4 Tips for Business Planning in the Post-Pandemic Environment
The pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of public and private life beginning in late 2019. One of the areas where this is most evident is business. Nearly every business across the globe has been impacted to some degree. It is no longer business as usual, and that’s not only for existing businesses; this notion also applies to the business planning process. Regardless if you are an existing or new business, hiring a business plan writer to craft a formal business plan for external audiences or tackling revisions to your existing plan internally to adapt to current times, these tips will help ensure your business plan is being crafted for the post-pandemic world.
1. DO Address the Pandemic
According to a recently published study entitled “The impact of COVID-19 on small business outcomes and expectations” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), as of late March 43% of businesses had already temporarily closed, and this number only grew as time went on. Even now, as states have largely moved towards reopening, many businesses have had to make the tough choice to remain partially or fully closed due to the difficulty of complying with the pandemic guidelines. As of June when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published their Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll, 79% of businesses were either fully or partially open but over 80% were making changes in how they operate in direct response to coronavirus.
Pretending the pandemic is not an impact on businesses and not addressing it is not an option if you want your business plan to be taken seriously or be genuinely useful internally. Even if your business has not been disrupted or you have a plan for how it will circumvent the disruption, mentioning the pandemic is important. Not mentioning it or attempting to plan your business as though it is not an important factor can lead to trouble.
2. Diversifying Revenue Streams
Top money experts like Warren Buffet and others are known for encouraging people to never rely solely on one single source of income. Although this advice is typically given in regards to personal finances, it applies to businesses as well. Diversifying revenue streams is more important now than ever. In addition to providing additional revenue, it provides ready-made ways for your business to shift its focus during any type of disruption. This can be as simple as producing a line of merchandise with your brand, offering an online shop in addition to your in-store offering, or launching new products or services. The important thing is to make sure the new revenue streams, products, or services are complementary or carefully planned as to not negatively impact your core business.
3. Balancing Cash Flow Plans
The PNAS study brought to light the “financial fragility” of small businesses. According to the study, “the median business with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses had only about 2 weeks of cash on hand” and “three-quarters of respondents only had enough cash on hand to last 2 months or less”.
Your cash flow plan should strike a healthy balance between reinvesting in the business and having an emergency fund – in cash or assets that can be quickly converted to cash – in case of future disruption. Though it may be unrealistic to have the recommended 6 months to a year of expenses in savings, you need to be mindful of providing a safety net for your business while you focus on learning to adapt should the need arise.
4. Direct Line of Contact to Customers
Regardless of what type of business disruption or changes you may face, having a way to quickly and effectively reach a majority of your existing and potential clients is vital. Ensure you have social media, email lists, or phone numbers to keep current and potential clients aware of any business disruptions, changes in schedule or procedures, or new product lines/services. Especially when circumstances impacting your business also impact your customers, having a way to communicate with customers is a way to reach out to them and remind them that you are there. It allows you to show concern, support, and provide a method of communication that keeps the relationship with clients active and your brand top of mind.
Nearly everyone has developed some level of fatigue about hearing about the pandemic. Unfortunately, its impacts are far-reaching and should not be ignored. Instead, businesses should be looking at how to overcome current challenges and proactively set themselves up to handle any type of disruption in the future.
If you’re unsure of the best ways to incorporate mandated changes as well as your business’s response to the pandemic into your business plan, or need help adapting your current business to succeed in current times, our business plan writers and advisors are well-versed in the new business and economic climate and are ready to help.