2021: Planning for Uncertainty With A ‘Digital’ Business Plan

by | Dec 14, 2020 | 0 comments

Globally, 2020 was the most challenging year ever faced by businesses since the great depression. It was also a year when digital operations took center stage and became a requirement to conducting business on an ongoing basis. As a result, planning for 2021 is all about the digital business plan. 

The pandemic pushed business managers and owners across all industry sectors to reconsider their plans, budgets and, more importantly, their overall digital strategy. The correlation between consumers and streamers increased dramatically. According to Roku, in the U.S. alone, 85% of households are streaming video — with 79% of those having increased their online purchasing by a whopping 55%. This rise in online spending is expected to increase post pandemic. Unfortunately, we don’t know when that will be.

Digital platforms represent the most valuable companies in the world. Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and many others have built their fortunes by facilitating disruptive innovation and/or by offering a broad array of digital goods and services.  For businesses, the 2021 planning process could not be clearer…

To compete as a new platform and/or leverage an existing digital platform for competitive advantage while creating value to consumers.

A ‘Digital’ Business Plan

For new or existing businesses, digital platforms present enormous opportunities but also pose serious risks. Competing on what have become multi-sided markets, your 2021 digital plan needs to address several imperative actions:

  • Identify the factors that must be included for your or any platform to be successful
  • Fully understand the social and ethical responsibilities of creating or leveraging a digitally-driven business
  • Address the access issue. What to allow users to see and use and how to prevent misuse or abuse of the platform
  • Understand and enforce data privacy issues and responsibilities
  • Explore and decide on how you will respond to competing platforms
  • Really get to understand how to use other platforms so as to more successfully market your business
  • Offer tech support for your customer and/or make sure the platform you’re using offers tech support for you
  • Make sure that you have full security measures implemented to protect your business and personal accounts
  • Be flexible and prepared for change, because it will come — have several “if, then” scenarios outlined
  • Above all, make sure the User Experience is optimum — which includes customer service

You will have to dive deep in developing your 2021 Plan to draw out the most from your digital platform. Be patient. Moreover, if the premise of your business is solid, and you know your target market, the momentum should come.

Effect of Lockdowns

The pandemic changed the way we shop and when we shop. 62% of all online purchases are now made between the hours of 8am to 6pm. In addition, buyers tend to purchase from the brands and businesses that offer discounts and free or fast delivery. Moreover, the types of purchases have shifted as well. With more time spent at home, exercise equipment, housewares, home improvement, sporting goods, toys and other educational and stay-at-home related products and services are spiking.

The Roku survey also found that 44% of streamers shop online while streaming. While 66% of millennials pause their streaming to go online and purchase a product.

Summary

We don’t know how having the COVID-19 vaccine will help convince people that it’s safe to go out and try to resume normal living.

The reaction to the pandemic caused almost every business worldwide to build and/or pivot their business around a digital platform or to, at least, enhance their digital operations. This move was crucial to accommodate shifting consumer purchasing requirements and forced consumption due to lockdown situations. For 2021, business planning must center around the consumer, putting their needs first. Then subsequently, to build-out the business’s digital platform to better serve customers and end-run the competition.

By Jim Lavorato

Jim Lavorato is the founder of 4M Performance which is designed to assist businesses to survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Jim launched an entertainment-related company in 1988. He was at the forefront in cinema technology and helped spearhead the movie industry's transition to digital presentation and distribution. He also co-founded the Arboreal Group, an environmental consultancy. He has published articles on the motion picture and media industries and is a contributing editor for ScreenTrade magazine and writes a blog "Cinema Mucho Gusto". He is a certified SCORE Mentor in the SCORE Greater Phoenix Chapter and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Jim in his "About" page.

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