Some dramatic changes have taken place in the workplace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to government-mandated lockdowns and the economic impact of the pandemic, thousands of businesses have had to shut their doors—some temporarily, and some forever. That’s because a lot of companies were caught off guard by the suddenness of the pandemic and were unable to adapt to the drastic changes in the marketplace.
So how can you as a business owner avoid being caught off guard by an emergency like this in the future? You can start by building a flexible business plan that will help you minimize the negative impact of emergencies. In this article, we’ll go over a few of the most important things to include in your pandemic proof business plan for 2021.
As a result of social distancing guidelines, the implementation of lockdowns, and general anxiety over contracting the virus, many companies that formerly worked exclusively out of a physical office were forced to move operations into the virtual space.
The large-scale shift to remote work for businesses worldwide has been one of the most significant changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some businesses had an easier time going remote than others. Companies in the tech industry, for example, were generally able to facilitate a smooth transition to remote work for their employees. While other industries may have struggled at first, many companies have by this point found a way to make remote work possible.
And once they made the effort to transition, a large chunk of companies found that they were able to stay productive with a remote work environment. Plus their employees reported being happier than ever before, and keeping your workers happy is a great way to reduce employee turnover.
Recommended Reading: How COVID-19 Changed Marketing and Consumer Behavior
All of this is to say that remote work isn’t going anywhere. Besides being an attractive option for employees, remote work can lower a company’s costs and keep your business up and running in case another pandemic were to strike.
Even if you don’t want to go fully remote, it’s a good idea to keep it as an option just in case. So explore ways in which you can transition from in-person to remote. Identify the software, programs, and other marketing tools you’ll need in order for your company to stay productive while working remotely.
With so many people staying home, e-commerce has seen a major boom as more people than ever are shopping online. Taking this into consideration, you should make sure your business is effectively reaching that massive online audience.
Here are a few ways you may be able to increase your company’s online presence:
Additionally, try to diversify your business if possible. Depending on a single product or service to generate all of your company’s revenue is a risky strategy. Similarly, depending on a single large client for all of your business can lead to trouble in times of crisis.
Creating a budget for your business and sticking to it is key to keeping its finances in order. Of course you’ll want to start off your budget with the basics such as operational costs, payroll, and so on. But it’s also important that you make room in your budget for an emergency fund that can help your business get through tough times.
We’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic that many businesses weren’t prepared to suddenly close and have their revenue streams cut off. A lot of business owners didn’t foresee the occurrence of such a catastrophic event, thus they were unable to account for its economic consequences.
While many businesses have permanently shut down as a result of the pandemic, the ones that have been able to make it through were businesses that had money put away to weather the storm.
So, when creating your budget, it’s crucial that you factor in savings in case of an emergency. Ideally, you should be able to cover at least three to six months worth of operating expenses in a situation where you’re forced to shut down, or business comes to a grinding halt.
Incorporating technology into your business plan can not only enable your business to streamline processes and become more efficient, it can also help you save money in the long-term. If you’re struggling to find money in your company’s budget for an emergency fund, then investing in technology may prove to be a solution.
Think about the needs of your company and see if there are any relevant technologies out there that can allow you to operate more effectively. For instance, if you’re attempting to transition to remote work, then you should research video conferencing programs and find one that works for you.
Or you could save money in your human resources department by investing in HR software that enables you to easily onboard new employees, track time, and manage employee records. Ultimately, though, the technology you invest in depends on the needs of your particular business.
One of the best ways to ensure your company’s financial stability is by creating a solid business plan. Attempting to incorporate the above elements into your business plan going into 2021 is a good start, but remember that in the end your business plan should be flexible.
Nobody anticipated the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating consequences it would bring. Regardless, every business had to adapt to the circumstances in order to survive.
So, once you’ve come up with a business plan, be ready to change it and pivot as needed. If this year has shown us anything, it’s that unexpected challenges can arise in an instant and throw everything out of balance. Using the tips from this article, you can build a business plan that puts you in a position to surmount those unexpected challenges when they inevitably do arise.