November 26

5-Steps To Taking Control Of Your Business In 2021

Adrian Brown

5-Steps To Taking Control Of Your Business In 2021

Taking back control of your 2021 means acknowledging, analysing and adapting to the changing world around you and your customers.

The proceedings of 2020 were unexpected, dare we say unpr******ted.

Month after month our lives and the survival or our businesses were held in the balance, the fallout of which has left the nation with an acute awareness that none of us are where we expected to be at the end of the year, personally or professionally.

Each sector has had to deal with their own unique set of issues and obstacles over the past year, having to adapt fast or be left in the dust.

As small business owners, it’s clear that while we have collectively weathered the tumultuous economic storm of 2020, we have not all had the same experience of the pandemic.

Some have enjoyed the quieter months, using the time to recuperate or start a new venture, others have found the past year incredibly challenging, or even lost their business entirely. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s how little control we’ve had over the events of 2020.

So, as we look towards the New Year with the hopeful return to a more predictable and certain way forward, it’s time to take back control and get ourselves ready for 2021.

Follow the five-step process below to maximise your opportunities, successfully plan your year and help your business thrive in 2021.

1. Take stock of your current reality

The first step in creating a successful plan for the future is to be honest about where you and your business are NOW – not where you want to be, or where you should’ve been if X didn’t happen, but where your business actually is, both as its own entity and in the wider context of society.

For many small businesses, this may mean reconnecting with their customers. Most people’s lives have changed a great deal over the course of last year so it’s important to understand how your customers have been affected and how you can adapt to serve them better.

Most of the time, when we get stuck in a rut or feel like we’ve lost control, we know that the last thing we want to do is the first thing we have to do.

It’s like the lead up to your return to the gym post-Christmas; you know it’s something you need to do even though you put it off for months but when you finally get back into it, you see results!

Be frank with yourself about what you need to stop doing, what you need to start doing and what you need to do more of.

Take back control by being honest with yourself and highlighting the things in your business that you know need to change.

2. Define your own success criteria

You can’t change everything at once so consider your priorities for the future of your business. What are the right moves for your business right now and how will they push you towards your goal?

However, defining your priorities might not be as simple as it seems. For example, it could mean putting aside things that generate immediate results but ultimately limit your success and prioritizing other projects that do the opposite.

Try asking yourself how each part of your business could be driving your business forward and look to see which are the most viable for improvement or change.

Defining your own success criteria will help you make those tough decisions.

A simple approach to creating your own success criteria is to ask yourself, ‘Does it feed my soul? Does it contribute to my idea of success?’.

3. Carefully consider future opportunities

As the world promises to return to some version of a predictable stable economy that we have confidence in, 2021 is bound to bring a plethora of new opportunities for small businesses – most of them unforeseen. So, how do you prepare for unknown opportunities?

It might be tempting to leap at the first sight of an opportunity to ‘bounce back’ but it’s important not to lose sight of your ultimate business goals or to get sucked into new deals that might not offer you the long-term benefits you think it could.

Think about how each potential opportunity could work in your favour, or not! Opportunities might include things like choosing to invest in something, adapting an aspect of your services or even making the decision to close your business.

Choice is a huge part of taking back control so use it wisely. Make informed decisions based off what success means to you.   

4. Apply your criteria

Once you have identified possible opportunities or avenues for change, it’s important to analyse which of these decisions is most likely to support your business journey in 2021.

Use your success criteria to help you identify how these opportunities could impact your business and which ones will be most successful in driving your business in the desired direction.

Your success criteria should also help you predict and define opportunities that you might not have considered previously – perhaps re-evaluating your goals for 2021 will help you realise you need to invest more in a certain project or to divert attention from one aspect of your business to another.

It’s important to be both realistic and rigourous when applying your success criteria to your potential opportunities so that you can better understand exactly what will support your business in 2021.

If you’re not realistic about the applicability of your success criteria then you could end up seizing opportunities which don’t actually support your business in the long run or potentially even harm your business.

5. Formulate a plan

Once you have identified sound and viable opportunities for your business that are in line with your business goals and success criteria, it’s time to formulate a plan for how to make them part of your 2021 reality.

Of course, the future always has an aspect of uncertainty so you need to ensure your plan is flexible and can change to suit the circumstances.

Taking back control of your 2021 means acknowledging, analysing and adapting to the changing world around you and your customers.

With your success criteria in hand and a plan for the future, you are back in control of your actions.

Take the first step and acknowledge where your business is right now and create a plan that allows you to map out opportunities that will drive your business towards your goals with greater confidence.


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