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We have managed to plow through another year of pandemic confusion, mandates, and changes in how we manage our businesses.
The good news is that it seems the worst is behind us, and we can look forward to continuing our business journey.
We’re a few weeks into the 4th quarter, and I thought it might be helpful to talk about those things your organization can be doing now to plan and prepare for next year.
I am a firm believer in the old saying, “If you fail to plan – you plan to fail”.
There are no truer words in business, as sustained growth rests on an organization’s ability to plan and budget toward the vision.
Now is a great time to be meeting with your leadership team and discuss the vision and strategy for next year.
So, what 6 things should you be discussing?
1. Business Strategy
It is no secret that the economic and competitive business climate changes rapidly, and keeping up with those changes is challenging at best.
Every organization should invest the time to strategize and plan for predictable and unpredictable business changes.
For example, try to figure out what stands in the way of where your business is now, as compared to where you see your organization going, and then map out a plan to get there.
Do a SWOT analysis and think about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Then, consider how you can strategically address your weaknesses and threats while building on your strengths and new opportunities.
Running a business is very much like playing a chess game. You have to anticipate others’ moves so you can make the right moves and ultimately win the game – it’s all about strategy!
For instance, if you are in the restaurant business, the past two years have not been your friend.
Take the time to think outside the box and figure out ways to serve the public while keeping them safe.
2. Business Goals
The changing economic climate makes it even more important than ever to stop and take the time to plan and strategize.
No matter the size, every organization should take the time to strategize and write goals.
Well-thought-out and written business goals provide the roadmap for organizational success.
For instance, let’s say you have a restaurant that has struggled to survive the pandemic. Meet with customers, employees, and managers and determine SMART goals for attracting and retaining customers.
Many organizations are struggling with decreased revenues, increased costs, and an unpredictable business climate during the pandemic.
Develop a budgeting process that supports the organization’s vision so your business can not only survive but grow.
You want to control spending and invest resources into those things that affect the customer experience.
Think about those big-ticket items that are likely to hit your organization in the next year and put a plan and budget in place so you have the available resources when needed.
For example, if your employees are working with outdated equipment that is beginning to affect the customer experience, now is the time to map out a plan to get that equipment replaced.
An example of this could be anything from outdated software, hardware, or aging production equipment.
When you are proactive and think ahead, you will have the necessary resources to eliminate a customer service nightmare down the road.
4. Customer Focus
We all know that there is no business without customers, so it is important to incorporate customer needs and expectations into business planning and strategy.
Develop a customer service strategy and spend time talking to customers. Or solicit customer satisfaction data so your organization can offer products and services that not only meet but exceed customer requirements.
The goal is to create a wow experience, so your customers not only come back but tell others about the great things your business does. The wow moment is the secret sauce to business success.
5. Employee Involvement
Don’t ever underestimate the value of engaged employees.
The 4th quarter is also a great time to look at your employee census, review and modify job descriptions, update employee expectations, and develop employee goals based on organizational strategy and business goals.
Talk to employees and continually look for ways to keep them engaged. It will be time and money well spent.
Without customers, there is no business, and satisfied customers depend on great employees who are engaged with the organization.
Your employees take care of the customers, so be sure to take care of them!
6. Emergency Preparedness
The climate of our planet has changed as evidenced by the extraordinary weather patterns these past few years.
The 4th quarter is a great time to review your emergency preparedness plan and ensure your organization is prepared should something unexpected hit your business.
Knowing what to do and how to respond in the event of a disaster is simply good business management.
Challenging Times Makes Planning Even More Important!
No one could have predicted the likes of the pandemic that businesses had to endure. Changes in how services were delivered, and sanitation procedures were unprecedented!
The challenging business climate is forcing business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs more than ever to think about what they are doing and how they can sustain and grow their organizations.
There are no secret formulas, but good planning coupled with strong performance management and fiscal responsibility is a great way to start the new year.
Have you mapped out a plan for next year yet?