What Your Business Needs in 2021

January 25, 2021

Leadership, high performance, and effective business strategies are needed more than ever as we move into the new opportunities of 2021.

Last year was tough on us. It brought unprecedented business and personal challenges. Our mission now is to leave that behind us and focus on ways to create success this year.

To do that, we worked and gathered thoughts from thought leaders in various aspects of a business. Together, these tips will point any business in the right direction for the next 12 months.

Let’s start with Marketing:

Timothy Dunn – Dunn Strategy Group

Here are five easy steps to take in the next few weeks to make sure your brand is ready to succeed in 2021:

Stop and think about your audience.  

You absolutely need to know who your audience is, what they want, and how to engage them. By actually sitting down and committing this content to paper, then segmenting those audiences logically (demographics, buying power, motivation, etc.), it becomes infinitely more tenable to build the right messaging for those audiences.

Build messaging for your target audiences.  

Once you have taken a few minutes to critically understand who you want to hear your story, it isn’t terribly hard to build and refine your message for those audiences. Identifying key themes that motivate target audiences will allow you to build or refine your messaging to be sure the way you’re telling your story actually engages and motivates your target audience.

Develop an editorial calendar.  

Quite simply, once you know your audience and you have messaging to engage them, building out a 12-month strategy of how you plan to deliver those messages to those audiences is a logical and practical next step. Doing this in a purposeful manner will allow you to budget your time and marketing resources, and ensure you’re being disciplined in delivering on your brand story.

Spend on the right tools.  

It is incredibly important to build a budget that makes sense for your objectives. Set goals and watch metrics, using real data from your actual activity. I’ve always found that clients who know exactly where they’re spending their marketing dollars – and why –  are the most effective and efficient. Develop a realistic budget and make sure you’re focused on getting your key messages to your target audience.

Better to do a few things well than many things mediocre.  

In my experience, brands that try to have a presence everywhere often fall short, leaving a disconnected presence and a frustrated customer. Tell yourself 2021 is the year your brand absolutely crushes one tactic — focus your efforts and become the best in class in that one space, rather than being middle of the pack on several fronts.

To read his full post, please visit https://dunnstrategy.com/five-ways-to-amp-up-your-brand-before-the-year-ends/

Now, let’s discuss planning:

Dan MacIvor – ActionCOACH Business Coaching

Four things to consider when developing your 2021 Goals…

Write Them Down   

Inc. magazine writes that. “You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down….”

Make them SMART 

Specific—We have a tendency to make “increase revenue” one of our goals.  We need to get specific.,,  Is it revenue, or profit, or both that we want to increase?  What is the number or percentage growth?

Measurable—Our goals need to be measurable so that we can track our progress and stay motivated.

Attainable—Our goals need to be achievable.  Yes, we want to push ourselves, to challenge ourselves but we must be able to put a plan together and have the ability to achieve them

Relevant—Our goals need to matter to us. They need to be tied to what is important to us at this moment and align with our longer-term goals.

Timeframe—Our goals need to have a specific timeframe.  Is this a 5-10 year goal, a one-year goal a quarterly goal?  Build your plan to be sure that it can be accomplished within that timeframe, put it on the calendar, and meet that timeline.

Make Sure That They Are Aligned   

Stop chasing squirrels! Avoid planning solely in short term cycles.,,

Put an action plan in place   

You have set your goals, you have made them SMART, they are aligned with your overall destination, now how are you going to get there?

Link to his full article: https://www.danmacivorcoaching.com/post/have-you-set-your-goals-and-developed-your-plan-for-2021

Now, let’s talk about HR:

Jennifer Massey and Trisha Cuzdey – Integra HR

2020 has posed unprecedented challenges to employers – new regulations, work from home as the norm, and a complete reset of the traditional idea of a “workplace” has us all feeling overwhelmed. Keeping solid HR practices in place and staying on top of the basics with all the new regulations and executive orders has been a vital task in 2020 and will continue into 2021, as our oversight agencies are not bending any rules.  Even though some things went into effect on January 1, 2021 or you needed to complete them in 2020, all is not lost.  Get started now and make sure you have done the following five things:

Employee data is constantly changing, so make sure your employee data is up to date. 

Review your staff’s compensation and job classifications to ensure you are meeting the minimum State and Federal minimum wage and minimum weekly salary requirements. 

Educate your employees about the weekly payroll deduction and benefit changes to the New York State Paid Family Leave for 2021. 

Review your sexual harassment prevention policy and make sure your employees are completing the required NYS Sexual Harassment training annually and at time of hire for your new hires.   

