woman working from home

Business planning for the new normal

Whilst I get what ‘business planning for the new normal’ means in theory, the reality is, there will be no normal.  There will definitely be a change to what used to be. As business leaders, we will need to have a greater readiness to respond to unexpected changes and a resilience and comfort with change that we didn’t have before.

When businesses, restaurants, bars, gyms and borders open; things will not be as they were. We need to have our business ready for this next phase with processes built on responsiveness and flexibility being a key part of long term growth and success.

Most of us know this at some level. However, have you actually designed the reality of what this means for you and your business? How will your business transformation? Do you have a business plan for your new normal?

Reality Check your business

If you haven’t already, you need to understand your business as it is currently….not pre COVID, not pre pre COVID, but as it is right now – no biases, no filters and no rose coloured glasses. If you do not understand the reality of your business for what it is, you cannot make well informed decisions. You will miss opportunities, unnecessary costs and process and off brand activity. You will be building a somewhat naive plan, which is not the ideal way to be confidently moving your business forward.

Here are some great questions to get started:

  • What are your numbers – your sales or revenue, your expenses and your profit/loss?
  • How does this compare with this time last year and the year before?
  • Where is your revenue coming from? What is the breakdown?
  • What is your vision (or big goal) for your business and are you on track to make it?
  • What is working well?
  • What is not working well?
  • Do you have a clear point of difference that you are known for?
  • Do you know who your customer is and what is important to them?
  • Are your competitors doing a better job than you in certain areas?
  • Are you out-performing them in others?
  • How would you describe the culture of your business?
  • What have you learnt this year?

These questions and a number of others will give you the cold hard facts – the reality of what is currently working, or not in your business.


The uncertainty of change

Whilst we don’t know what is next and many aspects will be beyond our control, we have some definite insights and questions to ask as part of planning for the next phase:

Our customer, Offer and Point of Difference

  • We need to be 100% clear on our customer, our offer and what we stand for….if not, our communication, our messaging and the way we operate will be ‘beige’ and wishy washy.
  • The way our customers and client’s shop, look for services and interact with us has changed. Customer’s can now research, access reviews, receive product knowledge and instruction and be enticed by a myriad of marketing messages and offers without leaving the couch. And as we have seen recently, the incidence of this being the reality has drastically increased.
    • As customer’s become more demanding and businesses more specialised, clarity on these questions and understanding what this means for every part of the business, is more important than it has ever been.

Our people

  • We have all (us and our teams) found a new way of working and there are many aspects that we will want to maintain. A hybrid office/work from home model will be the expectation of many. We have found more time in our days and seen the benefits of flexibility and control of our time. And yes, we like that we don’t have to get dressed head to toe every day.
  • According to McKinsey research 80% of people questioned report that they enjoy working from home. 41% say that they are more productive than they had been before and 28% that they are as productive. Many employees liberated from long commutes and travel have found more productive ways to spend that time, enjoyed greater flexibility in balancing their personal and professional lives, and decided that they prefer to work from home rather than the office. Many organizations think they can access new pools of talent with fewer locational constraints, adopt innovative processes to boost productivity, create an even stronger culture, and significantly reduce real-estate costs.
  • Check out the full article here
    • Have you thought through what working in your business might look like for your people? How will you recognise the change in the way people expect to work?

Our responsiveness

  • We need to build a dynamic, change ready business that can respond to change as needed, without losing sight of the big picture.
    • Do you have a clear vision? Do your current business processes allow for regular review and adjustment to strategy?

New experiences, disciplines & habits

What are the positive experiences & lessons (that may have been frustrating and painful at times), that you want to continue?

  • Greater self-reflection and awareness.
  • Greater awareness of mental health in yourself and others.
  • New forms of exercise and/or movement.
  • A new hobby.
  • A new family ritual or activities done together.
  • An appreciation for community – your local community, your work community, your gym community, your friendships – and a new way to interact and support your communities.

Defining your next phase

Gaining some clarity on these thought starters will kick start the creation of your business transformation plan. You now have some insight on:

  • The reality of how your business is performing right now,
  • Your customer
  • Your brand,
  • The expectations people now have around ‘going to work’
  • The positive outlooks, habits and experiences from lockdown that you want to maintain in the next iteration of your business.

Great basis for your no BS business plan

Whilst the above is not your plan, it is a powerful framework for you to jump straight into creating one. You do not need to create war & peace or a long winded, data heavy document. You need a no BS, prioritised way forward complete with an implementation plan and supporting responsive business process. A great plan will provide you with a cut to the chase set of priority actions that will define your new norm and inspire your team about the future of your business and its long-term success.

Want to know more?

‘Demystifying the Road to Change’, my soon to be released book, is your step-by-step guide to creating a one-page plan, implementing that plan and setting your business up for long term success.

You may be thinking, ‘I’ve done planning before and nothing changes.’ ‘Demystifying the Road to Change’ will bust the cynicism around planning and show you a new way – you’ll discover:

  • Why your past attempts to reboot your business slide to a halt.
  • How to power through the roadblocks and keep moving ahead.
  • What to do, when to do it, and how to execute every stage to achieve your business dreams.
  • How to create a dynamic culture that people want to be a part of.
  • A step-by-step pathway, complete with templates and checklists to take you and your leadership team through a collaborative process
  • How to set your business up for long-term growth.

Demystifying Change is all about setting your business up for the future, making your dreams a reality. No BS.