A common factor behind the demise of some was their inability to react quickly to changing environments. The business failures have often started with high debt loads, which eventually drove the companies to ruin. By having a well-defined plan in place before taking on debt, it is easier to pay it off and make the company more resilient to external shocks.
But, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you can execute on it perfectly every time. You may not have perfect information, which can lead to a missed opportunity. For example, say you’re launching a new product, and your research reveals that customers prefer your competitor’s products. But it’s the middle of the night, and you don’t have anyone else to discuss the research with.
You can’t fix this overnight, but it’s important to take care of your people so you can think about creating a more resilient business. Treat your employees fairly, allow them time to sleep, and compensate them for the time they invest.
Involve your stakeholders early and often.
People at every level of the company should be involved in the decision making process. That means understanding why a change will impact their role and working to create a shared understanding. Many people feel like they can only help when their job is affected by a decision, but that’s not true. Employees are vital to making a business successful, and if they are not involved in the decision-making process, they won’t fully understand the impact of a new strategy on their role.
Take advantage of your employees’ input by creating a communication plan. You should be regularly communicating progress updates to all stakeholders. Consider changing your meetings to add in more stakeholders – employees, customers and partners – to ensure everyone is kept in the loop.
Define what success looks like.
Figure out your values — who are you, and what do you stand for? Then, think about how your business will meet those values. For example, to keep employees engaged, you might offer perks like a company gym. To increase profits, you might consider opening a new store, or expanding into a new market.
Once you understand the values of your company, you can build your strategy to make that vision a reality. When you’re in the thick of it, you may not be able to articulate your plan, but once you look back on your actions, you can identify the areas where you met your goals and why your employees feel valued. This will allow you to reinforce your mission and make changes where needed.
The reality is that many businesses spend more time looking for ways to cut costs or increase revenue, rather than building a strategy and committing to it. While there are never easy decisions to be made, taking the time to reflect and evaluate will help you create a strategy that provides the best possible return on investment.