We’ve all learnt how quickly things can change over the last year and things haven’t settled down yet. At the dawn of 2021, you can take practical steps to plan for success even when things might still be uncertain. You may want a Business Mentor to assist with planning to ensure your small business will thrive in 2021. Here are five things to help you succeed:
- Set a dynamic budget
- Keep up to date with the environment
- Nurture your strengths
- Engage your team
Keep a close eye on your budget in uncertain times
A dynamic budget responds to variations more quickly than a so-called 'set and forget' approach that lays out expected costs for a whole year. This approach is valuable in uncertain times.
With a dynamic budget, you'll still layout your expected performance and goals, but you’ll make updates and adjustments as actual costs are understood. You may find you're doing much better than expected if our economy continues to recover. However, with the pandemic's effects still causing uncertainty, you'll be able to build in a cautious buffer so you can meet any changes.
You can find practical information on forecasting cashflow at www.business.govt.nz.
Keep up to date with your operating environment
Things can change quickly. It's important to stay informed about anything that may affect your business. This includes monitoring your industry and the news for potential changes to our lockdown level, shipping flows, the workforce, or the legislative environment.
Business Mentors NZ provides plenty of fresh information for small business owners in this blog and in our newsletters. You can make sure you get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox by signing up here.
Win by playing to your strengths
When you think about planning for success in 2021, begin by being clear about your business strengths. How can you increase them or make better use of them?
Each business has a ‘unique selling proposition’. This is sometimes called a USP or even a UVP (unique value proposition). It’s the thing you do that gives unique value to your customers. Your business will do best when you put this at the heart of your plans.
Keeping your core strengths front of mind enables you to make changes without compromising what makes your business special. One extreme example is from those businesses who were impacted by the lockdown and looked to their strengths of exceptional alcohol distilling processes. They were able to switch from making gin to sanitiser to leverage what they did best and survive the impacts of the pandemic.
Bring your people with you
To succeed in 2021, make sure your people can perform at their best. When you set your plan for the year, consider how you'll share it with your team. This shows you value their contribution and role. It’s practical too. If people understand your business’ priorities and how they can help, they’re far more likely to play their part.
Account for things like staff mental health and a supportive team environment. People are likely to remember how you treat them far beyond 2021, so keep this in mind when you plan. Sometimes, businesses can’t avoid making hard decisions. But, even when people are affected negatively, the way you approach them makes a difference. Good communication is vital.
Plan for pivots
We can’t be certain what 2021 will bring, so set a plan that allows you to be flexible and adaptable. Some practical ways to do this are to set regular times to review and update your plan. Alternatively, you could prepare by creating plans for a range of different scenarios. That way, you’ll have an advantage if the unexpected happens.
Other valuable tactics for uncertain times include keeping all of your financial information up-to-date, having alternative suppliers in mind, and keeping on top of holiday obligations with your staff.
Whenever you anticipate change in your business or its environment, a business mentor is one of the most valuable assets you can have. As they bring a truly objective view, they can help you identify blind spots and bring a fresh perspective. If you don't have a business mentor, you can register now for 2021.
Start your plan sooner rather than later
Above all, the most important step towards a great plan is the first one. And planning for a year of change can be much simpler if you’re not alone. A business mentor is an ideal person to talk to when you plan for the year ahead. They can offer an objective, experienced perspective on what to prioritise. A mentor can also help fill in crucial gaps as you move along your business journey.
This is a great way to ensure your business is heading in the right direction and that you are not missing any opportunities. They'll also be able to navigate you around mistakes they have made so that you don't do the same.
You can talk to your mentor about budgeting, the environment, your strengths, your team and how to pivot if needed.
If you’d like to find out about a business mentor for 2021 contact us at Business Mentors New Zealand today.