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Tips for building a good business strategy for 2021

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AWMAC by Michelle Morrell
Michelle Morrell is the National Executive Director of the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada. She can be reached at: michelle_morrell@awmac.com

A new year brings renewed hope that 2021 will be a year that allows the woodworking industry in Canada to bounce back with a sense of optimism, which will enable it to recover as much as possible from what was, a very difficult 2020.
The reality of the situation is that despite early indications that the COVID-19 crisis in Canada has now stabilized and is going in a positive direction in most parts of Canada, the fact remains the industry is not fully out of the woods yet.
Indeed, as noted from the results of AWMAC National’s Fall 2020 COVID-19 survey, a total of 72.73% of our respondents said they have been directly impacted financially due to COVID-19 related shutdowns. Only 22.73%
said they had not been, and 4.55% were unsure.
While in the last quarter of 2020, many businesses were able to reopen across Canada, many had to shut down again late in the year due to the rising threat of COVID-19.
With openings now on the horizon again, cautious optimism brings hope that things will stay open in a more permanent manner in 2021.
This brings to the forefront the need for businesses to make certain they have a proper business plan of action ready and waiting to tackle whatever 2021 brings.
It is becoming increasingly hard to foresee what the future holds, and as a result, many business owners may be asking what kind of strategic direction they need to take to help make the best out of 2021.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada  (CPA Canada) recently provided a list of 10 ways a business can pivot in times of COVID-19.
Among the tips, the first two the CPA notes are that businesses should “solve delivery dilemmas” early on and go “back to basics.”
The CPA gave an example of tissue products manufacturer Kruger Products, which pivoted to only make their high-demand products and not their regular full line. 
Other tips the CPA offers are to “provide entertainment” to your customers as well as to add new products to “your mix.”
Taking one’s business online as much as possible is something many businesses have had to quickly adjust to, although this does not apply to all businesses, strictly speaking in the woodworking industry.
A report from Entrepreneur offers good advice on how a business can build a “2021 Business Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty.”
The Entrepreneur report says that one way a business can be ready for 2021 is to develop a “multi-plan approach,” to strategizing, noting that it is a good idea to “have one or more backup plans for your business.”
Other areas the Entrepreneur report notes is that businesses should put the focus on what a business “can do” right now, even with current COVID-19 restrictions in place.
One example it gives is for a business to research new markets for potential expansion and diversification, along with engaging with customers “personally to deepen your relationship.
”The woodworking industry in Canada is resilient and AWMAC stands ready to assist our members with the resources they need to navigate successfully through the difficult times of COVID-19.
Please visit our comprehensive page dedicated to COVID-19 resources located at awmac.com/resources/covid-19.

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