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“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

– Alan Kay

It’s difficult for most businesses right now to create marketing plans or strategize for next year, since 2020 has been a year of uncertainty for many.

Instead of focusing on a single strategy, business decision makers need to adapt and try to prepare for the unexpected. With the economy under the new normal, year 2021 would be a dynamic year for many businesses that demands flexibility and agility that lead to iterative improvements.

So what should you do if your business faces an uncertain future? In this article we will help you prepare for an uncertain year ahead.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is a technique to assess the four aspects of your business: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

How can your business compete or at least survive during uncertain times?

It is by knowing and utilizing existing resources your business has to your organization’s full advantage. And minimizing or eliminating possible dangers by determining the flaws or weak points in your business processes or product designs.

Make sure to share your plans and insights to your team and contractors so their actions are aligned with your business goals for every quarter next year.

Manage your Cash Flow

Negative cash flow is a problem, but it’s not something new nor unique to a business. Even before the pandemic, many businesses fold because of cash flow issues and given the current status of the economy, positive cash flow is one of the high-impact tasks that you should focus on for your business to thrive in the coming months.

Reducing costs, prioritizing cash generation and team empowerment are three principles that you want to adhere to in order for you to protect your cash flow.

Monitor Consumer Trends

What are the consumer trends impacting the buying behavior of your customers during the pandemic?

Asking the right questions during uncertain times will help your team understand the behavior and sentiments of your customers. And the answers to these questions, will lead your business to develop innovative solutions, shift to a different direction and adapt to what your customers really need during the crisis.

Make sure that you have the right analytical tools in place for your business to gain insights in real time if you have to. For example, Google Analytics is free for websites to install, but proper data handling and storytelling is essential to make the most out of it.

Competitor analysis and digital media market trends should also be monitored regularly.

Connect with Customers

Show your gratitude to your customers, specially the loyal ones. You don’t need to send them tangible gifts to show your appreciation, since the money you’ll spend for these might be better given to support an advocacy or those who really need it.

A simple personalized thank you note for your customers in helping your business to survive during these trying times can warm their hearts, and you can also ask their feedback on what they want to be improved in your business under the new normal.

Develop a Support System for your Team

Just like showing appreciation to your customers, you also have to convey your gratitude for your workers or team.

Do you also believe in the saying that employees are a company’s best asset?

Make sure to ask your employees for their feedback and adjust accordingly to make work/office (remote) rules more favorable to them under the new normal.

Accept Change and Uncertainty

You need to accept the fact that you might have to let go of some assets or pivot to meet the needs of the market.

If you have a business that relies on face-to-face interaction, will you adjust your business model? Is it still worth it to keep your brick and mortar shop considering that customers are keen on buying online nowadays?

Although difficult, leaders have to make important business decisions, which should be carried out without delay, but with caution and regard for the affected stakeholders.

Balance Fear and Courage

We know 2020 has not been a great year for many reasons, mainly because of the pandemic, and depending where you are, possibly political or social unrest combined with natural disasters. It just keeps coming. These unfavorable circumstances have had a strong impact on us physically, mentally and emotionally. You might have experienced feeling various emotions in a short span of time, which is perfectly valid.

The most important thing to do is to not blame yourself or get stuck in negativity that will not help your business move forward.

Treat everything that is happening as a challenge so you and your team are ready when the economy improves or gets worse (Who knows?) If plan A does not work, move to plan B or up to plan Z if you have to.

Remember, you are not alone and what is happening to your business is not unique – this is also happening to other businesses globally.

For the meantime, plan, maximize what you have and take calculated risks to confront a volatile future.

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