It’s good to look back at 2020, and what an unusual year it was.
COVID-19 is the absolute keyword for 2020, and it has impacted us individual stock market investors, as well as businesses and companies in the stock markets.
The impact, however, can either be positive or negative.
Some companies have to close their doors forever, others did what they could to survive. And then there were those companies that thrived and generated record revenues, along with their spiking stock prices.
As we look ahead to the next 12 months, this is our chance to use what we’ve learned during the challenges – the lockdowns, the disruption across industries, and the financial impact. It’s our chance to double down and get clear about what we need to do for 2021.
We are heading into our first full year since the onset of Covid and we know it’s not business as usual. We had heard a lot initially about needing to pivot, to change in order to survive, to be flexible and resilient. There were great examples of companies doing this, especially in the short term to respond to urgent needs. Now we are looking longer term to establish what’s best for business.
Which companies will win in 2021?
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to turn a company’s business plan upside down.
But there are some good things we can take from 2020 that have had a positive impact on companies as well as their stock prices. To list a few,
Innovation: Many companies needed to pivot quickly and come up with new offerings, services, and ways to operate during lockdown. Examples included a gin distillery that started manufacturing hand sanitiser, and local fashion brands manufacturing face masks. What is interesting is how fast those businesses can adapt to changing markets when in a crisis. Keep an eye on the companies pivoting successfully and successfully, those are the gold in the market.
Efficiency: There has been a monumental shift in the way people work. This has also brought time and cost savings, has resulted in excellent staff productivity, and increased efficiency in a lot of instances. And this shift is here to stay, even after Covid. Businesses that adopted various ways of working more efficiently during 2020, are expected to continue doing so in 2021. And those companies have a head start.
Relationships: Business is built on relationships. While WFH (work from home) can provide efficiency, it can also undermine relationship-building, especially with the most valuable clients. Companies having a good solution to maintain or even enhance the customer relationship in 2021 are expected to grow fast.
Technology: Businesses, especially the traditional ones, need to invest in technologies and move online. This would already have been on the ‘To Do’ list for many companies, but Covid-19 meant they needed to take action quickly if they were going to survive. Through social media, e-newsletters, online marketing, Google Adwords, re-marketing, creating e-commerce sites, etcetera, we needed to be seen online and be found. Failing to do so will probably result in shrinking customer base and revenue.
Moving forward, technology needs to be invested in. Look at the company’s marketing spend, software. Upgrade the services, online marketing, and pay the experts for help. This is not a cost but an investment.
Supporting local business: There was the shift to ‘shop local’ and support local in 2020. Suddenly people were buying vouchers for coffee we wouldn’t be redeeming for weeks. People were looking for ways to buy from small businesses, because they knew it could make the difference between them staying in business or shutting their doors.
Keep an eye on the small local businesses, as well as the big companies helping those small businesses. They may come up on top in 2021.
Look for companies fitting all of the 5 points above, those are the gold in the market, and it is highly likely that those companies can come up top during 2021.