skip to content

Prioritizing your strategic initiatives during uncertainty


When the economy changes or an unexpected event disrupts your business, the strategic initiatives you charted for your organization may not seem as urgent as they did before. And if they do still top your agenda—you may wonder whether you can or should allocate the necessary resources.  

As you weigh competing initiatives for your business, follow these four steps to choose the projects to implement.

A four-step model to green-light (or red-light) your project 

1. Define the barrier to investment

Before prioritizing your initiatives, it may help to isolate the exact reasons you are reluctant to move the project forward. Are these common barriers stalling your investment?

  • Business and industry uncertainty
  • Reduced cash flows and declining revenue
  • Staffing concerns

2. Evaluate your project portfolio

Examine each of your projects, and measure them against these key questions.

Does the initiative...

  • maximize my return on investment?
  • align with my strategic priorities, vision, and mission?
  • take into account the changing landscape and potential ‘new normal?’
  • prioritize health and safety?
  • grow and help my company diversify, reach customers faster?
  • help the organization as a whole—not just one business unit?

3. Take a tiered approach

Rank your projects and assign them time windows. Choose some for now and save others for later—based on their risk and return.

  • Tier 1 – Immediate term: 0 to 6 months
  • Tier 2 – Medium term: 7 months to 2 years
  • Tier 3 – Long-term: 2 to 5 years

4. If financials are the issue... 

The budget sometimes won’t support investing dollars in the immediate term. But consider these workarounds and next steps.

Review your operations or financials, redefining your corporate costs structure on fixed and variable costs, and lower costs by increasing technology or automation.

How to implement:
Ensure you have the tools and skills required to make financial projections, capture critical scenarios, and incorporate the impact of key variables.

By shifting your staff from a less important project to a top strategic initiative, you can gain maximum value with no added cost.

How to implement
Lean on your business intelligence process to gain actionable insights on how to redeploy staff.

By measuring performance with key performance indicators like liquidity, you can identify when the organization can invest once again.

How to implement
Proactively reassess your plans based on your results and the latest facts—not the projections from the previous month.

In an unpredictable environment, it can be difficult to make plans for strategic growth. Volatility works both ways, however. You may be able to launch your projects sooner than you expect.

How to implement
Make sure to save the notes from this exercise to prioritize your strategic initiatives when your budget allows. That being said, reassess those priorities against the business landscape when you do return to investing in your strategic initiatives.

BDO can help

We can help you prioritize your strategic initiatives no matter what business conditions you're facing. 

Contact our Strategy & Operations team

This site uses cookies to provide you with a more responsive and personalised service. By using this site you agree to our use of cookies. Please read our privacy statement for more information on the cookies we use and how to delete or block them.

Accept and close