Today is the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown. We’ve spent over a year trying to negotiate our businesses around the Covid-19 restrictions. Stay at home, save lives, don’t go to work. And some businesses have coped well with the shift to online servicing, while others, such as pubs, clubs, and most retailers, will be welcoming a full return to the workplace.
But when can you reopen, and what steps should you be taking to prepare your business for reopening?
Prepare your physical space
Your shop or office has been mothballed for months, so it will need a good spring clean. Make your window display as welcoming as possible in order to entice nervous customers in. It’ll definitely be a good idea to stock up on Sanitiser!
Restrictions will still be in place for some considerable time, so ensure that you stay on top of the relevant rules and regulations surrounding Covid. You can find a link to the government advice here.
Respect that many of your customers might still be nervous about being inside your shop or office, so set out your space to accommodate them.
Plan your Pandemic response
OK, I’ll say this quietly. This may not be the last restriction we face, especially in retail. France and Italy are right now in the middle of further lockdowns, so we have to at least plan for the eventually that we might face further restrictions.
What lessons can you learn from 12 months ago? What slight changes can you make to lessen the impact that more restrictions might cause? Is there any technology you can introduce into your business to make the customer journey easier? We’ve all seen an increase in the use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which have given us some sense of connectivity. It will be so nice when we are eventually able to sit and chat over a coffee, or a glass of wine. But remember, some customers will still prefer to do business remotely. Have you made allowances for not been quite ‘back to normal’? At Hullabaloo we have been helping clients increase their use of technology throughout the pandemic so that they can serve clients more effectively and efficiently. Is there anything we can help you with? We offer a free initial call to look at your processes, and you can contact us here.
There will be no return to normal
The Covid-19 pandemic WILL change the world. I don’t think we will ever return to the normal that existed a year ago. Travel will change. Connectivity will change. Relationships will change. And there will be monitoring of the virus for years to come. Nobody expects Coronavirus to suddenly disappear just because the pubs are open. What needs to happen in your business to accommodate this? What is your business’s roadmap out of lockdown?
Communicate, communicate, communicate!!
We had a new client call on Zoom yesterday and agreed that he is going to really ramp up his client communication in the run-up to May 17th. We’ve put together a Social Media Strategy that will see up to 10 pieces of social media content released each day until he is able to restart trading. You can’t post too much – Organic reach on Facebook, Instagram etc is down. A simple Facebook post each day just won’t cut it anymore. And in the fight to regain market share, content truly is king. Your previously loyal client base is more fickle than you realise. Get in front of them now. Remind them of your existence. Remind them of your awesomeness! What is your content strategy? Do you have a content strategy? Email us to get a copy of our 2021 Content Calendar Template.
Think of the next few weeks as your ‘Chrysalis Stage’ and decide what colour Butterfly you want to be when you do reopen. Could a rebrand help the visibility of your business? What message do you want to create? What content is your website, or Social Media missing? This is such a great opportunity to reimagine your amazing business, and create a picture of who you want to be. We can help with brand positioning, logo design, website design, content creation, etc. You can take a look at our services page and see if there is anything we can help with. Ensure that when that time comes, your customers are clamouring to return to you. If you communicate now, and do it consistently, your clients will be more likely to choose you than your silent competitors.
Where’s your head at?
Apart from the financial implications of the Covid lockdown, there are the mental health costs. Yours. your customers, and your staff. How will you monitor your own state of mind? What do you need to do to ensure your staff feel safe and valued? We’ve had a huge shift to spending more time locked up indoors, and we are about to experience a huge shift moving back to ‘freedom’. It won’t be an easy ride for many people. MIND have written a fantastic article, and produced a ‘Return to work Toolkit’ which is well worth taking a look at.
Importantly, as a business owner, you don’t necessarily have someone at work to take care of your mental health. We can burn ourselves out at work at the best of times. So how are you going to manage your own mental health? Could you buddy up with an accountability partner, and check in with each other on a daily, or weekly basis? Would joining a networking group help? How could your partner, or other family help? Your business has survived the last 12 months. Don’t let your own state of mind be the nail in the coffin. Spend lots of time in your happy place. Eat and sleep well, and don’t try to do everything!
Plan your roadmap out of lockdown
Whatever your plan out of lockdown is, write it down. If it isn’t written down, it’s simply a dream. Your plan might be a checklist, or it might be a page in a planner. Whatever it is, use it as a living document. Make space in your diary to review it at least weekly so that you can respond to any issues in good time. At Hullabaloo we use a traffic light system to keep us on track with our internal processes, and our client work. Could this work for you?
What is OUR roadmap out of lockdown?
Here at Hullabaloo we take our mental health very seriously. That’s not a weakness. It’s one of our strengths. We watch out for each other, and we make the office environment a pleasant and supportive one. We will continue to help each other as individuals, both in terms of workflow and happiness.
With regards to workflow, there could be times when one of us has a much greater workload than others. So, we have a weekly meeting where we go through both our client task list, and our internal task list, to make sure that no individual bears too much of the load. Part of this involves individual team members upskilling, which has certainly been a useful exercise.
We’re trying to find the positives in everything around us. We’re actively looking at ways that we can make our business better – for US, and for YOU. We’ve developed a roadmap for process improvement, so that we provide a better service, and ensure business continuity should the worst happen (again) (Please, no!)
Give us a call. We’d love to help you – whether that’s developing your own roadmap out of lockdown, or helping with developing or managing a Social Media Strategy. You can find our contact details at the top of the page, or here.