June 14, 2020

How to Make a Business Plan When Your Future is Uncertain

by Mike O'Neill

COVID has many companies scrambling to pivot its current products and services to implement a new COVID Company Policy.

Many employees have suddenly found themselves working from home, and business owners have had little time to prepare for all the challenges.

Staff may not have all the necessary equipment or tools to work from home, which means you could find yourself footing the bill for headsets, laptops, or even mobile devices to maintain communications and workflow.

Don’t spend hours, days, or weeks struggling alone, trying to make the best of a bad situation. 

“In response to COVID, we helped a client shift their focus on year-long initiatives to develop short-term actions aligned with their long-term goals. This approach required more work & discipline, but it enabled them to respond more quickly to external changes.” 
— Bench Builders

Get the advice you need to shift your company in the right direction by contacting us and continue reading for tips to make a new business plan below.

Tip #1: Be Open to Change

When a crisis occurs, you need to make decisions swiftly and be open to moving your business in a new direction to keep it afloat. What demands are consumers now having that they weren’t before? How can you change your business and meet those new demands? 

Your products and services might not be a good fit for the current market, but that doesn’t have to mean the end of your company.

For example, restaurant owners had found themselves forced to close their doors, but that didn’t stop them from serving their customers.

Instead of giving up and calling it quits, they switched from dine-in to delivery and made adjustments to protect the health and safety of their workers and customers. This allowed them to continue doing business with their customers, who found themselves stuck at home.

Restaurants aren’t the only ones changing due to COVID.

Breweries were watching their beer spoil, knowing that all their money was about to go in the trash. Facing this challenge caused them to think outside the box, which led to breweries manufacturing desperately needed hand sanitizer from their spoiled product.

Even automobile manufacturers were forced to look at the way they were doing things. 

No one is buying cars when money is tight, but healthcare workers desperately needed PPE and medical equipment. Auto manufacturers started producing face shields and ventilators to meet the demand.

Don’t assume your business is doomed because of the current crisis. Instead, rise to the occasion and find a way to forge ahead and fill the gaps being created in the market daily.

Tip #2: Don’t Do What Everyone Else is Doing

When thinking of new ways you can serve your community, don’t just copy what everyone else is doing — be original.

“Great business leaders are visionaries and will figure out how to pivot their focus as needed to ensure their business is successful. Don’t do the same thing everyone else is doing. Figure out something new, innovative, and be the first to fill a new demand. Include your employees in brainstorming, thinking of new ideas, and how to change or enhance your business, so they’re successful as well.”
- Rhonda Beard, Bench Builders

As Rhonda said, make sure to include your employees in discussions about pivoting your business. You might be surprised at what they come up with.

Additionally, when you include them in the process, it keeps them calm and helps to curb their fear of losing their jobs, and reduces the spread of rumors or misinformation.

Tip #3: Use Tech to Make Remote Communications More Efficient

Has your staff been forced into working remotely without giving you much time to prepare, making communication difficult?

Virtual meetings, live chat applications, and cloud-based collaboration tools make it simple for you to communicate with every member of your organization no matter where they are.

You’ll need to make sure that your staff has the right equipment to participate, but most people have the minimum. All they need is a mobile device, computer, or laptop for you to get things set up right away.

Applications such as Zoom are great for companies on a budget looking for a virtual meeting software they can get started with quickly.

Slack lets you host live chats and is free to use up to 10k messages. Create channels for announcements, meetings, or even different departments of your company.

Tip #4: Iron Out Your Processes

When you’ve found your workforce scattered and working from home, you’ll need to quickly create and implement new processes to make the switch go smoothly.

“One of our clients had to quickly transition from no employees working remotely, to 100% remote. They found several things that were key to a smooth & effective transition — daily 1:1’s, frequent check-ins by managers, regular Zoom Meetings, adding time on the front end to simply catch-up with each other, and recognizing the stress & anxiety employees may be feeling but continuing to provide confidence in their teams that “we’ve got this.” - Bench Builders

You’ll need to think about how you’re going to communicate with your workers, how you’re going to assign and delegate tasks, and whether or not you’ll need to host frequent virtual meetings.

The tools mentioned above can help you solve the problem of how you’re going to communicate and host meetings.

Tip #5: Use Project Management Software

The next step is to determine how you want to assign work. Project management software such as ClickUp, make it simple for you to keep a birds-eye view of your workflow and project status. 

For users who prefer a less intimidating interface with fewer features, something such as Trello might be a better fit.

There is other project management software out there you can try out. Some of the most popular ones are Asana, Basecamp, and Microsoft Project.

No matter what applications you choose to use, it’s crucial that you take the time to find the right ones that will enable you to quickly get your company moving forward and create a new COVID Company Policy.

Tip #6: Get Serious About Your Marketing

Have you been paying for marketing without taking the time to strategize your approach? Random acts of marketing only waste your valuable time and money. 

To know your customers and understand how they make buying decisions is the first step to creating a marketing strategy.

Familiarize yourself with the buyer’s journey, and consider using digital marketing if your company hasn’t been using it in the past.

When you already have a company website with a blog, make sure you’re publishing articles that directly increase your revenue.

Blogging just to blog isn’t going to bring you new business. 

Your blog’s purpose isn’t to entertain, it’s to attract your ideal customers and educate them so they can make an informed decision regarding purchasing your products or services.

Speak with a marketing agency to help you develop a sound strategy that gives you the biggest bang for your budget.

Let Us Help

We understand how overwhelming handling a crisis like COVID can be, and we’re here to help you like we’ve helped many others.

Don’t try and create a new COVID Company Policy on your own. Leverage Mike and Rhonda’s expertise to help you create the best possible plan for the coming weeks, months, and years.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you survive the COVID crisis and come out thriving on the other side.

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