There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an unconventional year for business owners. The pandemic and a tense election have doubled up to create an atmosphere that has most people secluded in their homes, attending as few events as possible.
If events used to be part of your organization’s bread and butter, don’t let the deflated 2020 event season go to waste. Instead, here are a few suggestions for ways that you can use the current downtime that would have gone into event planning as an opportunity to future-proof your business.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
Countless companies were caught flat-footed when the coronavirus shuttered businesses across the globe for months on end. Regardless of the current state of their businesses at the time, very few business owners were prepared to weather a disaster of this nature.
While nothing can be done by complaining about the unpreparedness of the past, entrepreneurs can use these lessons to equip their companies with a business continuity plan for the future.
Most business continuity plans begin by analyzing your business to identify functions, processes, and activities that are time-sensitive or can be significantly disrupted by an unexpected disaster. This can include everything from a shaky supply chain to incapacity planning if an employee falls ill.
Once you’ve identified these potential weak links in your operational procedures, you can plot out the necessary steps to keep things running smoothly in the event of various potential challenges and catastrophes. Ideally, your plan should be backed up by an official continuity team within your organization who can ensure that the plan remains up to date and that everyone is well aware of what they must do in the event of an emergency.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
A business continuity plan is an excellent reactive measure to have ready to go in the event of an emergency. It enables you to put your best foot forward if and when a disaster takes place.
However, you don’t have to stop there. You can take your future-proofing efforts in a proactive direction as well by embracing a growth mindset for your company. A growth mindset focuses on a continual increase in and development of abilities, talents, and intelligence over time. It embraces concepts like curiosity, innovation, continuous learning, and discipline.
These focal points encourage your entire staff to always be striving to improve on both an individual and company-wide level. A growth mindset is instrumental in adapting, adjusting, and remaining flexible as an organization — especially during an economic setback or disaster.
Cultivate the Right Company Culture
Healthy company culture is an essential aspect of future-proofing a business. It knits the members of your organization together and helps them remain interested and invested in their work. When asked, 54% of employees claimed that they had stayed at a job “longer than their best interest” specifically because of a strong sense of belonging and community.
Building an attractive company culture can help to attract and retain quality talent — a critical element to surviving during a crisis or an economic downturn. As you consider future challenges, focus your company culture on things like transparency, teamwork, a growth mindset, employee empowerment, and remote work capabilities.
Additionally, use your recruitment efforts to hire individuals who work well within your culture. Look for highly qualified candidates who don’t just meet a current need but can also grow with your company
Having a well-cultivated culture with clear values in place can not just increase things like employee happiness and productivity. It can also help you create a clearly defined decision-making model for your organization as you’re faced with important decisions in the future.
Focus on E-Commerce and Online Marketing
One of the most obvious ways that you can prepare your organization for future disasters is by steering into the online world. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the online marketplace has not just helped but saved countless small, medium, and large businesses.
One of the wisest ways to prepare for the future is by building an e-commerce website and utilizing online marketing tools like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media.
Enable Remote Work Wherever Possible
The concept of doing business wherever you can was still novel in early 2020. Six months into the pandemic it had become the new normal.
Instead of treating work from home and remote work, in general, as a means to an end, look for ways to integrate WFH and remote work capabilities right into your long-term organizational plans. Any and every employee who can perform their assigned tasks well regardless of geographic location should be given the option to work remotely. That way, you’ll be ready to shift to a fully remote-work model whenever necessary.
Using the Now to Prepare for the Future
Rather than treating 2020 as a failed year with countless lost opportunities, look at it as a chance to reset your organizational operations. From continuity plans to e-commerce, remote work to company culture, there are many effective ways that you can prepare your business in the here and now for whatever the future may hold.