The Coronavirus crisis exposed both the strengths and weaknesses of many businesses, proving disastrous for some and opening up new avenues for others. Whilst some business owners will be glad to close the door on 2020, hoping fervently for better times to come, others were able to capitalise on the opportunities presented during the pandemic and will be looking to use those successes as a springboard to further growth.

2021, like no other year, will be a time for fresh starts – a clean slate for companies to place themselves in a better position to succeed. Planning is essential. But in order to create a meaningful plan, we must determine our current status by evaluating the current situation and setting realistic business objectives for a modest growth rate in 2021.

The steps you should take are set out in the CRM 8 Step Business Improvement Programme which our clients have used to overcome the hurdles of 2020 and prepare for what lies ahead. Having researched the route to success for many businesses, we developed the 8 Step Business Improvement Programme to guide and mentor business owners and managers who want to take control of their future performance and results.

As diverse businesses approach these 8 Steps differently, the programme is tailored to each individual company. Business improvement is a cycle and the 8 Steps are on a continuous loop of improvement depending on the goals and objectives.

It’s clear that to reassess growth opportunities, businesses need to focus on the changing habits of its customers. To emerge into 2021 stronger, it’s important to map out and respond to these changes, focussing on the permanent rather than temporary shifts.

Getting a full understanding of these numbers will require deep investigations into company data and may unearth some surprising trends. Which new processes worked best? What were customers requesting more of? Which supply chain was more robust? Can a helping of innovation develop something new to roll out? With a clearer idea of the nature of your opportunities, it’s time to reshape your business plan to maximise them. Ask how your business creates value and whether that can be delivered digitally.

Many companies succeeded in 2020 by moving to or beefing up their online presence and it’s unlikely that the demand for online products and services will reverse in 2021. Investments in IT should be directed to the areas of the business plan where innovation can take advantage of new opportunities.

This unprecedented year has shown us that ‘What If’ scenario planning is a vital element of a business plan. Unusual scenarios such as a pandemic don’t seem so ‘far-fetched’ any longer and it’s worth including these types of scenarios in your plan, along with ‘what happens if demand falls?’ ‘What happens if schools close?’ ‘What happens if the majority of employees are off sick at the same time?’.

Many companies have risen to the challenges that 2020 threw at them, learning and adapting their processes along the way. Companies that question the old ways and create a ‘new normal’ for 2021 will not only survive this crisis but also thrive into next year with a renewed sense of cautious optimism.

If you’d like to develop more clarity for your business in 2021, the CRM 8 Step Business Improvement Programme could be exactly what you need. To find out more, check out the website, or call the team on 01865 379272.

Sage Accountant Partner Logoiris kashflowFreeagent