Ready to reopen?
Get your business ready to thrive
Fingers crossed lockdown will begin to lift for many businesses on Monday 12 April. Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality look set to be released from restrictions on that date.
There will no doubt be tough times still to come. But if your business has managed to survive the unprecedented (no lockdown blog would be complete without using that word) challenges of the past 12 months, then things are hopefully looking up for you and your business.
We’ve put together some business ideas to help you reopen safely and (hopefully) successfully when lockdown finally lifts.
1. Retaining customers
Perhaps you won new customers during lockdown or maybe you had to shut your doors completely. Whatever the situation, retaining your existing or returning customers is important for your future success.
Personally connecting with your customers is key. Send your customers a (GDPR compliant) email or personal message. When you see them in person, thank them for their support. If it’s right for your business, surprise them with a gift. It can be small but it needs to be special, such as a small bag of luxury chocolates, or an extra item of something they regularly buy.
Consider introducing a loyalty scheme or offer – 20% discount if you introduce a friend, 10% off when you re-book your appointment, or a loyalty card e.g. buy 5 get the 6th free.
2. Tell people you’re open!
Get your marketing in order. Spend 30 minutes each day implementing your social media plan or connecting with your customers. Join a networking group to spread the word about you and your business.
See our five top tips for improving social media posts to help you get started.
3. Keep the good stuff
Has your business adapted during lockdown? Perhaps you’ve introduced a home delivery service or started selling online. Or perhaps you’ve used video conferencing, allowing you to drastically cut the time and travel costs associated with face-to-face meetings?
While some adaptations might be redundant once lockdown lifts, consider those that can continue to increase sales or reduce costs in the future. You might need additional resources, such as recruiting more staff to run the online business, or further adaptations to integrate them successfully into your long-term business plan.
4. Look after the pennies
Before re-opening, see if you can reduce your business costs and overheads?
If you run a fleet of vehicles that has been stationary during lockdown, you might be eligible for a refund from your insurance company. Talking of insurance, shopping around could reduce your premiums and while you’re at it, check your business utilities too. Use a comparison site to check electricity, Wi-Fi and mobile phone contracts against other providers, you might be surprised at how much you can save.
5. Generate confidence
Although lockdown is easing there are many people who are still extremely nervous about visiting shops and businesses.
Give people confidence that they can shop in your store or visit your workplace safely. Display your Covid safety policy clearly as well as those detailing how you expect your customers to play their part. There are many posters online from Kirklees that can be downloaded free of charge.
It should go without saying, but make sure you carry out your duties so that customers see you cleaning surfaces and chairs, or limiting the number of people in your store.
6. Take care of your staff
Returning to work can be a nerve-wracking time for people. Add the threat of a global pandemic and that worry can escalate. This is especially true for people who have been shielding or have underlying health problems.
Remember that your staff are just as important as your customers. Make sure you talk to them about their concerns, and put in place procedures to help allay their fears.
If possible, consider a phased return to work for vulnerable or anxious staff. Alternatively, change shift patterns allowing them to work when there are likely to be fewer people around. Be mindful of mental health issues. Displaying confidential helpline details in bathrooms and communal areas, gives your staff access to help without feeling singled out.
Remember that your staff are often the face of your business, so include them in your Covid plans and policies so they can help your customers feel confident too.