How Clarity Can Help Grow Your Business

Amid a pandemic that continues to permeate operations and consumer preferences, small business owners are working hard to find clarity as they head into the new year.      

Planning for 2021 may take you beyond traditional processes – more complex than the typical look-back at your business and new year goals for growth.

Phil Bristol, founder and CEO of Projectivity Solutions, points to the unique challenges the pandemic brought to the table and ways to analyze them, as business owners look to 2021.

Some organizations, he says, are experiencing “scattered thinking” and a loss of focus and unity, which are integral parts of successful planning. Both have been impacted by the fact that more employees are now remote in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“How you will handle these issues will reflect how you lead,” writes Bristol in a Forbes blog post.

“Do you bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, or do you have a 360-degree view like an owl?”

The answer is clear, continue to face the post-pandemic challenges vs. burying your head as you look ahead. Successful planning for small businesses, regardless of your methodology, begins with research-driven data, he writes in a Forbes Coaches Council post.

Clarity Bolsters Your Decision-Making

Collecting and analyzing data will help you find clarity, and that will bolster your decision-making as you measure business performance and identify parameters and opportunities for growth in the new year.

“The companies that are going to win are the ones who are using data, not guessing,” said Neil Hoyne, chief measurement strategist at Google and a senior fellow at Wharton Customer Analytics.

Hoyne spoke with other experts and industry specialists at a virtual symposium called “The Use of Analytics and AI in a Post-pandemic World.” Some of that insight was shared in a blog posted by the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, including comments from Hoyne.

Some experts warned, according to the [email protected] blog post, that data analytics is at an inflection point,

“Data is ubiquitous, essential and beneficial — except when it’s not,” the blog said.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business in unexpected ways, rendering obsolete some of the data analytics that were useful before consumers radically shifted their consumption patterns.”

Clarity Not Easy In Uncertain Times

Even with data analysis, finding clarity amid the pandemic and the uncertain economy is certainly not a clear path.

Graeme Cade, executive vice president of the London-based data, research and advisory firm Savanta, says clarity right now is even more elusive for smaller businesses, compared to larger companies.

One reason for the difference, he says, is the obvious: the discrepancy in resources, including access to expertise.

“Larger businesses have HR departments, lawyers and compliance teams,” he writes in a blog for UK-based B2B Marketing. “Professionals well-versed at interpreting complex policies against a backdrop of ambiguity.

“Larger businesses may not be entirely clear what they are supposed to be doing, but they have the depth of resources to be confident in taking a ‘defendable position’. In other words, they feel increasingly confident to make their own decisions.”

Smaller businesses are unlikely to have such resources at their disposal, Cade adds.

“Interpreting policies may instead fall on the shoulders of the business owner or company directors – people skilled in their trade but often without much legal experience and with hundreds of other demands on their time.

“And for them, the ambiguity left by the policies does not lead to ‘defendable positions’ but rather to uncertainty, confusion and ‘fear of getting it wrong’.”

While Cade’s blog focused on policies coming out of London and Manchester, the point he makes can apply to small businesses in the U.S. as well. “The No. 1 thing small businesses need to get back to work is clarity. Straightforward policies, communicated simply and without ambiguity,” Cade writes.

He adds, “The silver lining is a big opportunity for B2B brands to stand out and make a positive impression by simply communicating with clarity and simplicity.”