he anxiety and angst of 2020 are behind us. It was a year that left its mark on thousands of businesses everywhere.
Due to the pandemic many companies adjusted their business strategies, readjusted and then readjusted again.
Those with strong operational foundations were able to survive. They were able to adjust to the ebb and flow of the marketplace.
Some even thrived and made significant growth in sales and revenue. Others were not so fortunate and were forced to trim production and staff.
As the COVID economy continues, business owners must continue to adjust and add to their strategic processes. This includes an analysis, evaluation and development of a plan that establishes proper direction and the discipline necessary to sail through the headwinds that will surely be faced throughout 2021.
Case in point. I was a member of the 1988 USVI Olympic Sailing Team. We sailed out of the US Sailing Center in Coconut Grove, Florida. When we raced, the course was set up in a triangle. That means no matter which way the wind was blowing you needed to make your sailboat move rapidly and maintain speed.
The course required you to not only fight hard to sustain momentum but to watch out for other boats. You could not let a competitor literally “take the wind out of your sails.”
The race included a high level of strategy. Sails had to be set precisely to make the upcoming 300 degree turn without losing velocity. It was an all-out effort to cross the finish line ahead of the competition.
Your business plan should do the same. That is formulating a strategy that not only enables your company to maintain pace but actually is designed to win the race in the new year.
One example of a winning plan is the popular Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), used by thousands of businesses nationwide and worth echoing here. Like the EOS® plan, your strategy should focus on six key areas.
A solid vision. One where everyone in the organization is on the same page and rowing, if you will, in the same direction. The entire team must understand the direction of the business and how you are going to get there. Great progress can be made when employees have a clear vision of where you are headed and then spend the bulk of their time aligned with it.
Great people. Business owners need to surround themselves with excellent people from top to bottom. A great vision cannot be accomplished without a great team. Many business owners struggle in this area but the best companies have a strong group supporting them.
Data and metrics. Management must cut through all the personalities, feelings, opinion and egos. Instead a plan should be boiled down to a handful of objective numbers. This gives you an absolute pulse on where things are at any given time. These data points will help the team focus, engage and work toward your vision.
Issue resolvement. Issues can hold a company back. Most are solvable but left unresolved can turn a thoroughbred into a slow moving mule. These issues should be addressed at their root cause. When properly addressed they can be eliminated and/or their impact substantially reduced.
Processes. Companies have various business processes. Some are better than others and may be different for every employee. Management needs to document what these processes are and then simplify them to ensure they are followed by everyone in the organization.
Traction. Once companies enact these processes they hit a point in implementation where they are making great progress, never before imaginable. By identifying their top priorities, taking the time weekly to work through them and holding each other accountable, they are able to grow farther and faster.
Creation of the right strategic plan, with the proper processes for implementation, measurement and accountability, will enable a business owner to crush their numbers and rock their business plan in 2021.