The year 2020 proved that anything, even the unexpected can happen. (And that the movies are wrong – the whole virus-zombie-apocalypse-action-film we all expected is more a stay-at-home-and-have-enough-toilet-paper situation).
The pandemic affected every individual’s lives in some way or another. It took a significant toll on the economy and businesses worldwide.
And in order to thrive in this more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, leading and small business alike companies must embrace agile planning techniques and a change in planning strategies in order to evolve with the times.
Here are some of the key trends that will be essential to furture proofing your online business in the Covid & post- Covid era:
Adding Agility to your Planning
Agile – to plan projects in shorter durations and handle changes quickly and efficiently.
Instead of working independently, agility highlights the importance of relying on team dynamics. The term caught on in many business areas because it promoted flexibility and collaboration in a fast-moving and progressive marketplace.
Teams can readjust their plans and messages based on the response of their campaign and launch performance, and leaving room for alterations providing that your planning structure base is solid has proven highly valuable.
Adding in 90 day look-aheads and refocus sessions
It is still essential to make plans for your business in the short-medium term with anticipation for the longer-term impact.
A periodic 90-day business overview coupled with the prioritization of different activities within your company, and alignment across the various projects ongoing (website re-launch, product launch, team members growth) can support your growth by making sure that all priorities are understood, mapped out in a time-lined format and linked to the overall strategic direction of the business.
Follow this with regular monthly reviews to better understand what these priorities mean for the on-the-ground task management to ensure that each project is managed at the micro level.
Creating an Agile business culture
This is something we are not new to as small online business owners. Agility, culture, and systems are our middle names (shortly followed by Tiktok, content repurposing, and systems). By combining these 3 elements, creating an agile and functional business structure and culture is going to be key to the success and growth of your online business in 2021.
Even the way in which we work within remote team structures has been impacted significatantly already. An August 2020 article by Mckinsey & Co used the example of New Zealand based company SPARK, and they switch to an agil working environment in just under 1 year. They focused on a FROM- TO structure which aimed at moving and changing their employees focus from the traditional hierarchical structure we have often seen within larger companies, to a more empowered workforce focused on the quality of delivery, and overall team success.
Creating a business culture focused on transparency will also be a key trend for this year. Tech and communication platforms such as Slack have already demonstrated the importance of open working conversations between teams. Its’ #channel approach removed the need for Direct Messaging (DMing- if you’re down with the kids), and ensured that all team members can collaborate effectively within the same communication space.
We can and should mirror this approach to our working structures in our online businesses. Empowering our teams and arming them with solid systems and supporting structures to enable them to own their work with confidence and quality will not only breed a better working culture but relieve you, as the CEO from that stressful oversight.
The New Normal and Beyond
2020 and 2021 have shaped the way our economies and governments are structured at the macro level, as well as how we live, and how our businesses are run at the micro-level.
Despite the hardships and troubles experienced worldwide, the outcomes and experiences we can draw from COVID, I believe, will leave us living in a world more open to remote working, more agile its planning approach, and more mindful of the importance of creating systems and structures in business that empower employees to focus on the quality of delivery and customer experience.
Want to know more about how I can create systems and structures in your business to enable this empowered approach to your online business? I offer consultancy services allowing me to audit, advise and implement key systems within your online business that streamline your operations and have you working at optimal efficiency.