By Mary Patterson
Money always matters. That does not mean it matters how much you make, although that is probably important to you. It also can mean that it matters how much you keep. And how much you give away. Even how much you enjoy what you can do with money.
This Money Matters section will bring you wisdom to help make more, keep more and give away more money. As we start 2021, it is challenging to predict what the year ahead holds, much less the next month or even week, so we will use the over-used expression: Now more than ever, it is a good time to refine or redo your financial and business plans.
As you read on about whether you should buy or sell a business and about why giving matters, keep in mind these COVID-created trends and implications.
1. Work from home will continue to impact businesses
- Optimize your workforce – are there positions or tasks you can outsource to ‘gig’ workers?
- Rethink your office space – that doesn’t just mean exiting a lease as you may need more space in the future. Are there ways you can use your space differently so you have it when you need it?
2. Cyber security needs will heighten
- Evaluate your insurance – does your policy cover breaches to limit the legal risks and expense? Should it?
- Develop protocols – when people work from home their guard may be down or family members may use the company computer. Make sure your employees are aware of and follow your email and technology protocols.
3. Uncertain hiring environment makes retention and hiring more challenging
- Retention – look for creative ways to retain key employees. For example, perks and benefits that impact the family may be more highly valued than in previous years.
- Diversify – New sources of workers include women rejoining the workforce after raising children, college students taking a virtual break and newly retired people who don’t want to fully retire. Consider this pool of workers as you define roles.
4. Investment in marketing will increase
- Mailed marketing is highly relevant – engagement is at an all-time high with marketing tactics that reach the mailbox, like magazine advertising (full disclosure of blatant self-promotion). Consider where your target audience is as you develop your marketing plan and if they are at home, reach them at home.
- Marketing messages will continue to evolve – communicating safety is usually more important than offering promotions and discounts. Evaluate your messages and if they are the same as pre-COVID, your message probably needs to change.
5. E-commerce will continue to grow
- Online Ordering – while Amazon may be king, there is a heartfelt shift to supporting local businesses. Make sure your business is able to transact online and communicate that to your customers and prospects.
As you slam shut the books on 2020, take this opportunity to plan for the knowns and unknowns in 2021. While we can’t predict the future, we can learn from the past.