Goal setting in uncertain times

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COVID-19 has changed the business landscape for everyone. Few companies have not been affected by it in some way. While some changes may be temporary, others may present longer-term challenges.

So with much uncertainty, setting goals for your organisation might seem difficult. The goal posts are moving so quickly, it's hard to set your sights on where you should be aiming. Nevertheless, with a Covid-19 vaccine in sight, albeit a little out of focus, it's time to think ahead and begin the reset for your business.

To simply pivot to another position, as is suggested by some, may not be enough.

At the grassroots of your organisation will be your company finances. And so you need a clear view of these, so even if the business environment changes and/or the uncertainties of the pandemic increase, you can set a goal for the longer term.

By asking the question, to what extent has the coronavirus impacted your business' sales and profits, you can begin to set financial goals that are realistic and attainable, yet are sufficiently motivating for all in your company.

Making year-on-year comparisons of turnover, sales, profit, cash flow, etc, will all be at the root of how you as an organisation can move forward. As a result, you may need to evolve your business model and/or consider what operational efficiencies can be made. You might consider revising your pricing model to provide more flexibility or introduce more affordable options for your customers. And there are some pragmatic goals that can be set too. Should you improve your accounts receivables & collection processes or manage your stock control more efficiently, for example?

Timely, accurate financial reporting is key at the best of times and certainly during volatile market conditions with measurement of the progress towards these new goals crucial. However, it would be prudent not to rely on instinct or solely quarterly financial statements to monitor your company's performance right now. Short term goal setting can prove rewarding. Consider producing weekly reports that highlight what's working and what's not - and then take corrective action if required. For example, you might need to adjust your pricing, staffing, or hours of operation to improve profitability.

While it's too soon to predict when the post-pandemic era will come about and whether it will be recognisable for certain sectors when it arrives, a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, at GSM we work with our clients to plan for all possibilities and opportunities.

For over 100 years GSM have experienced the ebb and flow of economic and national crisis and thrived alongside its clients. Contact GSM today, on 020 7935 3793, and you too can look forward to developing an equally successful, resilient business that can serve your customers well, no matter the circumstances.