Bewildered about future planning amidst a pandemic? Most business owners are wary of marketing and planning for a quarter ahead, let alone a year in advance. Three initial steps will help you begin the process with more confidence, however. Here is how it works.

Identify the major concerns about your business which require primary consideration for the future. This might entail labor issues, equipment replacement, operational changes, research and development or sales strategies, to mention just a few. Take the time to review in depth each key issue you have identified, and then activate positive steps to solving each issue, even if the solution is far from being the final process.

Without action or momentum, ideas are just ideas and will not help you achieve a positive response, even in less challenging times.

Identify: What issues are causing the most concern with your business? Is it hiring considerations, or how many employees you may have to furlough? Did you run into planting, marketing or harvesting problems? Do you need to purchase packaging equipment, or set up new transportation systems? These are generally issues that seem to pop up repeatedly or are just on the horizon of every business decision. Do not sweep these under the carpet and hope they resolve themselves as the year “gets better.”

Review: Business problems are either dealt with immediately or linger about a business too long before the next crisis hits. When you have identified nagging problems, begin to review each one thoroughly and formulate plans to gain a foothold on resolving the issues. Write down the problem and undergird it with some goals to move past the challenges. Yes, it takes time and effort, but do you want to go from crisis to crisis, or move forward with a plan to begin dissecting and managing issues more successfully? Even if the goals need to be adjusted in the future, at least you have momentum in the form of an outline – somewhere to begin!

Activate: Here is the problem, here are the goals toward resolving it – now activate the plan and move forward! This seems to be where owners and managers halt in the process. “Where do I go from here?” is the question. Business icon Conrad Hilton said, “Success seems to be connected with action; successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” The goals you identified may not work exactly as planned, but they link ideas to action. Without at least a plan of attack, a concern may linger only to be shoved into the background time after time without resolution.

Planning for the future requires courage and resolve. We do not know what lies ahead, but if we identify problems, review and define ways to work with or around them, and activate workable steps toward solving them, we at least have momentum. In doing something, we activate ways to achieve forward progress, even when challenges occur.

The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.