Will business planning change for good after the COVID recession?

With businesses coming to the end of one of the most disrupted quarters of recent memory, planning for their next could seem daunting. September is always a crucial time for businesses of all sizes to ensure that they are fully planned, budgeted and prepared for the new year. Coming off the back of half a year of turmoil, a shrinking economy and business models being turned upside down, will COVID fundamentally change the way companies plan their strategic futures, at least in the medium term?  Justin Small, the founder and CEO of The Future Strategy Club - a consultancy firm delivering the highest level of talent for businesses of all sizes - has given his thoughts on how business planning could change now and potentially for good: "Depending on your company’s structure, Q3 or Q4 is one of the most important parts of the year to plan. It sees you into the next calendar year and builds on all the work you have been implementing for the previous two or three quarters. With businesses trying to strategise their way through the COVID recession, the next month - never-mind the next quarter - is still up in the air for many sectors. 

Because of this, I foresee many businesses planning on a more micro level; perhaps month-to-month rather than quarter-to-quarter, to help them be more agile and adapt to challenges they could face. With this, marketing, public relations, and company outreach will also change. It is incredibly important to be out in the market now more than ever, and instead of these industries shrinking such as during previous recessions, we could see the opposite happening.

With this, talent and how businesses use it will also change. Flexible contracts, short-term projects, and even high-level consultants coming in at c-suite level to run an arm of a company for a day or two a week will become more normal. Companies and entrepreneurs recognise the importance of great talent that provides real value, so bringing them in for a few hours or days a week will be crucial to their survival and growth. 

With these companies planning month-to-month, agencies will also need to change and adapt to a new environment. Businesses will want sustained, fixed pricing to help them budget more stringently. I think that agencies will have to start offering a menu service rather than a tailored package with numerous up-sell options. The world of creative industries and how they interact with the rest of the market could change for good." 

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