2020 has been a year like no other – not just for businesses but for individuals, governments as well as organisations large and small. We’ve seen systemic change, the emergence of new behaviours and the disappearance of others. Some industry sectors have had a cataclysmic 9 months whilst others have seen booming profits. Overall though the move to digital, which had been gathering pace for the last 10 years, went into overdrive.
The good news is that we now have a number of vaccines available which will mean a relative return to normality by the middle of 2021. The bad news is that there are three other looming challenges just around the corner – Brexit, Climate Change and the increasing penetration of Artificial Intelligence into business processes.
With all this in mind then, no SME owner or Director can afford to rest on their laurels. There is no more business as usual and it is those companies who are best able to adapt to the changing corporate landscape who will thrive over the coming years.
If you want to be successful, not only in the next 12-24 months but also in the medium to long-term, you MUST have a proper business plan which fully embraces change and focuses on both the people and processes needed to achieve solid financial results.
Digital transformation plan
We now know that we are living and operating in a predominantly digital world. Whether you run a florist shop, hotel, law firm or insurance brokerage you will need to have a plan which looks at all the areas of business which may or may not be affected by digital. There is obviously sales and marketing but you need to add in PR, recruitment, sales, IT, training, facilities management, finance and even investor relations.
Just operating from month to month, making knee-jerk decisions or responding to changes in the market on a piecemeal basis, is not the way to plan for a successful long-term future.
Invest in people
Much of your success will depend on the people working in your business. Do they have the skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and mindset to push your company in new directions? Do you need to provide them with training? Do you need to be employing a different kind of person who can perform new roles within your organisation.
No one likes change, least of all staff within companies who have been used to working in a fixed way for years, if not decades. So when faced with new threats and challenges, it is vital that you invest in your most valuable resource – your human capital.
You should also think about the new skillsets that will be required to run a ‘digital-first’ business – data analytics, content creation, user experience, customer journey, stakeholder engagement.
Enabling digital processes
With the correct plan and the right people you can now concentrate on the relevant processes you need to make your organisation agile and adaptive. Covid-19 has accelerated the change in the way that businesses are run and this will continue to evolve as more and more technology becomes available to us.
Home and flexible working, moving into cloud- and collaborative-based work streams, understanding the human/machine interface, focusing on the intelligent use of data and creating proper networks of brand ambassadors are all new processes that will help you grow your business, save money or at the very least grow your brand profile.
Doing nothing really isn’t an option. If you are ambitious or are in any way concerned about the future, then the time to act is now. So if you are interested in how to pivot your business in 2021 then contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org