There is no doubt that 2020 upset the apple cart for many businesses. Employees shifted to remote work. Customers increased their e-commerce shopping. Social distancing rewrote how businesses operate both internally and externally.
If your business has gone through significant changes in the past year, here are a few tips to help you reorient and refocus heading into 2021.
1. Trim Unnecessary Costs
It’s easy to excuse unnecessary costs when you’re focused on surviving a crisis. Even so, now that vaccines are available and stability is in sight, it’s time to review how your organization is spending its cash.
It’s easy to justify some costs, such as paying for an online workflow program for your remote team. Others are likely off-kilter, like buying office supplies for a currently unoccupied workspace. If you’re going to stay remote, cancel any recurring subscriptions, and liquidate your office supplies. If you’re planning to transition back into your physical office, consider joining a group purchasing organization (GPO) like Una to help get bulk pricing on your supplies.
Whatever your particular scenario, it’s a good idea to take the time to review each area where you’re currently spending money.
2. Maintain Your Online Presence
The online marketplace has become more important than ever for all businesses. While the pandemic may be winding down, that doesn’t mean the increasing reliance on the internet is going to fade away with it. That’s why it’s important to create a strategy to maintain a powerful online presence throughout the upcoming year. You can do this by:
- Updating your website design and development.
- Establishing clear, two-way B2C lines of communication such as email and chatbots.
- Utilizing online marketing, including social media, emails, and search engines.
By steering into your online presence, you do two things. First, you’re taking advantage of technology to improve your company in the here and now. Second, you’ll be safeguarding your operation against any future pandemic-like crises.
3. Review Your Remote Work Situation
Remote work has become popular in lieu of a traditional workspace. Pandemic or not, companies like Twitter and Shopify have already committed to a fully remote workspace for the foreseeable future.
As you enter 2021, evaluate if you’re one of these companies. Does the remote work option fit well with your business model? Do your employees consider it a perk or a punishment? Take a serious look at your remote work situation and consider what is best for your organization in the year ahead. Maybe even consider creating a remote work playbook.
4. Consider Your Customer Experience
Your customers’ experience is a critical business consideration. It takes into account things like marketing and sales early in the customer journey. It also includes customer support after the point of purchase.
With so many activities taking place online, it’s wise to review the quality and consistency of your customer service. Are you providing a satisfactory experience for your customers? If not, look for the areas where you can improve. Are your representatives offering consistent information and solutions? If that isn’t the case, update your employee handbook with clear instructions for your brand’s voice, tone, beliefs, and so on.
In other words, do everything you can to create a unified experience for your customers every time they make contact with your brand.
5. Scour Your Supply Chain
Before the pandemic, everyone lauded the concept of a “lean and mean” supply chain. When the last year strained and even broke countless supply chains, it changed the narrative.
Going forward into 2021, it’s important to maintain a sense of caution and even redundancy in your supply chain. Instead of obsessing over efficiency, also consider how to strengthen your supply chain. Continuously evaluate your situation. Make sure you have back-up options if a supplier can’t deliver something on time. Digitize your supply chain where you can, and source items from domestic and even regional suppliers whenever possible.
6. Embrace a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset was already helpful before 2020. With so much of the business world in a perpetual state of flux, it’s become imperative.
A growth mindset is a belief that you can use effort to improve your basic qualities. The opposite would be a fixed mindset. This is the limiting belief that you are born with the talents that you have.
Do your best to cultivate a growth mindset within your company culture throughout the upcoming year. Try to weave concepts like adaptability, flexibility, and continual learning into your employees’ collective attitude. A growth mindset perspective will enable your team to thrive on the challenges that it faces.
There are a variety of different items worthy of attention as you prepare your company for 2021. Some of them are fairly practical, such as trimming operational costs and reviewing the long-term viability of remote work. Others are more subtle in nature — though just as essential. Embracing the online aspects of your company is critical at this point. So is fostering a growth mindset as a permanent part of your company culture.
Look for ways to implement the above tips as you start the year. If you can do so, you’ll be able to head into 2021 as confident as possible — even in the uncertain times in which we live.