Strategic planning is the basis for a company’s direction and focus. It outlines where resources and energy should be directed, determines priorities of both short- and long-term goals, and keeps employees and shareholders informed on progress and issues. With a strategic plan in place, everyone involved in a company is on the same team, working towards a common goal. They know what they do, why they do it, and who they serve. Everyone understands what intended outcomes and results are supposed to be. When an environment changes, the strategy behind the plan needs to adapt as well to ensure the company is still on track to reach its goals. When the future is uncertain, and every aspect of life is disrupted, that can be nearly impossible.
Now that mass rollouts of vaccinations are in place, companies will need to be prepared for going back to business. Strategic planning is all about committing to a set of steps, and there is no practical way to adhere to any particular timetable for the foreseeable future.
One of the biggest questions that many companies are facing is about their staff. Industries that were hit the hardest in 2020 were hospitality, dining, sports, entertainment, dry cleaners, dentists, retail, and sightseeing, with job losses exceeding 60 percent in some areas. Moving forward, the expectations range anywhere from a slow incline to a roaring 20’s period of prosperity and celebration. As a leader, it’s hard to commit to a rehiring plan without knowing whether revenue will keep your company afloat.
Other decisions include whether to pour money into the business in order to remain competitive or stay frugal and diligent. Making no decision at all is, in itself, a decision. The best way to move forward is to zoom out and get a perspective of what has changed vs. not changed in the world and how it will affect your business and your customers moving forward.
For some industries, this question is easier to answer than others. People may still shy away from crowded venues for years to come but feel comfortable reporting to the office again in place of telecommuting. Many restaurants that shifted to take-out from dine-in will reacclimate to welcoming patrons on a different scale, making safety paramount to courting customers.