Business planning strategy: Seizing opportunities in a new era 


Whilst business planning and strategy are not new concepts to most business leaders, next year poses an interesting prospect. With the amount of uncertainty, change and development experienced this year, many will be looking to change the way strategic planning is done for next year, to change certain priorities and implement more flexible approaches with greater emphasis on contingency resources.  


Given the importance of seizing future opportunities and ensuring a fiscally successful year next year and for the years to come, business planning needs to take centre stage and be viewed with a new set of eyes and priorities. This is a new era of business planning, and the pressure is on to strategise in such a way that ensures your organisation can capitalise on beneficial opportunities with confidence knowing that budgets, cash flow and profitability have all been accounted for in a more flexible way.  


The importance of strategic planning 

Although we can never know exactly what the future may hold, we can plan for certain types of scenarios based on current business analytics, financial analysis, forecasts, and market insight to address current and potential business realities in the ‘next normal’. This requires working out not only what the business should achieve for next year but also mapping out how to get there, what resource is required, what regulatory or market factors exist and what it’s going to cost. 

Strategic planning for the ‘next normal’ will need to work hard to better anticipate potential unknowns in the market as the economy could be facing further instability further down the line. The Coronavirus may well have impacted the way strategic planning is done for the foreseeable future as ever business, industry and market now knows that contingency measures are as important as best-case-scenario ones.  

Four steps of flexible strategic planning: 

While there is no set formula for a strategic plan as every organisation is different and occupies a different place in the market, there are four steps all can take to ensure they have a solid strategic plan in place to face 2021: 

Review current progress 

Taking stock of your business’ current situation will help you better understand your company and its capabilities for the future. This involves looking at accurate financial data, forecasts and business analytics, current budgets and overheads. This will allow you to know what your company has achieved this year in the face of adversity and also provides in-depth analysis of how your company operated in a crisis. 

Understanding this information will allow you to better foresee how much flexibility your plan for 2021 will need as many markets could face further uncertainty for years to come with potential additional waves of the virus and the economic difficulty this may bring for many markets. 

Examine the market 

Looking at detailed market analysis, your competitors and the economic pressures your industry is currently facing will help you define opportunities that are realistically achievable for your organisation.  

Define objectives 

Starting with a vision statement, defining clear objectives based on your internal and external analysis will help you understand what it is you’re trying to achieve next year. This could be new products or service offerings to meet newly emerging demands in the market, or diversify your portfolio, increase headcount, explore new markets and many more business opportunities that will support the growth and success of your organisation.  

Summarise resources and tools 

Aggregating your current resources and tools and analysing their effectiveness to achieving your end goals will help you budget accordingly, making allowances for upgrading systems, recruiting new skill sets and deploying new teams and departments.  

With these four considerations in place, you will be in a position to outline your strategic plan for the ‘next normal’ and meet the unknown pressures and demands that next year may bring.   

Interim managers and strategic planning 

When undertaking the task of strategic planning, engaging interim managers can help in two respects: 

  • Interim managers can help with the strategic planning itself 

Many interim managers specialise in strategic planning and will be able to quickly combine external insights from the market and economy with your financial and business analysis to strategically plan for next year.  

Their exceptional stakeholder management skills will also mean that key people within your organisation will be able to contribute at optimal moments and keep all executive-level employees aware of developments so that all parties are satisfied with the results. This aspect of interim managers negates the feeling of handing over an important responsibility to what may feel like an ‘outsider’. Interims integrate with your teams and are able to onboard quickly whilst picking up the priorities and culture of an organisation, thus allowing them to align their work with your company’s objectives and ethos.  

  • Interim managers can be a flexible resource within your strategic plan 

Interim managers are a flexible and cost-effective resource that can be implemented quickly if the need suddenly arose. Interims are able to step in and support a wide range of projects and even aid in the day-to-day running of the company. They allow companies to keep overheads down as they cost far less than a permanent employee, whilst having the experience and knowledge of a senior-level employee. 


Oakwood Resources can accelerate your business requirements by sourcing interim managers who are assessed based on their skills and experience and who can work alongside you to deliver successful outcomes for your business’ strategic or operational needs in 2021.  


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