If you’re running a business, you most likely have a lot on your plate right now. 2020 has been a harrowing year for business owners of small businesses as well as larger enterprises, and a lot seems to be shifting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on consumer behavior. For example, the coronavirus has made a major dent in in-person sales, with e-commerce platforms becoming more and more integral to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Mortgage rates reaching record lows has had an incredible impact on demand for homes, with the real estate market getting wild as sellers and buyers looking to change up their environment or become first-time homebuyers while rates are competitive. The same can be said for the demand for used cars, as people avoid public transportation, as well as education and training programs offering people the chance to make a career pivot. Whether you’re a used car dealership in Enfield, CT, or provide career-technical training and education in Middleburg Heights, OH, the chances are high that you’re thinking about making some changes in your business as a result of the coronavirus.
Even if you aren’t selling used or new cars or helping adult learners with employability skills, it still might be time to rethink your company’s business goals. Just as many consumer’s priorities have shifted in response to the pandemic, you, too, may feel like your business could be performing better or more focused on different objectives as a result of COVID-19. A perfect example of this is building out your digital infrastructure since being on more social media websites (even LinkedIn) could allow you to attract the sort of attention to reach more ambitious goals. Read on for a few different scenarios that may serve as flags that it makes sense for you to rethink how your company goes about defining the sorts of things that matter to your business to ensure that you’re in alignment with the goals you want to achieve in 2021 and beyond.
If you took advantage of a PPP loan or other coronavirus relief package, you may want to hire a new accountant.
One of the things that could be a useful goal for your business for 2021 is finding a new accountant who is more well-versed in tax compliance than you are. If you run a smaller business, you may be used to filling out your tax returns by yourself; however, with different relief packages impacting businesses in a variety of ways, it might be a good idea to find a new accountant with more experience handling tax law. While you probably are comfortable with calculating sales tax or various deductions for your business, if you participated in the Payroll Protection Program or received another form of economic stimulus for your company, it’s important to ensure that you’ve dotted your Is and crossed your Ts. Federal and state tax compliance is likely to be a bit more complex for your 2020 returns as a result of these stimulus efforts, not to mention if you need to ensure that you appropriately calculated sales tax on goods you sold online.
If your team is now working remotely and productivity is flagging, consider adopting a new goal-setting methodology.
Keeping your team aligned towards the same goals can be challenging enough when you’re working in person, but with more and more companies having remote employees during 2020 and 2021—not to mention some of the distracting and disturbing current events as of late—it’s easy to see productivity flag. This is where adopting a new goal-setting framework can be incredibly helpful, with something like the OKR framework providing you with a strategy to clearly define your objectives and key performance indicators.
What is OKR and how do you set goals with the OKR framework? OKR tools help you to clearly determine your objectives and key results (what “OKR” stands for), leading to more clarity in regards to what sorts of things you want to accomplish each year. These could be related to your sales and marketing efforts or internal goals to improve the productivity of your staff members. Each department determines what key results they can contribute to on a quarterly basis and is able to measure its success and progress against those benchmarks. Not only do OKRs make it easier to work more effectively, but OKRs also offer you the opportunity to handle performance reports much more seamlessly since every employee can measure their progress against the overall OKRs for your business.
If you did well through the pandemic, it might be time to consider more ambitious goals.
Stretch goals might seem like a strange consideration to make following such a challenging time for so many businesses; however, if you’re a company that weathered the pandemic well, it might be worth thinking about more ambitious goals. This is something that the OKR methodology can help you with since if you’re consistently completing your goals ahead of schedule, it’s not actually a bad idea to think about what moonshots would look like for your entire organization. Just because your business is a startup or smaller than giants like Apple or Amazon doesn’t mean it shouldn’t consider being ambitious, so if you’ve made it through 2020 relatively unscathed, consider polling each department for what moonshots would look like for their aspect of your company.
Clearly, 2021 is going to pose different challenges to your business as you work to transition to more in-person operations as vaccines are rolled out. That being said, just as it’s important to set personal goals at the start of a new year, it’s just as critical to do that same work as a business. Whether that means finding ways to better serve high school and adult learners brushing up on important employability skills, finding a new accountant with more experience with tax compliance to prepare your 2020 tax returns, or even adopting widespread company OKRs, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your goal setting for the coming year. By reflecting on the above scenarios, you’re sure to find success, whether your goals are to sell more SUVs, improve the computers your team uses, or just serve more customers.