Building Your 2021 Map
There was a major milestone this week in our country’s battle against the COVID pandemic as the advisors for the FDA formally recommended the approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Now is the time for your organization to make sure that they are putting the plans and strategies in place to capitalize on the new-normal once this vaccine is widely available. Over the past year, consumer preferences have been forced to change to account for governmental restrictions and other precautions to combat the further spread of this disease. With a widely available vaccine now on the horizon, it is absolutely paramount that your organization is ready to capitalize accordingly.
More information will be available in the months ahead as the timelines of this vaccine distribution become known, but there are several steps that you can start to take now to make sure that your organization is ready to nimbly move and emerge stronger than ever. Here are the 6 tips that we recommend as a place to start:
1. Re-evaluate Existing Goals and Priorities
The challenges of 2020 have thrown a wrench into the plans that most businesses were looking to accomplish over the past year. While that may mean that many were not achieved, it does not mean that the initial goals were ones that should not remain a target to accomplish moving forward. When we start working with a client on strategic planning, one of the first conversations that we have is around analyzing the existing goals and priorities present within the organization. As you navigate through the post-COVID planning, that is the first step that you should look at as well. The key in this step is to make sure that the goals in place align with today’s realities and still make sense with the other initiatives that you identify and want to tackle.
2. Assess Existing Internal Resource Availability
Once you have a sense of the goals that you are looking to achieve, the next piece here is to make sure that you have the resources necessary to tackle them. One of the most common issues that we help our clients overcome is the problem of not having enough resources available to successfully achieve their desired outcomes. Overreaching and attempting to do more than what your resources allow is a definite trap to avoid. During this step, you are going to want to make sure that you complete a comprehensive analysis of the resources available within the organization (and whether you need a third party for assistance). This analysis should factor in not only your financial resources, but also the bandwidth of your team.
3. Analyze Target Customer Preferences
After you have ensured that you have the appropriate level of resources available to achieve your goals, the next step is to make sure that you are considering the preferences of your target customers in your plans to achieve your goals. Coming out of COVID, this is something that is probably going to take a little longer than in past years as for most organizations, these consumer preferences have changed. Knowing how your consumers like to communicate, what they are looking for, and what objections need to be overcome is crucial to ultimately achieving what you sought out to do. For example, we recently worked with a client in the medical industry that tailored part of their communications to their target audience on the COVID cleaning protocols that they were deploying. This successfully articulated to their patients how it was safe to receive the treatment they needed and provided them with the information to overcome the objection of it being “unsafe”.
4. Establish a Budget
The next step in the process is to make sure that you have set a budget for your efforts to achieve the goals that you defined. Knowing what you are going to spend allows for you to ensure that you are not only avoiding a situation where you overreach financially, but will also be a data point that allows for you to calculate your return. When measuring different efforts that your team is conducting, it is important to understand what the financial risks are associated with each and which are providing the best returns from an investment standpoint. The ones that are performing best are the ones that you are going to want to double down on.
5. Define Success
One of the biggest areas that we help our clients during projects is by ensuring that they have a strong definition of what success looks like for their efforts. This definition will change dramatically from client to client and project to project, but the key is making sure that there is a target of what winning looks like. If you are starting a project with the goal of driving more sales or revenue, these are the metrics that you need to focus on when determining whether the outcome is ultimately successful. By no means are these the only data points that you should focus on- its important to measure what could be providing a barrier to your success- but ultimately your organization needs to focus on completing the projects that are proven to drive the results that you want.
6. Create a Strategy to Pivot
The last tip that we feel is important for navigating the post-COVID landscape is embracing and planning ahead for the inevitable need of change. No strategy is going to be perfect from the outset and the initial efforts you complete to drive towards your goals will provide insight that you can use to optimize your upcoming efforts. One of the most important parts to remember here is that you need to keep your organization nimble enough to pivot and capitalize on the initial lessons. Measuring and evaluating the work that you do will allow you to learn more about what is best going to drive your target customers to complete the actions that you desire. Just like in a game of football, the offense needs to make adjustments over the course of the game to ensure that they are the winning team at the end.
At the end of the day, it is also important to remember that you don’t need to throw away the lessons that you have learned historically while working with your organization. Embracing the changing environment is crucial, but many of your historical lessons learned will still be applicable. The approach that we have found works best is to factor in the historical precedent, but make sure not to get too locked into it. Knowing when to embrace change and optimize how things have been done in the past is a key differentiator from market leaders and those struggling to break through. Many companies like Blockbuster have shown us what happens when you don’t embrace change so make sure that you are using the opportunity coming out of COVID to ensure that your organization is on the right track and positioned to move forward for years to come.
Not sure what the best way is to do this at your organization? We are here to help. Oak Street is having a 20% off special for all new projects through the end of the year, so reach out today for your free consultation. Together we can make 2021 the best year yet!