The world has been adjusting to the new normal since the pandemic. We have pivoted. Businesses throughout the world are bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic and governmental shutdowns.
As a business owner, how can you best prepare for life beyond a pandemic? The answer is simple, but not necessarily easy to implement. Your answer: Develop a business plan.
Follow these five steps to develop a plan that will help your business to continue moving forward.
Step 1: Know Your Current State
The first step to any good business plan is to fully comprehend your current situation. This means to know your company’s financial performance, sales success (or lack thereof), resource needs, and systems and processes today. Know where you stand currently.
Using a SWOT analysis will help you evaluate all components. Don’t complete this on your own. You’ll need help, especially from those in the trenches.
Step 2: Develop One Year and Five-Year Goals
Developing one year and five-year goals will set the tone for the rest of your business plan. Take time and analyze where your business is now, and then decide where you want to see your business in the long-term. In other words, what is your vision? It is where you want your business to go in terms of financial growth. In terms of Sales. In terms of employees and other critical resources. Do you currently have the operational capacities and efficiencies to help you achieve your vision?
It is always recommended that your goals be quantitative. Tracking and measuring progress are the only ways to determine where you are on your journey to meet your vision. Make sure you include scorecards so you can easily track and report out successes.
Step 3: Strategy Development
You now know where you want to see the business in one year and five-years. But how will you get there? Within each major component of the business, address the needs. You need to know the resources requirements, the sales and marketing efforts that will be needed, and the systems and processes to build efficiencies that will enhance growth and improved financial performance. And, speaking of financial performance, will it cost anything to implement your plan? Make sure you know what that cost is, and that there is a return on your investment.
Step 4: Communicate
People can’t read minds. Once you have developed goals and have strategies lined up to help you achieve, then let people know. Your team needs to be motivated and inspired to achieve. Your plan will not be fulfilled by happenstance. Rather, you need to communicate all components of your plan and allow for feedback. By allowing your team to provide feedback, you may learn of knew and better ways to achieve. Point is, you need buy in. You need people on your team who will produce. Communication will allow you to improve production and achieve your goals and vision.
Step 5: Be Agile
Having a plan in place is important. In fact, it is critical to the long-term success of your business. But, like any good plan, it may need some adjusting along the way. That means you need to be flexible. Market conditions may change. Supplier costs may increase. New competitors may enter the market. What will you do? Adjust. Make sure you have the ability, through your team, to changes things as necessary. This will help you stay ahead and continuously move your business forward.