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The COVID-19 pandemic already has had an impact on small and midsize businesses that has lasted for months and could reshape how many businesses plan for their futures. In a June U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, 82 percent of these entrepreneurs said they were worried about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses. And 55 percent believe it will be six months to a year before business returns to normal.
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The pandemic and recession have forced many businesses to reinvent themselves virtually overnight. Some have added new products and services to generate more revenue. Businesses that were able to stay open had to institute changes in operations, practices and policies to keep customers and employees safe. Because these changes affect how the businesses operate, the costs they incur and other factors, now is a good time for small business owners (SBOs) to revisit their business plans.
"A business plan is not static,” says Cindy Hannafey, a managing director for UHY, LLP, a New York City-based accounting and business consulting firm. “It's that aspirational statement of where you want your company to go in the future.”
As you review your own plan in light of the changes this year has brought, here are four areas that may merit specific focus.
1. Define your purpose
Toward the front of the business plan, companies often use mission, vision and values statements to state their reason for being. McKinsey research released in June found that customers actually do look closely at a company's values, and that information affects their buying choices. For example, 1 in 4 consumers said that a company's treatment of its employees plays an important role in their purchasing decisions.
Hannafey says it's time to think about what matters to your company and ensure that your business is reflecting those values. For companies to clearly assess their best path to move forward, entrepreneurs are going to have to “really understand your vision, your strategy and your initiatives throughout the organization. When I talk about vision, I am talking about your why. ‘Why am I in business? What is my inspiration?'” she says. Review those priorities and weave them throughout the organization's business practices.