One of the most challenging periods for most UK businesses is hopefully behind us now, and many are looking to getting back on their feet. However, with a surge of online companies booming, in-person businesses have struggled the most. Some have been able to pivot, offering online shopping, adapting product ranges and allowing for click and collect options. But for some industries, such as hospitality, it has not been feasible. In order to survive throughout restrictions, businesses need to be more adaptable and versatile than ever before. We’re sharing the top 6 ways to ensure your business survives life after Covid:
1. Get to know your customers better
Whether you’re a product or service-based business, your customers or clients will be at the heart of what you do. If it weren’t for them, your business wouldn’t exist, so take this time to get to know them better. Ask for feedback on your range of products or services and find out what it is that they do and don’t like about your business. Get to know your market better by doing some market research and offer incentives for those who participate. From these insights, you’ll be able to adapt your offerings and measure your customer satisfaction metrics. Tailor your business to what your customers want and value, and this will keep them coming back after Covid.
2. Prioritise employee health and wellbeing
Employing a workforce is a big responsibility. Depending on your industry, staff will either have been furloughed, working from home or may have been working throughout the pandemic. Now is the time to take extra care of them, as these are the people behind your business and its success. Could they continue to work from home if they want to? Are you able to offer more flexible working, such as job sharing, training opportunities and part-time hours? Talk to each team and ask for their honest input about how they feel about working after Covid. Some may be ready to go back to normal immediately; others may find normalcy a little overwhelming and need extra time. Prioritising your staff’s health and wellbeing shows you value your employees, and in return, they will give you their best work.
3. Embrace technology
For most industries, technology has revitalised the way we work. Computers are continually able to do so much more as we utilise them for our businesses. Look into new programmes, tools and systems you might want to put in place and allow staff time to learn how to use them to the best of their abilities. Perhaps it’s time to transform your digital presence or increase your social media usage? If so, consider hiring an extra pair of hands to help with your new strategies. Technology doesn’t have to be a hindrance; it can help you run your businesses much more smoothly in life after Covid.
4. Improve communication with all stakeholders
The pandemic has highlighted how many companies need to improve their communications, not only with customers but staff, suppliers and the local community. Whilst communication with customers is a high priority; it often means other stakeholders suffer. Customer services are vital but forming effective relationships with suppliers and employees means your business can keep operating too. On top of this, involving the local community in your business can work both ways. Offering support to those around you means they will return the favour if needed. Positive business stories are hard to come by, but working with your stakeholders can only improve the relationships made.
5. Rethink your finances
Finances are tight for many businesses, with a lot of companies forced to shut for months on end. Now is the time to look at your accounts and see if you can make any changes. Can you reduce spending by changing suppliers, being more energy-efficient or moving to cheaper premises? Alternatively, find ways to increase your income. Sell old stock off that is no longer needed, offer new products or services and think about multiple income streams. Try to think outside the box and get your brainstorming head on. This is the perfect opportunity to speak to your employees across departments as they may have ideas you’ve never thought of before.
3. Adapt your business plan
The way you run your business may need to change after Covid. Now is the perfect opportunity to review where you are, where you want to be and make any changes necessary. Take it right back to basics and go over your original business plan. Maybe your values have shifted as a business, or perhaps you want to expand sooner than you initially planned. Add in some competitor research and learn from others in your industry. You could chat with other local business owners and look into possible collaborations or general support for one another. The possibilities are endless here, but it all starts with setting up your business plan.
Now more than ever, customers want to help smaller, local businesses thrive. Life after Covid will be a challenge for many organisations, but by addressing the above points, you can set yourself up for a successful future.