Preparing to get back to business
I know that the UK is still very much in lockdown. But now is the time to start thinking about how to re-open your business and what that will look like. Everyone is dealing with different struggles from those who have had to close altogether. Those who have continued with skeleton staff and/or switching to online and those who have thrived due to their business offering within the pandemic. To all of them my advice falls into the following points below:
Start Planning Now
We know that this won’t last forever and eventually things will go back to some kind of normal – a new normal maybe. Whatever that may be, your business needs to be ready and waiting for customers. People will be desperate to find their own kind of normal too, no matter if that is to book a holiday, get a haircut or buy a house.
Start to think how your business will serve clients with social distancing in place, limited staff or restricted business hours. We have seen lots of businesses adapt in the last few weeks from pubs that are closed providing meals on wheels, fashion designers making scrubs and face masks, and offline businesses switching to online video courses: now is the time to plan and adapt.
A great example of this is a local spa sending out a questionnaire via social media to ask their customers to ask what treatments they will want. How they feel about certain aspects like restricted days/hours. Do they want to see all staff in face masks, plastic shields used and if people could pay will card only.
Not only does this feedback help the business to prepare for re-opening with greater customer lead insight, but reassures the customers that they are thinking ahead with the customers safety in mind.
Plan the Safest Return
Think through how to keep your staff and customers safe once reopened. How to offer your products or services without a crowd. What hygiene measures you will need to take/provide. Where can you source (or make) masks for staff and customers. How will you ensure your customers feel safe to come back to you.
Communicate to Your Customers and Staff
As with most things, communication is key. Make sure you keep in touch with your customers and staff alike, call or email to check that they are safe and well, tell them your plans for re-opening, offer a welcome back deal/gift/code etc. Post on social media similar messages, run competitions, show them the steps you are taking to protect them all, provide positive or inspirational content and ultimately stay front of mind.
Communicate to Suppliers
As lockdown does start to ease check in with any suppliers and associates to see how they are and how they will be working going forward, is there anything you can do to support each other, will their business times coincide with yours, how will they safely serve you, have their products or services altered at all in this period?
Brainstorm New Initiatives
Has your business offering changed or will it need to change to adapt to the opening up phase? How can you resume your business under restricted measures? Think creatively about your business and your marketing, keep it real, helpful and up to date with new ideas and content generation. Look at what your competitors are doing and saying, think of the target market you want to sell to – where are they and what do they need?
Always Look After Existing Customers
Focus marketing efforts on the existing customer base and market to them first and foremost, send out content with business news, new products or services, support for payment, create special offers to encourage repeat purchase discounts or loyalty offerings, use social media channels to target look-a-likes etc. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers therefore look after them first, keep them safe, feeling looked after and they will hopefully return to you.