It’s that time of the year when we give extra thought about the future.
So, when considering your business positioning and growth plans in 2021 … what exactly IS your preferred planned investment or course of action:
– New customers
– New technology
– Competitive positioning
– New revenue stream
It’s difficult to make plans surrounded by uncertainty. This year has been full of surprises, and we still have a long way to go. That’s why it’s not surprising that 50% of the business professionals we asked opted in for getting new customers. In the second place is one form of pivoting – finding a new revenue stream.
However, we can’t allow ourselves and our businesses to stay still. Even with a slow economy and disruption lurking behind every corner, we need to prepare the best we can. After all, 2021 is less than 2 months away, and if you are not already making business plans, it’s time.
I am being asked by business owners and management teams this question:
“How can I stay focused on my business priorities, positioning, and growth when I’m not even in control of the current events?”
My answer is simple (it’s not easy though).
Now is exactly the time to acknowledge exactly where your business is at. And then, you need to assess how your current situation matches your goals. Lastly, stay firm in your goals and keep moving toward them with adjustments along the way.
Now is the time to focus on your business priorities and only those business priorities. Anything that is outside of your initiatives is out … at least for now.
There are many ways that you can push for growth and position your business for 2021.
What helps me stay on the path and decide what big initiatives to go for are questions like these:
- What is my business’ purpose, and how well is the current strategy is supporting it?
- Which projects are aligned with business purpose and priorities? (The ones that don’t, discard.)
- How much time, resources, and money do we have for these initiatives and what is a realistic timeline?
Red Direction tapped ten business leaders to share their top tips and help you with their experience to achieve your business goals.
“My priority is to meet more people and build stronger relationships with them … be a better listener so I can either help them or connect them with the right people! I use the Contact Mapping app as my tool!“ – Ginny Schuster, Certified Trainer at Contact Mapping
“Initially, when COVID hit, I saw a lot of companies make dramatic pivots to get them through. Some of those pivots, while temporarily successful, took the company a little too far from their stated mission, which created problems including a loss of core customers. What is required when visioning and strategic planning for 2021, is the ability to relax into deeper imagining, not knee jerk survival tactics. Starting with the question: What is our relevance to what is happening? Also, many things are happening in addition to this deadly pandemic. Organizations ideate from those answers and develop new initiatives that are on brand, within the capacity, and that creates excitement. " – Blair Glaser, Executive Coach for mission-driven leaders.
“While shifting to an entirely different work dynamic was a challenge at first as we juggle extra work/home responsibility and manage uncertainty, some of the outcomes have been wonderful. I know that in my team we’re seeing things like better communication as people are forced to be more effective and efficient communicators. We have embraced ways to be more collaborative yet mindful of people’s time. Determining balance and managing time so that we are most productive while maintaining our sanity has become the norm. The peer motivation mindset is so powerful because when you know that everyone is doing their best, and everyone truly supports each other, then the team becomes stronger and works together, more beautifully. Our team was always a high functioning/high delivery team, but with the foundation of team support, we’re even better. Our growth was only possible as a team." – Rita Erickson, Maximo Developer -DOE/ President – Self Directing Systems LLC
“We learned a lot in 2020 about some of the traps of being all things to all people here at Aspen Commercial Lending. We can’t be all things to all people, yet at the same time, we want to support as many businesses as possible in these chaotic times. We’ve examined our bread and butter type deals and have a high-priority view of taking care of our best customers while growing our base of trusted lending and referral partners. We take a strategic view of the businesses that approach us with the idea of building long-term trusted relationships. We educate ourselves constantly to keep a strong pulse on capital lending markets and where they are headed. We’re excited about 2021 and are approaching it with full intent to continue measuring and improving everything we do to provide more value to everyone we work with daily." – Russ Dennis, Connecting Money, People, Expertise, Skills and Resources for Business Expansion, Asset Acquisition, Growth and Impact
“You need positioning first. And then, you can focus on growth. It’s bold because it goes back to action versus results. It’s saying that you’re willing to have a short term and a long term vision to what you’re doing. " – Lawrence Wayne O’Connor, Digital Marketing Coach
“You can’t just talk about how to get to your goal. You have to actually have the experiences that allow you to prove to yourself you can achieve success so that your success cube can expand." – Bart Rupert, Managing Partner Stone Peak Alliance
“We live in a world of duality – if we don’t have a bad day we’re not going to appreciate a good day. Three elements of a business plan are be seen, be safe, and be relevant." – Gary Barnes, President Gary Barnes International
“There are a lot of people that are stuck because they can’t see the problem or situation other than the answers they’ve already come up with themselves. It’s about our expectations, and we live in a time where we’re told to lower our expectations." – Maxwell Ivey, Self-help author, motivational speaker, podcast talent agent, and podcast host
“You have to be authentic and true to your culture. And your culture comes from your missions and value statements. And make sure that you’re using your key three words all the time. That alleviates some of the stress and the unknown." – Barbara Jaynes, Founder/Owner Positively-Funded Strategic Business Development Consulting
“Focus, focus, focus, there’s so much in that, especially when it comes to positioning and growth. And if we go back to differentiation, and the value chain, then understanding who we serve, why we serve them, and what’s important to them becomes incredibly centralized so that we can find the market or markets we can best help." – Jess Dewell, Red Direction, Operations and Strategy
As additional reading material, I suggest the following articles:
How to Build Your 2021 Business Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty – by John Boitnott
How to Cultivate Strategic Thinking Skills in 6 Steps – by Pam Didner
The 10 Best COVID-19 Ideas Your Business Can Learn From – by Ivana Taylor
Innovation Or Growth: How To Plan Your Market Strategy For Next Year – by Jessica Scanlon