2020 will go down in the history books for all the wrong reasons. The Coronavirus Pandemic threw the world into the unknown and it occupied the headlines and influenced our actions every step of the way. Having left 2020 behind and said a firm good riddance to the year that wasn’t, UK businesses must now look forward to 2021 and plan how to make this year their ultimate fight back.
2021 has kicked off with the all too familiar challenge of Coronavirus and Lockdown 3.0 as well as the added complication of Brexit finally becoming a reality after four and a half years. 2021 won’t be easy and there is much speculation as to the impact of these events on our economy and on how businesses will fare.
The team here at Pulse Cashflow believe that UK Businesses need to focus on their own business and what they can control in order to make their business ready to tackle 2021. We have developed a list of business priorities to give business every chance in 2021.
Reset your position
It’s a good time to reset your ambition – what are you trying to achieve and where are you on that journey. Make sure your targets are realistic but ambitious at the same time – you’re coming off the back of a tough year but now is the time to motivate your team and move forward.
Ensure you have the resources you need to achieve your targets?
Make sure you have a plan for how you are going to achieve it. Do you need extra resources – people, new skills, funding or vital equipment. How will you access these resources? Research solutions and prioritise how you intend to introduce them into your firm.
Focus on adaptability and innovation.
We have all seen or heard the amazing stories of how businesses adapted what they did and innovated to continue servicing their customers and give their business the best chance during 2020. We will all have adapted and innovated to some degree. Success will come to those businesses who learn the lesson that businesses can’t stand still and must continue to adapt to survive. Keeping your customer, at the forefront of everything they do will help you achieve this.
Manage your finances carefully
Many businesses have taken advantage of CBILS and Bounce Back Loans alongside their existing funding facilities to keep their businesses afloat during 2020. The 12-month interest free period will start to end from March onwards meaning that if you have used the money in your business, you will now need to plan your repayment strategy now. Review your existing sources and investigate alternative sources of finance to support your cashflow so that your business is best equipped to make the most of opportunities as they arise.
Be aware of the risks
Don’t let unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances destroy all that you’ve built. Its important not just to look at the opportunities, but also to review the risks to your business. Are you meeting all your contractural obligations. Are your customers able to pay you? Are you covered should the worst happen?
Investing in technology
We have seen the importance technology has played in 2020 to aid sales, income and communication. Continual investment in technology should now be a constant to ensure your business can continue adapting and innovating to meet customer and market developments.
Both Covid and Brexit has perhaps focussed our thoughts on supporting local businesses. We have all become more acutely aware of the importance of local suppliers who have supported our needs through difficult times. As the economy picks up, lets maintain that focus on supporting local businesses and encouraging an increase in doing business with each other.
Step up your marketing
I saw some truly innovative marketing strategies when we were knee-deep in the pandemic. Companies started getting more personal on Instagram. They partnered with other businesses to provide more services to a wider audience. They went out of their comfort zones (because where else was there to go?) and had some surprising results.
So let's keep that going. Shake up what you've been doing, because it probably doesn't work anymore. Invest time and money into channels you've never considered. Talk to people you consider competitors; they could actually be a great source of referrals of new business to you. Keep an open mind about how you attract customers and how you nurture those relationships.
Restoring a healthy work life balance
Juggling our changed lives has been stressful for all. The furlough scheme enabled many businesses to secure their futures but has also stretched many employees attempting to cover the load. Business owners must work to restore a healthier balance of load within their business whilst focussing on supporting employees in maintaining a healthy work life balance.
Here’s to a better year!