Congratulations. You’re still standing. As we all know, this has been one of the most challenging years in history -- especially for retailers, restaurants, schools, and non-essential businesses.
A whopping 60 percent of the businesses that closed as a result of the pandemic will not re-open. More than 100,000 small businesses have gone under and even large, multi-location brands are dealing with major changes in their operations.
How to Plan for 2021 With Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in Mind
All types of businesses would normally be finalizing their full-year plans and budgets right now. But the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a new definition of planning. You must still map out goals, initiatives, and success measures for the year ahead, but also need to be ready and able to adapt quickly as the health picture changes and consumer and business behavior evolve.
These five elements of your 2021 plan are especially critical. Business continuity is your main goal, but also be mindful of how you’ll face the unexpected and build an organization that’s innovative and forward-thinking but also equipped to deal with disaster recovery.
Creativity leads to growth and quick thinking and flexibility helps you face the unexpected.
#1 Marketing Plan: The 30 Percent Solution
Although many would assert that marketing spending is essential to businesses’ survival and growth, industry experts predict that overall spending will be down as much as 30 percent in 2021.
Smart companies will carefully evaluate every dollar spent, focusing on ways to streamline via marketing automation. Local efforts and retention programs are also important.
With more customers working and staying close to home, you need to focus on the marketing strategies that reach prospects where they live -- literally.
Brand loyalty is on the wane, so taking care of your current customers is vital to profitability. Retention marketing is always an important element of any plan, but as marketing dollars become scarce, deepening relationships with existing customers can have a huge impact on profitability.
#2 Partnership Plan: Align With Other Businesses for Growth
Collaboration with other related businesses and non-profit causes can provide a huge boost to your performance. Whether you’re running a promotion with another local SMB or aligning yourself with a charitable cause, you can build awareness, tapping into another enterprise’s base.
Strategic alliances are more important than ever, as resources are limited and companies look for new sources of innovation and growth.
#3 Health & Wellness Plan: Keep Your Customers and Employees Safe
The pandemic has made health and safety even more important for businesses making workplace decisions. Restaurants and retailers have all had to adopt new practices to keep their employees in good shape and reassure guests that the premises are complying with COVID-19 practices.
Noise level, security, and even lighting (see below) all play a role in employee and guest health too. Be sure that your 2021 plans account for steps that reassure the people you serve. Healthy employees will be more productive and your commitment to wellness will help you attract the best talent.
Health and sustainability go hand-in-hand.
#4 Sustainability Plan: The Planet Matters to Today’s Consumers and Businesses
Climate change and environmental practices have become a key concern for many of your customers, especially younger ones. What steps will you take next year to reduce your carbon footprint and communicate to the people you serve that you’re serious about our planet?
Here are just a few examples of how incorporating sustainable practices into your business can result in better financial performance, higher-quality employees, and a safer and healthier workplace.
#5 Energy Plan: An Opportunity for HUGE Cost Savings
An offshoot of your sustainability plan is your energy plan. Before the year ends, conduct a simple energy audit to better understand what you’re currently spending on HVAC, electricity to operate equipment and technology, water, and lighting.
Look at grants and incentive programs as a way to transition to cleaner and less expensive energy solutions.
Lighting is an often-overlooked area for cost savings. About 40 percent of businesses have yet to transition to LED lighting. We’ve saved companies more than $200 million from lighting solutions alone.
Shareholders, Clients, Employees, and Your Bottom Line All Benefit
A great annual plan is a living breathing roadmap that sets the stage for prosperity and growth. Although we expect 2021 to be a challenging year, you’ll be prepared with strategies that are designed for today’s economy and customer needs.
Make sure YOUR plan includes all five areas that lead to success. And build a talented team that can execute that plan.
FES can help you craft your energy plan -- and contribute to the others too. Please get in touch.