Market downturns. Political events. Natural disasters. Global pandemics. Your competitor’s next move. What else is waiting to disrupt your business? In today’s business environment, it seems the only certainty is uncertainty. Yet according to findings published in Vena’s 2020 Industry Benchmark Report, 51% of businesses don’t have a current business planning process to help them anticipate uncertainties and factors that are outside of their control.
Given the times and effects of the pandemic, which are likely to linger indefinitely, these insights gathered from the 350 business leaders shed a light on the importance of businesses having a planning process in place for anticipating uncertainty.
How can you lead your business through times of uncertainty with greater confidence and agility? It starts by planning differently.
Read on to discover three ways you can help your business plan for an uncertain future.
1. Unify Your Teams
As finance and operations professionals, your business is going to rely heavily on you to help plan through uncertainty. But in order for you to guide your business through change, you need to get a clear view of what’s happening throughout your entire organization. And that’s why cross-functional collaboration plays a key role in successful planning. When you can collaborate closely with other teams across different functions of the business—both internally and externally—you’ll have access to the right data to achieve more accurate forecasts and drive strategic business planning.
Technology enables this cross-functional collaboration at your company, making it easier and more efficient to bring people, processes and systems together into a single source of truth. From this centralized database, it’ll be simpler for you to anticipate dependencies and uncover efficiencies that are hiding in disparate data systems. It’ll also help streamline business processes, identify gaps in your workforce and align your entire organization with common goals.
What do finance teams need to know about business continuity planning? Find out here.
2. Reduce Risk With Rolling Forecasts
Rolling forecasts, an essential element of your risk management process, are ideal for planning through uncertain times and train you to be uncomfortable with your false sense of security. Creating rolling forecasts will help you understand, explore and devise plans for potential circumstances and challenges beyond your current fiscal year. And unlike static annual budgets which become outdated the moment change hits, rolling forecasts offer a reliable prediction of immediate, mid- or long-term results based on real-time actuals.
Collaboration also plays a key role in the forecasting process. With rolling forecasts software, you can create smart workflows to map out your processes, assign users tasks and create deadline alerts.
Looking for ad hoc reporting tools to help drive your business forward? Go here.
3. Shape Better Futures With Scenario Planning
Challenge your business plans and stay ahead of change with agile scenario planning.
Planning for uncertain futures entails plotting out various future scenarios with what-if analysis and identifying a gamut of possible outcomes, even if they make you feel uncomfortable. Not only will facing critical uncertainties in scenario planning help you map out potential futures, it’ll also make your business more flexible by adapting to change quickly.
You’ll always have your unknowns, but planning for the future with scenario analysis software will help you see how the decisions you make today will impact your bottom line tomorrow.
Learn 4 best practices for preparing for the future of your business with scenario modeling.
Plan for Today and Tomorrow
Uncertainty is the new normal and is likely to stick around indefinitely. But with the right tools, uncertainty doesn’t have to put you in perpetual panic mode. By leveraging what you don’t know and committing to flexibility, you can chart a way forward, minimize risk and be prepared to quickly adapt to any scenario.