Business Strategies in 2023: Why 5-Year Plans Are Now Too Long

While it’s never been simple, strategic planning for a business used to be somewhat straightforward. Leaders within an organization would typically come together and create a business plan that went five, seven, and—sometimes—even ten years into the future. 

But, in 2023, the landscape for forecasting where your business will be down the line is much different than it was even five years ago. 

Those responsible for corporate strategic planning have had to pivot the way they map out the development of their business due to a number of factors—the most obvious being the aftermath of COVID-19.

In this article, you’ll find out what’s changed when it comes to strategic planning for your business, and how to create a plan that will be more dynamic in 2023—and into the future.

Approaches to Strategy That Used to Work

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There’s no denying that, pre-pandemic, in-office work, strategic leadership summits, and long-term business plans were the norm. 

It was common for leaders from across an organization to take time out of their regular responsibilities to gather off-site and devise ways to continue to build the company. 

The scope of these strategic planning sessions usually involved various facets of the business, including:

  • Employee growth
  • Financial forecasts
  • Marketing operations

The purpose of these events was to build alignment within an organization and anticipate future requirements of the business. The resulting plan usually mapped out multiple years at a time.

Why Old Strategic Planning Processes Won’t Perform in 2023

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Although the building blocks of your strategic plan can likely stay the same, it’s important to understand why the old standard format is no longer viable.

Today’s business leaders need to be flexible when it comes to the strategy of their business development. This can be attributed to a number of challenges that have surfaced within the corporate world over the last several years.

In the Digital Age, Markets Are Shifting Faster

Due to the rise of e-commerce platforms and digital consumerism, your customers and target audiences are constantly evolving. 

Through data and online analytics, organizations are able to gain insights into what their clientele want—and what they don’t want. Your customers know this, and expect you to take immediate action in order to service their needs. It’s important for organizations to be adaptable to ever-changing consumer pain points.

And with a corporation’s unique value proposition often explicitly stated on their website, competitors can attempt to replicate a business’ offerings and one-up their products or services. This means you can no longer depend on things like customer loyalty.

The balance of power between employers and employees is also constantly influx. Recessions come and go, sometimes with little warning. Industries boom—until they don’t. 

Without a flexible business plan that allows for change, you may end up operating at a loss due to incorrectly forecasting your employee and customer wants and needs.

Employee Expectations Have Changed

Prior to COVID-19, most employees understood that they would be expected to go into a brick-and-mortar office building. Five days a week, for some variation of 9-to-5, people would leave their homes to go to work—no questions asked. 

In 2023, performing your role in-office is no longer the norm. This is due to employees and organizations alike recognizing that certain roles not only can be done outside an office, but a large number of people are actually more productive and efficient when working from home.

That said, everyone is different. Some individuals may want to work entirely from a space in their house or apartment. Others may prefer a hybrid arrangement, splitting their time between their home office and a corporate workplace. While still another subset may feel like they’re the most productive in an environment provided by their employer. 

Of course, this makes planning for your office space needs—especially over the course of many years—quite challenging.

3 Ways Organizations Can Improve Their Strategic Planning

People working in a spatially diverse office space

While you navigate changing times, here are three ways you can make your strategic planning more dynamic this year—and beyond.

1. Condense Your Timeline

Don’t spend more time than you need to on forecasting for an uncertain future. By tightening up your strategic plan to look one to two years ahead, instead of five or ten, you can more easily adapt to an every-evolving digital world.

Having a shorter time frame to focus on can also enable you and your leadership team to dig deeper into your short-term business development goals.  

2. Offer Flexible Office Arrangements

Three years ago, the majority of business leaders assumed their employees would always work in the office five days per week. Remote work wasn’t even on the horizon.

And because of that, the idea of signing a costly 10-year lease on a large-scale office space wasn’t a daunting proposition. It was the status quo.

Fast forward to today, fluctuation and uncertainty are the only things that seem certain, and suddenly, signing a six-figure (or higher) commercial real estate lease feels unwise. Being tethered into inflexible terms doesn’t make sense. 

But a better solution has emerged in recent years: flexible office spaces that provide fully-appointed furnished suites without tying you into long-term commitments.

They also: 

  • Prioritize spatial diversity that accommodates every workstyle
  • Enhance your employee value proposition which supports employee engagement as well as talent acquisition and retention 
  • Make it easier to get your team’s buy-in for the return to in-person work by transforming the office from a place where they have to be into one where they want to be 

A dynamic workspace like And-Co, lets you have flexibility when it comes to one of the biggest line items in your budget—your office space.

3. Consider Hiring Fractional Roles

If you’re looking to fill leadership positions within your company, you may think you need to account for a large six-figure salary over the next five-to-ten years. However, many organizations are now taking advantage of what the freelancer market has to offer. 

Fractional C-Suite or director employees provide companies with guidance and expertise at the leadership level—for a fraction of the cost of a full-time, permanent hire. These professionals can support your organization in creating a foundation of operational excellence within their department.

Whether you’d like to engage a fractional director on a part-time basis or for a six-month contract is entirely up to you—and your short-term strategic business plan.

The strategic plan of ten, twenty years ago was one that leaders set in stone and companies lived by, sometimes for a decade at a time. Often, it did well in its rigidity. 

But in 2023, as the world emerges from the effects of the pandemic, employees, workplaces, and businesses have changed. Corporate strategic plans must change with it. 

If you’re in search of a modern, full-service, and flexible workspace and community with sustainability at its core, book a tour of And-Co today.

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