It feels like eons ago that we first got the news about COVID and how the city of Atlanta was coping. No one expected a global pandemic at the beginning of 2020.
Small businesses and freelancers certainly didn’t include a lockdown on their calendars. Followed by years of long-term unpreditability.
We can’t plan for every scenario or predict disasters. Alkaloid kept the doors open to support our community. And bulk of our members managed to get through the unpredictable nature of the past three years too. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to support your business and its success in the coming year.
Here’s how to plot out the year ahead, even when you know things won’t always be smooth sailing.
Plan for an Unpredictable Future
No one has a crystal ball to see what the year ahead will bring, and the same goes for businesses in Atlanta. When we put together strategies or marketing plans, all management has to do a little bit of guesswork.
“Usually, business plans are full of assumptions,” says Claudia Wasko for Forbes. But that doesn’t mean your year ahead will be filled with uncertainty. You can use the last few years to give you insight to impact your plans for the upcoming months.
And there are a few other factors you’ll want to consider when you make plans: trends in your customer base, changes in your local community, and your competition are all subject to change. “Assumptions need to be checked against benchmarks from the same industry, a similar industry or some other acceptable standard,” says Claudia.
Plan for Time Off and Inevitable Delays
It’s guaranteed that there will always be surprises and delays in business. “Be flexible. As we have seen in 2020, the environment changes, and you must, too.” says Eric Kaufman for Forbes.
It’s important to include time for breaks, and to allow for delays in production in your strategic planning. Rigid processes and deadlines can lead to big headaches for business owners trying to stay on track, so remember: you’re not a machine. “A business plan is your guideline or a definitive articulation of your vision and the strategy to achieve your goals. But it’s not written in stone,” says Eric.
Things can be volatile at times in business, because we’re human. Make sure your organization has flexibility for sick days, vacation time, and allows a buffer in the timelines you build out with your team. Allowing a little bit of breathing room for unforeseen events will help to prevent breakdowns and avoid burnout.
Plan for Business Brand Building
Future success comes from intentionally building a business—and your brand. “Failing to determine your brand identity and brand standard is a grave mistake,” says Karolina Hobson for Forbes. “Entrepreneurs should know and define what their identity is, who they are, what they stand for and what the purpose or mission is!”
The beginning of the year is a great time to revisit WHY you started your business. Maybe take a weekend to revisit your business’ mission and vision statements. Knowing and understanding your purpose can help to give you and your team more focus.
The key is having a business strategy and realistic goals, along with an idea of the resources you’ll need to meet those goals. This helps to give you more of a roadmap toward success.
NOTE: pause throughout the year to do a checkup on things! Revisit your mission and vision statements, along with any quarterly, monthly, or weekly goals you might be tracking.
Supporting Atlanta’s Small Business Community
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a few trends in Georgia’s business economy. “As Georgia heads into the New Year, the state is venturing into some economic uncertainty.” Gas and home prices have fluctuated over the last year, and employers everywhere still struggle with hiring.
Here at Alkaloid, we continue to be optimistic. Being able to connect with other small business owners and entrepreneurs has helped us maintain our positive outlook on the year ahead.