2020 has been a year like no other!
At 360 Growth Partners, our team of business, finance, marketing, HR and technology specialists have stayed close to our diverse range of clients, helping them adapt and find solutions through the most challenging of years.
Here, our experts share their insights and all they’ve learned from this most extraordinary of times – and what that means for growing your business in 2021.
Q: What are the key challenges businesses you work with have faced in 2020?
Our clients have reported two main challenges; dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 situation while planning for a post-Covid world. And also, switching to home-working, then dealing with feelings of isolation and the lack of support. Andrew Silver, Founder and Director
From a technological perspective, some businesses had to deal with staff with technical expertise becoming unavailable, and with that, others having to rapidly learn new skill sets and become more self-sufficient. In many cases, it’s been about the rapid adoption of technologies – but also ensuring the long term technological future of the business. Mark Jenkinson, Business Technology Associate
Businesses have been endeavouring to continue developing teams whilst working remotely, and trying hard to involve people and keep them engaged and motivated. Contrast that against a background of managing absence related to stress and mental health issues – from an HR perspective, that has been challenging for many businesses. Alice Ackroyd, Leadership Development & HR Associate
Q: How have you helped them overcome these challenges?
All of our clients have been impacted by huge changes in buyer behaviour. From a marketing perspective I have worked with them to adopt more of a customer-centric approach. Understanding the changing needs, wants and behaviours of audiences has never been more important. To be more responsive we have found more frequent and focused check-ins, being more collaborative, and adopting a solutions-based approach has really helped. Samantha Legget, Marketing Associate
Robust cash flow forecasting and scenario planning for different challenges and outcomes have been crucial. It’s been important to help businesses gain insights into their financial reporting and forecasting, helping them to understand where the business is and what the future might look like. Identifying possible cost savings was also key, as was reviewing profitability and helping drive through efficiencies. Sharon Coull, Finance Associate
Some of the businesses we work with have had the proverbial ‘kitchen sink’ thrown at them over the last 8 months and a listening ear with some sound advice has been much appreciated. Andrew Silver, Founder and Director
Q: What are the key challenges businesses will face in 2021?
Dealing with the ongoing uncertainty, the impact of that on mental health and helping teams manage constant change will be crucial. And no doubt Brexit will be an additional challenge to businesses who operate in the wider European market. Andrew Silver, Founder and Director
In some ways, the challenges of 2020 will remain the same in 2021. Investment decisions, how and when is the best time to invest in the business to support future growth or get the business back on track will be important. Cash flow will remain challenging too; how to keep business going whilst building up cash reserves for future challenges and to pay back any loans. Businesses will also need to continue to drive efficiencies, adapting to new ways of working whilst maintaining the rights controls and risk management. Sharon Coull, Finance Associate
Managing a hybrid working model of the home/office will be a key challenge. There is a great opportunity to find and attract new talent because our new working model means that talent doesn’t have to live locally, so roles will open up for people who wouldn’t normally be available. But with that comes the challenge of leading remote teams. Alice Ackroyd, Leadership Development & HR Associate
Q: Moving forward, how can businesses accelerate their growth in 2021?
Embrace the new Cloud collaboration tools that may have been thrust on you, but make sure you understand their benefits to the business. A clear technology strategy that reflects the business plan will help, along with a roadmap that can direct you through the process of delivering. Mark Jenkinson, Business Technology Associate
Find your purpose. Get serious about what drives you and what you want to achieve and stay focused on that vision. If you need to pivot then do it from your ‘why’, not your ‘how’ or ‘what.’ Also, be specific about your core audience; find out who they are and connect with them meaningfully over your shared sense of purpose. And finally listen, really listen. Get as close as you possibly can to truly understand the needs and behaviours of your well-defined audiences. Show you understand how they are changing and reflect this in everything that you do and say. Samantha Legget, Marketing Associate
Focus on what you can control. Prioritise ruthlessly – what can make the greatest impact on your future? Stay focussed on your values, your sense of ‘why’ and ensure any changes you make are in line with these. Andrew Silver, Founder and Director