Review your existing paid and unpaid sick leave policy to be sure you are meeting the new requirements under the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law that went into effect on January 1, 2021.   

For access to the entire article by Jennifer L. Massey, President & Co-Founder of Integra HR, LLC, please click here:  https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jennifer-l-massey-sphr-shrm-scp-ea-cs-34bab060_hrcompliance-learning-success-activity-6749757690836238336-npg4

Next up: Leadership

Brian Rollo – Brian Rollo Consulting Group

The Balcony and the Dance Floor 

You must be an objective observer of performance and culture (the Balcony), but you can’t forget to spend time shoulder-to-shoulder with your team so you understand their perspective (the Dance Floor). Strategize from the logic of the Balcony, connect from the emotion and action of the Dance Floor.

Orchestrate Healthy Conflict 

An absence of visible conflict does not equal harmony. Rather, it usually means conflict has moved and is happening where you can’t see it. This manifests via passive-aggressive actions that alienate team members and create factions.

This is even more dangerous in remote or hybrid workplaces. Proactive leaders orchestrate healthy conflict by encouraging respectful disagreement and debate. The key is to move this conflict out of the shadows and into the open. It’s a vital way to make sure your team handles their conflicts respectfully and transparently.

Adaptive Frame

Adaptability must be a business and personal core value in 2021 and beyond. Thumbs down to anyone who says “that’s the way we’ve always done it” as a reason to perpetuate a strategy that no longer makes sense.

As a leader, your team will never adapt faster than you do. If you want change, you must embrace it as a core value. We’ll talk about adaptability tactics (https://hbr.org/2011/07/adaptability-the-new-competitive-advantage)  in another post, but we must first mentally accept the principle that we must change before any techniques will work.

Culture Rules 

Whether your organization is remote, back in the office, or using a hybrid model, your culture is what links you to success. It’s the environment where people will either succeed or struggle. Objectively ask yourself (and your team) if there’s room for improvement. Consider using a measurement tool so that you are acting from data, not subjective opinions. Clarity has a high ROI.

Leverage Your Informal Authority

There are two kinds of authority in the workplace. Your formal authority is your title and power; your ability to make things happen “because you said so.” It manifests itself in direction, protection, and order.

Your informal authority is broader. It is closer to charismatic or moral authority. It manifests itself in trust, respect, and admiration.

Highly effective leaders use both forms of authority.

However, the stressors of 2020 put a premium on informal authority. People working from home are far less likely to tune into solely formal authority. They are too anxious, distracted, and disconnected to be quickly swayed by orders.

But, they are craving leadership built on trust, respect, and admiration. Look for ways to build and expand your informal authority as a lever to create lasting (and happier) results.

And finally, finances.

Sabrina Houser – Capital CFO+

Creating a budget plan and committing to it is simple if you know how to do it. Now is the time of year to prepare your budget for the upcoming year.

What does it mean to set a personal budget?

Let’s start simple. A personal budget is a detailed and itemized list of your earnings and expenses to help you plan how your money will be spent and your savings goals achieved.

How to create a budget

Here is how it breaks out:

What is your income? The average American is paid 26 times a year. We advise that you build your budget from 24 of those 26 periods.

Track your essential spending. This may take some additional time and thought because you are capturing all expenses, not only daily expenses.

Begin with fixed expenses– the expenses you know you regularly have. These include rent/mortgage, car payments, cell phone bills, utilities, and student loans.

Enter annual and seasonal expenses and divide by 12 (months). These include home maintenance expenses such as landscaping, pool cleaning, equipment maintenance.

Plan for big expenses such as vacations.

Enter your Variable expenses such as gasoline, groceries, and entertainment/movies/eating out. After a while, you will be able to observe an average cost.

It is no surprise that the largest expenses come from non-essential or discretionary expenses.

Does the expense bring you joy?

Discretionary or non-essential expenses deserves its own section! These are expenses that I refer to as the “expenses that bring you joy.” Choose the expense that brings you joy and let the others go.

Let’s talk about debt.

For this discussion, I will address credit card debt and interest loan debt. We refer our clients to a professional and trained financial planner for working on large debt:

Budgeting in the pandemic

No one could ever have imagined and prepared for the financial and economic impact of this pandemic. It does speak to the budgeting mindset of prepare for the worst-case scenario. Remember we talked about those two extra pay periods every year? Well, over the years, that slush fund grows and may provide some cushioning on expenses during a loss or reduction of income.

It’s never easy. 

Before you think that I was gifted one amazing budget and live life on an easy street with managing it all, click on the full post to read my story.

Your budget is not a set it and forget it.

Your budget and the handy spreadsheet is a living breathing document that needs consistent attention and care.