2020 – Plan B!

Can you measure success in a pandemic?

Over the years we have been involved with various manufacturer-supported finance programmes designed to increase sales of specific products during a promotional period. No doubt, you will be familiar with them. When planning the scope, we have always asked the commissioner of any project to consider what they believe “success” should look like.

It is an old business truism that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. However, the number of seasoned business people who are unprepared for this question, because they have not determined what the successful outcome of the project should look like, is a frequent surprise. If that simple objective has not been shaped, how can any degree of success be measured.

If the objective was to sell 5 units, then sales of 10 can be considered an overwhelming success, and the exercise is probably worth repeating. But if the objective was to sell 50, then I imagine 10 units would be a great disappointment. However, if there was no set objective, how can the sale of 10 units be declared a success or a failure? And what happens next?

Adamantean has now reached the end of our fourth year, and what a year it has been! When we prepared our last annual review, like many others we were full of ambition and plans for 2020. We had successfully completed our first three years of trading and felt the company should no longer be considered a start-up. Q1 began very well, in line with all of our forecasts,

and then…

We parked our immediate plans and agreed that our key performance indicators should be reduced to a single objective – Survival!

Well, they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger [apparently] and I am delighted to report a 100% achievement of our goal! From where we sit now, with a completely different perspective to the one we had twelve months ago, success looks pretty good.

I believe even the most seasoned of campaigners among us will confess to having learned a fair bit this year. I expect many more small business owners now have a much closer relationship with their cash-flow forecast than before, even though accurate forward planning currently bears comparison to alchemy.

The release of the first viable vaccine, with others reportedly close to approval, is obviously encouraging news, but they are clearly going to take time to deploy across populations (plural!) before any pre-CoVid normality is likely to resume. And so, for many businesses, future trading opportunities remain volatile and uncertain (as if the Brexit trade negotiations were not enough!).

As the new year begins and trading activities rise, there will be varied demands on the liquidity of your business. Many of these will be challenges where Adamantean can provide a solution, or at least an option, especially as the CBILS deadline has again been extended, to 31st March.

For now, forward planning extends as far as spending Christmas in our family bubbles and making the most of what is actually important (whether that’s time with your loved ones, or watching the telly!), but we do have one eye on next year, so watch this space.

In the meantime, we wish you and your families a well-earned and restful Christmas, and a much-improved 2021 for us all.

…and for everyone who has supported us this year, enjoy your sprouts.