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Post-COVID Business Recovery Guide: Part 2

How to create a robust business strategy for 2021

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected! How can you create a solid business plan for your home improvement business in a climate of uncertainty? Your business strategy lays out your vision, your goals and an action plan to achieve them. We’ve got some helpful tips for you below.

  1. Assess the damage

Businesses spent much of 2020 reactively navigating new restrictions, new working practices, new operating models and staffing issues (due to working from home, furlough, self-isolation, childcare problems, or illness).

In survival mode, business leaders have little choice but to think on their feet. The new year is an ideal time to evaluate your business. Consider your financial position, as well as your brand, your reputation, your market and your morale. It’s crucial to take a holistic approach as each aspect is intertwined. 

Before you can plan for 2021, you need to assess your current position.   

  1. SWOT up!

Do a SWOT analysis. Identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. COVID-19 may have exposed a few already.

  • Strengths – consider the things your business does well. Use these core competencies to your advantage.
  • Weaknesses – identify areas for improvement. These could be processes, marketing, customer journey, etc.
  • Opportunities – what new areas could you explore? Consider new partnerships, products, technologies etc.
  • Threats – what external factors could negatively affect your business? These could be competitors, tier restrictions, or market conditions, for example?

How to conduct a SWOT analysis:

  • Invite a cross-section of employees to contribute, to get a better view of your company’s performance.
  • Each write your ideas on post-it notes / digital whiteboards to avoid group-think.
  • Bring the ideas together and group similar points into each of the four categories. 

Use the SWOT analysis to inform your strategy.

  1. Lean Methodologies 

Originally devised for manufacturing, Lean principles have been appropriated for businesses across all sectors as a way of reducing operational inefficiencies.

The five core Lean principles are:

Define value. 

What do your customers want? How much are they willing to pay for it? This is your value. Do your research: use surveys, analytics, interviews and data to learn as much as you can about your customers. 

Map the value stream.

Map all the processes involved in delivering that value to the end customer. Divide these into necessary and unnecessary. Scrap anything unnecessary – this is waste. 

Create flow. 

Get the necessary processes to flow smoothly so you can deliver value to the customer promptly. 

Establish pull. 

Pull is all about ensuring you have ‘just enough’ to deliver your flow, for example, just enough stock to fulfil orders without holding too much inventory. 

Pursue perfection. 

Repeat steps 1-4 ad infinitum. Nurture a workplace culture that encourages continuous development, innovation and creative thinking. 

Apply Lean principles to deliver better value for your customers and reduce inefficiencies. 

  1. Goals

Goal-setting is one of the most fundamental parts of your business plan. Formalise your goals. These could be a percentage increase in growth, improved customer service, sustainability, new target demographics, and so on. 

What do you want to achieve and when? How will you measure your progress?

Goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Set SMART goals. Measure your progress. Revisit your plan.