There is no getting away from it, we have tried! The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos for business owners all over the world. While some diversified and continued, and others reopened several months ago. Some depending on the business chose or were forced to others to wait longer to start trading once more.
If your business is ready to start welcoming customers once more, you need to come up with plans to ensure your doors (metaphorically speaking) stay open consistently and effectively. This, inevitably, means navigating challenges and rethinking the ways in which your business operates. Here are six key strategies that might help.
1.Defining Your Vision
If you are thinking about restarting operations, it is feasible that your business model may look very different to how it did before. The products and services you offer may now be limited, or you may have needed to completely restructure your business. You need to reassess your operation with your customers and the economic climate at the present time in mind. This may mean drawing up a new business plan which you can rely on to give you guidance when planning for reopening.
2.Communicate Openly with your team
Even if you do not yet have a definite date when you are going to reopen your business, it is still important to communicate frequently and openly with your tea. If you have furloughed staff or sadly been forced to make redundancies you need to speak with them and let them know what you’re able to do for them, if anything, in terms of hours, pay and positions. You should also be prepared to discover some employees may not be returning for various reasons. You may need to act rapidly to fill vacancies so be ready.
3. Remember Social Distancing
Depending on the type of business you are running, a key challenge could come in the form of social distancing. You need to design your business practice with these measures firmly in mind. By making some changes you can provide assurance to both staff and customers that you are taking all practical measures to keep them safe. Consider allowing staff to continue working from home, implement restructuring and barriers, come up with a sanitation plan and think about whether staff need to wear PPE.
4.Check in with your suppliers
Even if your business is ready for reopening, your suppliers might not yet be operating at full capacity and so waiting times for deliveries could be an issue. Work out the sizes, dates, and items for each order you are going to need while you ramp up your operations once more and contact each supplier to confirm they can still fill your orders. Do not overlook new items you may need like hand sanitiser and PPE. You may have to find new suppliers to supply these for you but ensure you look for the best price.
5.Build up publicity
Although it is important to keep your costs down currently, you still need to retain some publicity and marketing budget. Creating more awareness about your reopening may be vital to your success, however, to achieve this you will need resources and time, so come up with a plan now so your customers are aware of your reopening timeline. If you have changed your working times, then make sure customers know that you have changed your opening times to facilitate your staff not travelling during peak times etc. We can all play our part in keeping the number of cases of COVID-19 under control.
6. Stay Flexible and Pro-active
The times today are unprecedented, and that means you are bound to face some unforeseen challenges and difficulties as your business reopens. This means that staying flexible is paramount. You need to be ready to adapt and adjust as challenges arise and situations change. Approach reopening with this firmly in mind and you will have the best chance of negotiating the changing business landscape during this crisis successfully. Remember proactive is always better than reactive!