The Coronavirus pandemic and it’s affect on the world, life and business came pretty much out of nowhere earlier this year. In January we would never have believed what was in store for 2020; social distancing, lockdown and the disruption to businesses nationwide.
As the summer kicks in and we head through the middle part of the year though restrictions begin to ease, which means for many that business can begin again.
So, how do we best ‘bounce back’ to business after lockdown? Here are a few ideas and things to think about.
Don’t Stop Your Online Offering
We constantly hear the word ‘pivot’ at the minute, because that’s what many businesses did at the start of lockdown; they very cleverly pivoted and began online offerings, many where they didn’t have one at all before.
Just because the in person stuff is slowly starting again doesn’t mean you should stop the online side of things! We’re still very much in turbulent times, with the risk of second waves and local lockdowns still at large, not to mention that many people are nervous to get back into the normal swing of things with social distancing measures still in place.
Your online offering is still needed! So, keep it going.
And when things truly do get back to the way things were before, what’s to say the online offering has to stop at all? You have another string to your bow now – if it’s a profitable string, and is in line with your overall business strategy, keep it going!
Don’t Undersell Your Online Offering
Many people offered large discounts on prices for virtual and online offerings in recent months. Depending on what your online offering is, this discount might indeed be justified, as you may be incurring vastly less costs to perform your online offering.
If, however, your online offering is still very much the same as your in person offering – for example you provide and a service, and this service is based on your knowledge, skills and expertise – don’t under sell it. That knowledge, skill and expertise is still there virtually, as you still know everything you’d know if you were delivering your offering in person. Don’t devalue yourself, your knowledge and skills, or what you do.
Businesses have incurred additional costs implementing social distancing measures, and providing PPE and other items for staff and customers – these are additional costs that you wouldn’t have incurred before.
Do your prices reflect the additional costs you’ve incurred? When did you last have a price increase? Can you increase your prices now? Should you increase your prices now?
If you’re having to work in a very different way due to social distancing measures, and you’re incurring additional costs, the likelihood is your profit margin is going to take a hit as a result. You need to mitigate that hit the best you can – a price increase, even a marginal one, would be the first place to look to counteract that profit hit.
As businesses get back to it, it’s imperative that you communicate with your customers. Not only to let them know that you’re back up and running again, but to also let them know what to expect.
Do you have new processes in place because of social distancing? Let your customers know! Let them know what to expect. Communication is the best way to smooth the transition back to business.
Hopefully you’ve been in regular communication with your staff, even if they’ve been furloughed for a period of time. Despite this, you still need to have very open and honest lines of communication with them now.
They need to know your plans for getting back up and running, and how those plans affect them.
You need to be aware of their situation too; maybe they have childcare issues with schools, nurseries and play schemes not running as they normally would, maybe there are other personal circumstances to take into consideration.
The furlough scheme is now extended to 31st October 2020, and flexible furlough is in place – let your staff know what that means for them.
There are lots of factors that need to be considered relating to your staff when you get back up and running. Open and early communication is key for the smoothest transition here.