Start Now: Developing a Business Plan for 2021

Start Now: Developing a Business Plan for 2021

There’s no need to beat around the bush: 2020 has been a rough year for pretty much everyone. Trade service professionals and small business owners have been hit especially hard. Between COVID business disruptions, an economic downturn, and rising tariffs, a lot of service entrepreneurs are feeling the strain.

The good news is that a new year will be here pretty soon, offering something of a fresh start. And while there are no guarantees as to what 2021 will bring, there’s ample opportunity to start planning for a stabler, more prosperous, possibly even more normal year. 

The time is now

The first and most important piece of advice is not to delay.

In fact, starting your 2021 planning now may actually help your business reach the end of 2020 in a relatively strong place. That’s because it will help you shift away from the short-term thinking and let’s-just-survive mode in which most of us have spent the last several months. Instead, 2021 business planning will help you shift your focus toward long-term goals and objectives. In other words, you can stop thinking tactically and start thinking strategically, positioning your company to thrive over the long haul.

Engage reality

You may not be crazy about the current state of your business, or about what you see in your most recent financial statements. By all means, start developing a plan to rebound in 2021. But as you do so, make sure you acknowledge the current concerns: This has obviously been an unprecedented year that’s left a lot of businesses in a weird place, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.

Techniques like the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis can help you pinpoint some of the areas where your business is struggling right now, but also look ahead to some opportunities for growth in the months to come. 

Be cautiously optimistic 

There is reason to hope things will look a little better in 2021, but don’t overdo it with your optimism. Most of the financial forecasts show some modest growth, and you’ll probably want to keep your expectations in check with some conservative predictions. 

Yes, you can and you should plan for your business to bounce back from a brutal 2020. But you probably shouldn’t plan on it roaring back to life as soon as the calendar page is turned. 

Don’t forget your people 

A final tip: Make sure your 2021 business plan isn’t merely about the bottom line. Yes, you obviously need to maintain profitability, but one of the best ways to do that is to make sure your employees have everything they need to succeed. As you look at your plans for the coming year, be sure you’re accounting for things like mental health benefits, a supportive company culture, and beyond. 

This year hasn’t been great, but that’s all the more reason why entrepreneurs might want to start looking ahead right now to 2021, and to the chance to get things at least a little bit back on track. 

About the author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at


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