Is this the right time?
Unsurprisingly to many readers, the many businesses I see as an insolvency practitioner have little by way of strategic planning, and even fewer an actual strategic plan document. In fact, as insolvency practitioners appointed to liquidations, we can nominate "poor strategic management" as a contributing factor to the insolvency status in our reporting to stakeholders.
It would be forgivable to think that in COVID-19 times, strategic planning has been replaced with mere business survival, and certainly that's hard to argue with. COVID-19 pushed many businesses to the edge, with many only surviving on the back of government support and reprieve from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). But is this time coming to an end? Can we continue to use these factors as a reason to further delay formulating and implementing a properly considered and constructed business plan?
With all due compassion and respect for what every business has and continues to be going through, as an insolvency practitioner I don't think so.
More and more state/territory premiers are formulating and releasing their plans for re-opening on the back of achieving vaccination milestones. Many businesses, while initially being hit with the impact of COVID-19, have bounced back. Meanwhile, the ATO is recommencing action against taxpayers both for personal and company tax (read more about this here).
If at any time in the life of a business-now is that time to commit to developing a strategic plan. The government is adamant that, while admitting to having to live with COVID-19 restrictions, it will be business as usual as much as possible. This is then the perfect time to ensure a strategic plan is in place.
While the future is still uncertain, a well thought-out and implemented strategic plan can accommodate for change. A strategic plan should never be a static point in time document. It needs to be a living document. To adapt and change in flow of the business needs, whether that be product lines; service offerings; change in ownership; or pandemics.
As advisors, you are the best people to help your clients to assist in formulating a strategic plan. And clearly would be one of the best things and value-add processes you can do to support your client. Along with remembering to set up regular reviews so that the strategic plan can be updated and evolve with the business itself. We've published some great material to help in this regard, specifically our Managing a Business Crisis document giving you the 5-step process to crisis proof a business.
Business survival is tough. Let's make sure the client has all the advantages available. A strategic plan is a great step towards achieving that goal.
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