Business Growth Insights

Business Owners: Prepare to Grow in the New Year

A business owner looks at a graph showing business growth experienced in the new year.

We know: 2020 was…less than ideal. Turmoil rocked businesses and communities in both unexpected and unprecedented ways.

The good news: uncertain times often pave the way to a better future.

Preparing for Growth in the New Year

“Growth in 2020 will be hard for most small- and medium-sized businesses. Too many consumers and businesses are a wait-and-see mode,” said Terri Maxwell, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Share On Purpose. “However, while no one likes a lull in business, small- and medium-size companies are ideally positioned to reinvent, repurpose, and reimagine their business to really hit the ground running in 2021. Now, this undertaking will look different from company to company, but the next few months is an ideal time to prepare leadership and the entire team while evaluating current and new processes, technology, products, and people. Most large companies don’t have the agility or ability to adapt in the same manner.”

The recent CEO Economic Outlook Survey appears to confirm this view. Most of the respondents, who are CEOs of major corporations, including Apple, JPMorgan Chase, and Chevron, feel that it will take the entirety of 2021 for their companies to see any recovery. According to The Washington Post, “When asked when business conditions would return to pre-pandemic levels, most of the CEOs said the end of 2021. However, 27 percent had a longer horizon and said their companies would not fully recover until after 2021.”

Intriguingly, this seems to give small- and medium-sized companies an advantage over their larger brethren.

The Three-Step Streamlining Process

According to Maxwell, streamlining a small- and medium-size company is generally a three-step endeavor:

The first is rethinking how the business does business in these unusual times.  How you deliver customer value is a business asset and the foundation of your business. How can the process of value delivery be more relevant and nimble?  In general, this includes:

  • Evaluating customer needs, segments, and products.
  • Appraising growth strategies for post-2020, including new markets, segments, and products.
  • Determining which aspects of the company can be strengthened to scale delivery of business value.

The second step is aligning your company’s tools to fit your business process. Tools help you save time, money and deliver value consistently, such as your current digital and technical infrastructure.  In an online world, can your tools accomplish the goals established in the first step?

“The third step,” said Maxwell, “is aligning the people necessary to achieve your goals. This is an ideal time to consider incorporating quality freelance talent into your business operations to increase flexibility, off-load admin and add expertise.

“Once business owners determine which roles are needed on a consistent basis to deliver customer value, they will discover the roles that are core to the business. They will also discover the roles which can easily be outsourced to freelance team members. The strategic employment of freelance talent is an exceptional method of filling niche areas with cost-effective, top-notch support.”

During 2021 and beyond, as the economy remains volatile, utilizing freelance talent will be especially useful because freelance talent is a variable cost. A company only needs to employ freelancers when they are needed and can be afforded.

“In the new year, buyers are going to be more discerning. That will be a challenge, and it’s the reason companies should take the time now to assess their value proposition, processes, tools, and personnel,” said Maxwell.

“2021 is going to bring more change, but it also holds growth potential for nimble companies that prepare for that change.”

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