COVID-19 Means Every Entrepreneur Needs to Refresh Their Business Planning: Here’s How
COVID-19 is the most significant game-changer many businesses have ever faced. While smart business planning has always been essential, it’s even more so now with all the uncertainty.
After working one-on-one with hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses, we can tell you that sound business planning is your best bet at reducing risk and capitalizing on new opportunities. Although it’s highly unlikely your planning anticipated or addresses COVID-19 specifically, you can re-assess and change course now for the best chance at coming out intact.
By creating or refreshing your business planning, you’re keeping a finger on the pulse of your company and the market so you can change course quickly-which is the key to survival now.
“But I don’t have time to write or overhaul my business plan right now!”
We get it! That’s why our team at Supportedly created an easy way to create a one-page business summary. It takes far less time than creating a traditional business plan and will help you identify new opportunities and threats to your business so you can quickly adapt as needed.
Here’s how you can quickly get started:
- If you have not created a business summary, start fresh by downloading the 12 Questions Every Successful Entrepreneur Asks worksheet. As you work through the questions, go with the assumption that COVID-19 is here to stay. You can always update when/if things go back to normal, but this will help you be decisive on the steps you need to take next.
- If you have already created a business summary, review the questions through the lens of your new reality. Focus on what’s changed now specifically since COVID-19 and re-assess your answers. This will help you square off with your new challenges and gain momentum towards making the necessary changes.
As you go through the worksheet, it’s helpful to start with what’s likely changed the most: finances. These questions are especially pertinent now and include:
- “What are my revenue sources?” ie. How will this change going forward?
- “What are my core costs?” ie. How have costs changed and am I accounting for the deficit?
- “What are my break-evens?” ie. What is my bare minimum to operate after drastically cutting costs?
Next, consider how your business has/will change. These questions are all good ones to revisit as the world has screeched to a halt, leaving many old ways of doing business stranded.
- “Who are my customers?” ie. Have they changed? Are some now a better fit (ex. tech-savvy ones)?
- “What are my offerings?” ie. Do they need to change (ex. restaurant to a food truck)?
- “What is the value customers will receive?” ie. How have customer expectations changed (ex. need to pre-pay, buy differently, price-focused to safety-focused)?
- “How will I attract new customers?” ie. What channels have changed (ex. trade shows to digital marketing, live training to online training)?
Often entrepreneurs feel too busy to commit to regular business planning, but there’s been no bigger curveball thrown at your business than COVID-19. You’re going to need to pivot your business model and fast. Taking the time now to create a new business summary will help ensure your company survives and remains healthy for years to come.
We’ll be deep-diving into these questions more in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here are a few steps you can take now:
- Download the free worksheet, 12 Questions Every Successful Entrepreneur Asks.
- Take our free training on creating your business summary if you need help.
- If you’re in NC, connect with your local Small Business Center for 1:1 support and advice along the way.
Have a question about this topic or anything else?