For most of us, 2020 will be one of the most memorable years on record. Loss of childcare, working from home, avoiding public places and events, and limiting travel are just some of the personal disruptions that occurred.  And on the business side, the whole way we do business changed dramatically.

That said, measuring financial performance against past years is still a good idea, but perhaps not as indicative of future performance as it might have been prior to the pandemic. Let’s consider some alternatives:

 

New/Adjusted Services Performance

For many industries, business as usual was impossible in 2020 so existing services suffered greatly (or even disappeared). Did your business try some new ideas?

Consider spending some time looking at your traction:

Marketing 

Did you figure out a way to get the word out beyond word of mouth or networking? Give yourself a pat on the back. 

Some marketing performance indicators to better understand whether a new initiative has potential: email reads, webpage visits, clicks, form submissions, inquiries, or social media likes and shares. 

You want to figure out if your new idea has interest from the people you believe to be your target market.

Sales

Beyond general interest, are people willing and able to buy what you’re selling. Are you starting to build a sales funnel? Congratulations.

Prospects, opportunities, and the holy grail, closed business/new customers are great indicators. Don’t overlook the importance of “closed lost” or missed opportunities either. These folks can be a phenomenal source of feedback to help you refine your new offering and how you sell it.

Digital Transformation

Shifting from in-person to online interactions was already well underway prior to Covid-19. Just look at Amazon’s market cap if you need proof. 

In the banking world, ‘digital transformation’ has been a buzz word for years, and many businesses benefited from acceleration of online transactions when it came to PPP financing and forgiveness.

Nonetheless, the pandemic has certainly accelerated that shift to a way of doing business that is more friendly to Gen Xers and Millennials, where transactions may happen on a phone, and the product may be transferred in a shipping container or carry-out bag in the case of restaurants.

For all businesses, in-person meetings are a lot less frequent, even doctors. Zoom, Google Meet, and other video conferencing tools have replaced office visits and new, virtual reality-based meetings are even being implemented at some firms. Check out Spatial if you want to learn more.

The question for you: are you “transforming” your business? How is that going?

If you’ve made adjustments to how you interact with your clients and employees, now might be a great time to send out a survey. 

Some questions to ask: 

  • Could our new way of doing things be better?
  • Are we maintaining our culture?
  • Are we maintaining our standards?
  • Have adjusted sufficiently to prioritize growth over survival again?

 

Gig Economy

The combination of an unemployment rate that spiked dramatically in April and a workforce moving from the office to work-from-home has accelerated the adoption of the Gig Economy.

While you may not actually use Uber or Lyft, you’re certainly aware that there are viable alternatives to taxis operated by freelancers you can hire via apps.

Beyond driving, you can hire freelancers online to accomplish tasks like manning a chat service, graphic design, data management, website development and more. Online marketplaces have grown drastically. Fiverr has become more than 5 times more valuable this year. Upwork has nearly tripled in value.

Here at FINSYNC, our Services Network, specialized in accounting services, has grown dramatically.

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • Are you leveraging Gig Economy workers to enhance your operations and control costs?
  • Might your company benefits from being available through one of the many Gig Economy marketplaces?

We hope these alternative ways of looking at your performance are helpful as you prepare to emerge more successful than ever in 2021.