2020 was an unusually challenging year for businesses and investors. Lockdowns, stock market drops and uncertainty about the future became common themes that occupied headspace and affected decision-making.
Fortunately, there are things people can do to improve resiliency and overall success in 2021. They can then avoid some of the headaches that come with running a business and tend to worsen during extraordinary circumstances.
1. Assess and Tweak Business Continuity Plans
Business continuity planning is all about helping companies keep operating smoothly before and during disasters. The goals are to prevent catastrophes and deal with issues effectively if they arise. Thus, a thoughtfully created business continuity plan can promote recovery and help companies steer clear of problems.
Decision-makers should start by assessing and fixing any gaps in a current continuity plan. Next, they should make the document available digitally and ensure that the people responsible for taking action can do so off-site.
Those steps will prevent business-related headaches because they foster better preparedness — no matter what the future holds. Knowing what could happen leads to thoughtful planning and future-minded actions that reduce the likelihood of possible catastrophes.
2. Improve Forecasting and Scenario Planning Skills
A collection of research from EY confirmed that only 9.2% of respondents felt very confident in their forecasting and scenario-planning skills. Today’s business owners and investors can’t predict the future with certainty. However, if they’re aware of possible scenarios and consider how they’d deal with them, business headaches are less likely to occur.
For example, the EY data also determined that the pandemic made 44% of people more likely to shop online. Moreover, 70% of people polled in EY’s research said they’d become more health-conscious.
Decision-makers should stay updated on changes in consumer trends. They should then create forecasts and scenarios based on those changes to become better equipped. Then, they’ll be able to run operations during both successful periods and downturns.
3. Learn How Delaware Statutory Trusts Could Reduce Risks
A Delaware statutory trust (DST) gets established for business purposes, but not only for companies operating in that state. A DST can help investors deal with unexpected adverse events by allowing them to act quickly to mitigate risks.
More specifically, a DST does not require unanimous approval of the individual owners or investors when taking action to reduce losses. Instead, a signatory trustee has the power to take necessary steps, such as renegotiating leases or restructuring financing.
It is not possible to remove all risks associated with investing or running a business. However, having that entity in control and able to act could keep the business stable during uncertain times.
4. Research How Technology Investments May Help
The events of 2020 caused many business owners to assess how they could improve company performance to increase their chances of bouncing back from the year’s losses. Recent research from Deloitte showed that many respondents planned to invest in technology to become stronger and prevent situations that could cause difficulties.
For starters, approximately two in three respondents planned to pursue automation during their business recoveries. Additionally, 80% of respondents ranked both cybersecurity and cloud computing as vital technologies in the post-COVID-19 era.
Three-quarters of those polled also intended to shift most customer transactions to digital channels to keep customers engaged. Strategically chosen technological solutions should aid those efforts, too.
5. Let Work-From-Home Arrangements Continue
It became apparent early in 2020 that COVID-19 was not a minor problem restricted to a few nations. As the health crisis worsened, many company leaders let people work from home. Teams often transitioned in a matter of days.
Some of them — especially after getting used to it — discovered that they loved the new arrangement and were often more productive because of it. Decision-makers should think about whether maintaining the work-from-home option could make the company stronger.
A global 2020 survey revealed that 77% of people feel very productive while working from home. The percentage was even higher among North American respondents. Moreover, 70% of managers say their remote employees perform as well or better outside of the office.
Letting employees keep working from home could simplify and save money in many parts of the business. For example, if a company leader decides to allow 90% of employees to work at home, they may find it most practical to move into a smaller office space that costs less to rent. That arrangement could also mean the company spends less on things like furniture and office supplies. Remote work could also increase employee retention rates.
Proactive Decisions Can Get a Business Back on Track
It’s too early to say for sure what kind of year 2021 will be for businesspeople and investors. However, they are not powerless to control some of the things that will occur. The five tips here will help them get off to a good start in 2021 and quickly start making up for some of last year’s losses.