs in a digital format’ or ‘Increase social media presence to drive sales’
- Then, identify the short, sharp, executable goals that are going to make your vision achievable. A goal could be ‘Maintain COGS within X%’, ‘Update branding and imagery on social media profiles’, or ‘Digitalise all menu recipes and costings’.
- Develop ways to assess the strategies and goals, and the resources around you to achieve them. Regularly refer back to your vision plan – how are you tracking? What adjustments can you make?
- Be ready to change and adapt – the visual may not change, but the strategies, timing and goals might. Just don’t lose sight of the end game!
- Don’t be afraid to shed to move forward – people, plans, thought patterns… If they no longer serve you and your business, move them on.
Gone are the days of thinking five years ahead, be pointed on two year vision, supported by a pointed strategy and short sharp goals.