Last year was pretty world-changing. Lockdowns, the pandemic, a drop in demand for physical stores, and shifts all across the financial sector have charted an unfamiliar path ahead of us.
However, these changes bring about great opportunities for 2021. If you analyze your successes and failures well, and tie them into market trends, you can expect a lot of success from the coming year. What you’re reading now is my take on setting a course for your company in 2021.
Start your plan with data
Before actually writing goals and objectives for your company in 2021, you should take stock of your company’s 2020 – how well it did, why, and where there’s room for improvement. Setting a course for your company in 2021 has to start with a good retrospective.
How do you go about it?
First, settle on some key metrics you want to analyze. These can include:
- Areas where your products did well
- The type of customer that spent the most amount of money on your products
- Time frames in which you did well
- The type of content that generated the most traffic for you
And a ton of other metrics or data points that can help you pinpoint what you did well, and what you did wrong in the past year. These can be as general as the ones I mentioned above, and as specific as “what time of day generated the most sales with instagram posts”. I can’t tell you exactly what you need to look for – that’s up to you to figure out. But I can guarantee you that a thorough analysis of your past performance will net you valuable insights about your business.
You can use tools like Google Analytics, the Search Console, Buffer, or even a simple spreadsheet to collect and analyze this data. Whatever you use, once you have the data sets you’re looking for, make decisions based on that.
For example, if a specific product of yours sold better during summer, prepare a special summer campaign to take advantage of that. If a specific demographic seemed to respond best to your social media posts, write content with that audience in mind.
Similarly, if one product didn’t seem to catch onto online audiences, stop spending money on Google Ads for it. These are just examples, but I hope they illustrate the point I’m trying to make: when drafting a course and a strategy for 2021, double down on your strong points, and find workarounds your weak spots.
Embrace The Digital Shift
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do business. Honestly, it changed the way our society works. While vaccination is already ongoing all across the globe, that doesn’t mean our lives will go back to normal any time soon. Even if they do, the possibilities of remote work and online shopping have broadened, and more people than ever before will choose to set-up shop online, whether they’re a contractor, a handyman or shipping products.
That’s a real shift towards the digital world, and it’s one we should all embrace. Try to find ways in which your company can adapt to this reality, like:
- Offering remote positions, or the possibility for employees to work remotely
- Increasing your investment in digital marketing
- Focusing more on your website (particularly important for retail businesses)
- Enhancing the digital experience of your customers
These are all general, and it will depend on a case by case basis. For example, a tailor-made suit store might be able to shift to the online world completely, while a plumber won’t, by definition, be able to do more than use an online scheduling app. Again, the way you do this depends a lot on how your business operates, but the bottom line is clear: more people choose to do more online. And you should be ready for that.
Understand Your Market Trends
While there’s a clear shift towards the digital spectrum for all markets, your niche is bound to have its own particularities.
Study them. Follow thought leaders in your market, read the studies done in your niche, and even pay a surveying company to do the research on your behalf, if your customer base is large enough. Whatever you do, it’s important to understand how your specific market is changing throughout 2021.
For example, ecommerce will see a massive rise in personalization and tailor-made experiences on each online store. By contrast, if you run an HR company you might need to focus more on standardization, in preparation for a larger number of people looking for remote jobs.
Not to mention – if you work in tourism, all bets are off the table, and you’d actually need to study governmental changes, to see vaccination progress and when borders might open for specific countries.
There’s a lot to study, and as much as I’d like it, I can’t just say “these are the trends for your niche”. You’ll have to find that out yourself.
Draft A Comprehensive Strategy For Your Company.
Using all the information accumulated with the steps outlined above, it’s time to set a course for your company. You should take everything you researched into account, and outline what each department should do accordingly.
For example, if you run an ecommerce store, your product and web development teams should work together to find ways to personalize user experience. Meanwhile, your marketing team should draft a content strategy and media plan according to what did best in previous years.
Setting a course for your company in 2021 is an interdisciplinary effort. If you’re a one-man team, it’ll take some work to do it right, but if you have the luxury of a dedicated team, it’s important to involve them as well.
In the end, this strategy should encompass all the insights you’ve gathered, separated based on the people in charge of implementing changes according to those insights.
Setting a course for your company in 2021 won’t be a one-day task. If you want this plan to actually help you, and lead you to a better place a year from now, it should be based on accurate data from the past, informed guesses about your market’s future, and a good plan for our world’s shift to the digital world.
Do you agree?
What else do you think it’s important to keep in mind when setting a course for your company?
I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section!