Published On: April 23, 2020Categories: Expert Tips

7 Steps To Business Planning During Challenging Times

When COVID-19 hit, it basically obliterated all of our plans for 2020. We have a feeling you’re in the same boat with your business planning, too.

With the emergence of a global crisis, it’s time to rethink your strategy. While you probably already have some kind of strategy, it’s time to make a modified business plan, fam. Because you’re charting toward an unclear destination, it’s time to adjust.

Oh, and changing your tactics isn’t the best idea, either. For example, posting more on social media isn’t going to magically disappear your revenue problems.

Kroma.ai’s strategy experts put their heads together and found 7 crazy-important components for business planning. Rethink your strategy and adjust your biz. Follow these 7 steps to see how to create a business plan when the world is on fire.

#1: Re-map your performers

Chaos means your performance is going to wax and wane with the whims of the pandemic. During a downturn, your core performers are going to shift. Your laggards might become your stars (and vice versa). The world’s topsy-turvy, but you’ve got to go with a modified business plan for now.

That means giving yourself a new bell curve by:

  1. Maping your old distribution curve to use as a control
  2. Then, mapping your current distribution curve
  3. Identifying how you can best utilize your performers

Of course, everything is tumultuous right now. It might be best to wait things out before permanently changing your performers.

Still, it’s important to see how employees react to tough situations. And remember, you don’t want to be an organization with only laggards and stars—even in weird times you should have a normal distribution curve that includes core performers.

#2: Remember you need 20/20 vision

Uncertainty and anxiety make your business disorganized. Employees are trying to adjust to the new normal while working, which probably has mixed results. It’s normal for your team to lose sight of your vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures.

As a leader, it’s your job to remind people that outcomes matter right now. Does it truly matter if the process for reviewing data changed because you’re working remotely?

Eh, not really. As long as it gets done.

Every company is measured on its outcomes right now; adjust your business planning accordingly.

That means you should:

  1. Keep sight of your vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures
  2. Remind your team of the significance of each of the elements
  3. Manage your team accordingly

Whether you’ve got to sing kumbaya around a fire or give the team a good pep talk, keep everyone’s eyes on the prize.

#3: Be proactive

Reactivity is so 2019. Approach your business planning with a proactive perspective on customer needs. invest heavily in customer satisfaction and customer success to fill in any gaps before they happen. That means:

  • Anticipating customers’ needs.
  • Celebrating (and sharing!) customer successes.
  • Investing heavily in customer retention and delight.
  • Adopting a servant leadership mindset to protect customers and deliver on their needs in these chaotic times

#4: Segment your customers using the pyramid framework

Are you investing the same amount of time on every customer?

Honestly, you shouldn’t.

Our experts say that you should understand your customers. Who are they? How do you manage them?

Rethink where customers stand using a tiered pyramid framework. Your goal is to understand who you are losing, gaining, and the impact on the business from these gains and losses.

#5: Be flexible

Your employees likely feel a lot of insecurity right now. Who doesn’t?

You don’t want them looking for new roles; that’s why it’s so important for leaders like you to cut employees some generous slack.

If you don’t have flexible remote work policies, add them to your business planning right now. Don’t force employees to come back to the office as a pandemic clears up; continue that flexibility. A dose of understanding will go a long way to helping your employees feel valuable and empowered.

#6: Switch up your business investments

What’s important for your business during an economic downturn?

Where are you investing a lot of time and money? Does that still make sense right now? Re-evaluate your portfolio and assets from the lens of customer, business management, and investments in mind.

Don’t be afraid to go forward with a modified business plan. Change if the name of the game these days, and agile companies will survive.

#7: Leverage instead of delegate

Nobody has the time for micromanaging these days. And we argue that delegation is a waste of time, too. Take things a step further with leveraging instead.

But why do we hate delegation, anyway? It comes down to:

  • Managers give employees access to disparate tasks that don’t require a ton of synthesis. Translation: the hard work is still on the manager’s plate.
  • Delegation focuses too much on execution and individual contributions instead of a strategy as a whole. Think of this as focusing too much on the thread and not enough on the tapestry.
  • Employees have zero connection to the mission or vision and instead are treated like robots.

If delegation is the Evil Twin, leveraging is the Good Twin because:

  • The manager provides “north star” and the larger mission to the team.
  • The manager aligns the team around shared successes and outcomes.
  • Information is shared, a high degree of transparency and shared understanding exists, and shared responsibility and team accountability exists, too.
  • Managers inspire and lead instead of babysit or nag.

In a normal business setting, delegation creates too much overlap and creates a sense of distrust with your employees. Now it does all of that, plus creates extra work that you need to be allocating toward running your business in an economic downturn. Take some time to redirect your managers and your efforts toward leverage and get rid of delegation.

The bottom line

Well, this probably isn’t how you thought the year would go. The pandemic means business planning is forever changed in so many industries. A crisis of this magnitude means it’s time to re-evaluate your business strategy. Whether you’re the CEO of your business or a leading manager, this 7-step framework will help you shape the future of your business. We promise it’s a bright one.

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