New Year Business Planning: What we can learn from the challenges of 2020

5 min read
25 November 2020

This time last year, if we’d told you within five months the entire world would grind to a halt, you’d have questioned our sanity. And yet that’s precisely what happened, and continues to happen, across the globe as countries battle coronavirus.

During 2020, even the best laid personal finance and business plans fluttered uselessly to the floor. A business without customers has no option but to close doors and stand down staff. Parents with children at home had to juggle working and helping with schooling, dividing their attention between competing priorities.

If 2020 has taught us one thing, it's that having your personal finances right first is so important, closely followed by having a sound business plan. Within both your business and personal finance considering a range of contingencies and having the ability to be adaptable has been a key focus. 

Solid new year business planning can help you secure finance, prioritise your efforts and evaluate future opportunities. This can also include the planning and organisation of your personal finances first. Considering things such as whether you have a self managed super fund, family trusts or investment properties outside of your core business. 

If you’re at the point where you’ve not even given 2021 a thought.  No worries, we’ve got your back.

Be honest about your 2021 personal finance and business plans 

2020 has been a tough year for just about every business owner, not just with the impacts felt with our business revenue but within our personal investment portfolio too.

Some businesses have fared well while others have just managed to stay afloat. There are business owners still clinging tight to the hope something will change, and their business can be saved. Then there’s the ones who’ve simply had to fly the white flag and admit defeat.

The point we’re trying to make is you need to be honest about how your business and personal finances are standing as 2020 draws to a close.

And COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere unless we all get a vaccine from Santa.

Therefore, any plans for 2021 must allow for things we’ve become so used to in 2020. Rolling lockdowns, restrictions, border closures, staff needing to isolate or quarantine.

If you are an established business you may already have a business plan in place. But now is the time to re-examine all areas, including how your business impacts management of your personal finances. So that you can see if what you have in place still applies going forward into a pandemic and then post-pandemic environment.

Take the time to revisit the following areas of your business plan: 

  • Vision, mission and goals - has this changed as your workforce works remotely?
  • Operational strategy - have you needed to change the way your team works and are some of those changes worth keeping longer term?
  • Products and Services mix - did you need to pivot into new directions and are some of those changes worth keeping?
  • Marketing plan - is your digital presence where it should be?
  • Financial strategy - are you focusing on the profitable areas of your business?

If you need help with your new year business plan, ask for it. Now isn’t the time to struggle along, hoping for the best. 

At Kelly+Partners, our goal has always been to help small businesses be better off. Not just with their business finances, but with an integrated approach to your personal finances too. And if there’s been a better time to reach out and remind people who we are and how we can help, I can’t think of it.

At Kelly+Partners, we can help you with: 

  • Business Accounting 
  • Tax Consulting 
  • Private Wealth 
  • Estate Management 
  • Mortgage 
  • Finance 

Check in with employees and clients 

How are your employees coping? How are your clients doing?

A thriving economy relies on all (or most) moving parts working together. A sudden and ongoing lack of job security can have devastating financial and emotional effects on people. And if people are worried they may lose their job, they stop spending on non-essentials.

All these worries filter through employees to clients and then onto their employees and clients in a never ending cycle. 

Have you checked in on everyone your business deals with? Are you having honest conversations about job security? 

Are your staff working from home? If so, how are they doing?

Lockdowns, restrictions and an uncertain future all take their toll. Be sure to check in with everyone and offer counselling or support where you can.

Be exactingly strategic in 2021

Have you been putting off making business plans for 2021? Are you adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach or hoping for a vaccine so this nightmare can end?

Now is not the time to leave things to chance.

Still looking wistfully at all those long term strategies? 

While long term strategies are great and still have a place in your 2021 business plans, perhaps it’s time to strategise at a more granular level. You may need to shore up the foundations of your business before adding a fancy new extension.

Can you streamline processes? Cut costs or reallocate available funds? 

If you’ve spent most of 2020 putting out spot fires so the rest of the business doesn’t go up in flames, taking the time to sort out and strengthen processes should be a priority. 

Many businesses have successfully moved from in-office to work from home. Is this something you can incorporate into the future?

Have you been outsourcing and finding this a far more reliable approach to business (as well as supporting other struggling businesses).

Understand what's available to help your business in 2021

When the 2020 budget was handed down in early October, it contained measures to try and stabilise the reeling Australian economy. With a focus on creating jobs and helping business, it offered both long and short term solutions to the devastating events of 2020.

It introduced the Jobmaker credit, an incentive to boost hiring and employment across Australia. 

Jobkeeper has also been extended, at this point until March 28, 2021. However, with the current federal government showing a willingness to consider ongoing support to Australians during this time, we may see movement around Jobkeeper over the coming months.

We’ll keep you posted and when you subscribe to our mailing list, you’ll never miss a thing.

Have a look at your risk management plans

While 2020 has shown us the benefits of having a great business plan in place, it’s also proven having a Plan B isn’t a bad idea either. 

As 2020 rolled on, many businesses could do little more than react to situations as they happened. There simply wasn’t time to do anything but react and do the best they could. 

This may have revealed the uncomfortable truth about your business contingency plans. Or lack thereof.

Take some time to regroup and plan for a new year where anything can, and probably will, happen.

In 2020, we had the collective excuse of the unimaginable happening. Nobody was immune and few people will emerge from 2020 unscathed in some way. As 2021 dawns, we can feel more prepared to tackle what our business faces into the next year.

Take the time to make sound business plans for 2021 and set up your personal finances to minimise risk too. Do the research, do the legwork. Do the hard yards now so you won’t need luck to make it through 2021. 

And as always, our experienced business accountants work with you to give you advice you need to start 2021 on the right foot.  

If you have any questions about business planning, please contact your local Kelly+Partners office today. You can also request a call back at a time that suits you.