• Randy Gardiner

PREPARING for 2021

e will remain in the teeth of COVID-19 until summer. However, the “new virtual, masked, and distanced normal” of business and personal life has been mastered by most. 2021 will undoubtedly bring new challenges and opportunities, but likely nothing like what we have adapted to in 2020.

As business leaders, our job is to look ahead, assess the changing landscape, and predict how our organizations will need to prepare for the upcoming cycle(s) in 2021.

Here is a shortlist of 2021 planning areas to huddle with your team on;


Products/Service Offerings – Do the “80/20” or “Pareto” analysis (i.e., 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your products/customers) on what drives your top line to help your company “focus” on profitable offerings. Re-setting your product line and services also cleans up purchasing, accounting, inventory, and supplier commitments. Avoiding these steps makes future clean-up harder and potentially extends commitments that are not central to your success.

Core Customers – Evaluate “Critical Customer” relationships and plans to protect them. Like Product/Service 80/20 assessments, keeping “critical” customer relationships protected is money well spent. Just think how much you would spend to land one of your top sales clients again. Show a little love, interest, and appreciation. It will put the odds on your side that your company will not be part of a future “market test.”

Cash Flow – Project your runway length, growth requirements, and profit levers. Playing the financial “what if” game is always a healthy practice. What is your “Cash Conversion Cycle?” What would your income statement look like if you changed you’re A/R by 1 week, or reduce your product costs by 1%, or inventory turns by 1? You will be amazed by the answers. Connect with me to do a "Power of One" exercise on your financials.

Team Talent – Identify franchise talent, high potential, and future trades. No professional sports team is expected to field a “so-so” team, and either should you. Evaluate your talent, so you know who to “cheer” when they make a great “move or decision.” Also, know who to trade when better talent is available or conditions require cuts. Connect with me on “Building an A-Player Culture.” You’ll be glad you did.

Key Suppliers – Reward those partners who helped you in 2020 with a formal plan. Like critical customers, your Key Suppliers are central to your business’s success. Lock in your partnership with them by acknowledging their role and committing to your partnership. It does not have to be a contract. It can be a simple acknowledgment from "the top" to build a connection that may prove invaluable if certain favors are needed.

2021 Priorities – Create a compelling “Vision” that excites every stakeholder. Every stakeholder in your business will ask, "where are we going" in this business at some time in the future. Eliminate the wasted energy of speculation by holding quarterly meetings or conferences to layout your business's priorities, goals, and objectives. Keeping the team focused should be a religious practice. Clarity at the top should be "crystal clear."

Need some help building a “2021 Plan”?

Schedule time with me today for a no-nonsense and no-obligation strategy session. I can help you lead your company to a new normal and move into recovery and rebuilding as a collective force.