Recent government decisions and actions have unfortunately resulted in a new business landscape. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future and maybe even for your business.
Recent research by Irish recruitment firm Osborne Recruitment found that "Nearly two-thirds of business leaders here believe the fallout from Covid-19 will permanently change the way their firms operate….and that 55pc of them are very worried for the survival prospects of their companies post-crisis."
This means that in this ever changing world, where business models are being challenged, stretched or even made obsolete, a lot seems to be beyond your control and even setting goals for the future might appear unnecessary as we're not even sure what the future holds.
So the question that arises, can and should you be making plans and setting goals for your business? After all, many of your competitors may also be facing the same uncertainties, but does this mean that during Covid-19, they are not setting goals and planning for the future?
Doing nothing about the future is not an option, unless you believe that you have no future?
What should you do?
If you are a large company, you might try using a one-size fits all approach, an approach that is regularly advocated by the big management consultancies. By using their kit bag of cookie cutter strategies and plans, you might end up with the same templates used by your competitors and this might be a good solution.
If it works, then maybe both you and your competitors have just been lucky? But, what if it doesn't work? Well, because you have been copying your competitors, it will become increasingly more difficult to distinguish your business and stand out from them.
This applies to brands too. Writing in Eat Your Greens, Mark Barden reminds us that "….your brand can't be distinctive if it acts like all the rest"
What you really need is an approach that is the antidote to the one-size fits all solutions.
We believe that you can take control and set goals for the future of your business. Your goal for now, might be just about survival, but even survival depends on taking the right action. Right now survival could be about cash flow, it might also mean maintaining your existing business or for some of you, it might be about setting a goal for growth.
Whether it's cash flow, keeping what you have or growing, you need to set a goal. We call this goal, a 'continuity goal'.
So what is a continuity goal?
Think of it as the foundation of a building. It’s the foundation upon which you will build your business so that you to can withstand any storm that impacts the whole business environment but ensures that your business does not collapse.
This means that your continuity goal is unique to your particular business, industry and customers.
But why set a goal now, what's the point, because can any of us really know what the future holds? The answer is YES!
In his book Superforecasting, Philip Tetlock, quotes Bill Gates about why setting goals matter. "You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal…..This may seem basic, but it is amazing how often it is not done and hard it is to get right." Tetlock goes on to say that Bill Gates is "…right about what it takes to drive progress, and it is surprising how rarely it's done in forecasting. Even that simple first step - setting a clear goal - hasn't been taken"
In addition, creating positive expectations about reaching a goal increases effort as well as the chances of achieving the goal. Every time you and your people focus on the goal, this goal will activate the reality of the obstacles that need to be overcome and then you and your team will find the energy, ideas, resources and time to bring the business closer to that goal.
Imagine if you set a clear goal today, your continuity goal, what is it? Well it's a number and this number is your money target. So, ask yourself this question NOW, "HOW MUCH MONEY DO WE NEED TO EARN TO SURVIVE IN OUR PRESENT FORM"
What does "in our present form" mean? It means that this continuity goal has to enable you to pay all of your costs, including employee salaries, your rent, rates, suppliers, equipment leases and so on, even if this means reduced income, and reduced outgoings at any time, including times of crisis.
Once you decide what this amount of money is, it becomes your goal, and you can then plan how to earn it. Seems simple doesn't it? It probably even seems like 'magical thinking', but it's not. You cannot lose focus on this goal, even when it seems that there are so many obstacles and barriers preventing you from achieving your goal. As Confucius said, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
First of all, and this is important, your continuity goal, needs to be guided by real-life facts and financial results. We are all aware that the current facts are very different now, these are important for how you will execute the actions steps to achieve your continuity goal.
Some facts that are still relevant even during this current crisis.
In addition, using current facts, and following the right action steps will ensure that you won't waste your company's precious time, human resources and money on activities that will not bring you closer to your continuity goal.
So what are the action steps you need to take to achieve your continuity goal? It's important that these actions steps, are based on a proven and dedicated approach, that works across all industries from the solo entrepreneur to multinationals.
This approach is called BiTSing. It has been used by numerous companies and brands, across a range of industries, and has helped them achieve their continuity goals both in times of financial crisis and during economic boom times.