As we enter the new Roaring 2020s, one thing is obvious: it has been one heck of an introduction. We’re mirroring a century ago when we began the 1920s just after one of the worst global pandemics.
But today, we are in a far better situation overall when it comes to the type of healthcare and technology that we have available.. Let's raise a glass to that. Here’s to looking to the bright side, “Old Sport” (that is a Great Gatsby reference)!
However, the future state of the economy is still uncertain. It is hard to imagine anything past the next couple of months. But for your business to prevail, you have to start to plan for 2021 and beyond. Let’s focus on the now!
3 Tips for Business Success in 2021
Here are three things you can do to prepare for success now and into 2021.
- Protect Your Business
- Optimize for Digital
- Focus on Improving Efficiency
1. Protect Your Business
Companies must not compromise on the fundamentals that keep their company safe and secure. Continue to build trust and strengthen relationships with vendors and clients. Get ahead of any rumors and continue to ensure you and your company are staying strong.
2. Optimize for Digital
Are you digital ready?
Recent EY research reveals that only 22% of leaders feel prepared to operate in a highly digital environment. In the same studio, it highlights that “adaptability is a must. Digital leaders must be able to adapt to constant change or fall behind. They need to be learning every day, not getting caught up in ‘traditions.’”
During such uncertainty, the natural tendency of companies is to focus on defensive measures. However, history has taught us that this should not be the only measure they take. Companies need to Protect and Optimize.
Here are a few examples of companies that started and flourished out of different recessions. HP and Trader Joe’s started during the 1957 - 1958 recession. More recently, Uber and Airbnb launched during the 2007 - 2009 recession. See other examples from the Business Insider 14 successful companies that started during US Recessions.
So I ask again, are you digital ready?
3. Focus on Improving Efficiency
Looking into 2021, are you going to double down on what you're currently doing or change it up?
Maybe you think, “What I’m doing is fine and I just need to weather the storm.” But there is a difference in the way you do business and what you need to run your business more efficiently.
You still might need to do face-to-face deals to close or keep clients. Right now, that is done via Zoom, and once things go back to a certain normal, you can meet IRL (in real life) again.
Understanding how to run your business more efficiently is critical to success. And you don’t want technology to hold you back.
Do You Need to Evaluate Your Digital Business Before 2021?
Now that you know what it takes to be successful, the questions you need to ask are, “Does this apply to me and how?” To figure it out, there are four signs that it’s time to re-evaluate what you are currently using to run your business.
- Your firm's experiencing growing pains
- There is a point where you have accumulated too much data and you don’t know how to manage it all.
- If you have been doing things on Excel and have hundreds of sheets (I cringe just thinking of that!)
- Or as your business grew, you never added more licenses and employees must share logins, which causes errors and/or prevents simultaneous work.
- Your business requires a Frankenstein-esque mix of software.
- Your employees have trouble working on projects because they don’t know which tool to track things in.
- The software tools you use don’t integrate well.
- You have to bounce between multiple softwares and browsers to get all the data you are looking for.
- You’re experiencing productivity or efficiency problems.
- Many times, you just get used to something. So your employees or yourself don’t speak up because they are used to overcoming obstacles on their own (how many of you have had a refrigerator that was off-balance, and instead of fixing it, you just put a coaster under it to hold it up? We make compromises all the time).
- Your employees would rather not use your technology.
- They start doing their own work-arounds and processes, and then just input it when they need to.
- The software slows down your system so much that it is more of a hassle to have it running in the background.
If you have felt or experienced any one of those issues, or all of them, you're not alone. One of the big reasons most companies don’t change or update software is because of the upfront cost they paid before. Let’s say you paid $25,000 for a software five years ago. You want to make sure you are still getting your money's worth, so you don’t want to abandon ship.
But you have to think about it another way.
If you had a car with almost 300,000 miles on it, even though you paid a lot upfront, you would know you got money’s worth because of the mileage. After a while, a car starts to nickel and dime you to a point it just doesn’t make sense to keep putting money into it.
Again, that software you purchased years ago got you to this point. But if that software hasn’t done any updates since then or is starting to charge you for little updates or forcing you to purchase the newest version, then it’s not worth it to keep it around.
Take it as a sign to look for a new software provider. Remember, you want to do what is best for your business to get you to 2021 and beyond.
The question now is, given this uncertainty, should you play it safe and ride out the storm or double down on growth and optimization?