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BUSINESSES IN LOCKDOWN
For many businesses, unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant activities grinding to a halt and left business owners anxious about their future. However, whether it’s coming up with new creative ways to keep your customers engaged or making those website changes you never got round to doing, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the most of this time so that when things get back on track, you’re more prepared than ever.
- Adapt – First and foremost, before you accept defeat and close up shop for the foreseeable, is there any way you can adapt your business so that you can still provide your service? Can you offer takeaway or delivery? Can you make your premises safe for customers to social distance? Can you hold meetings over zoom or skype? Where there’s a will, there’s a way and you don’t have to look far to find inspiration from other businesses who are changing the way they work during lockdown.
- Let people know you’re still there – Maybe you can’t provide your products or services during lockdown but the worst thing you can do is to just go quiet for months. Stay active on communications channels and let people know what you’re working on and what they can expect from you when you reopen.
- Make it interactive – remember that all your customers are experiencing lockdown too and there will be many who can’t work or who are working from home feeling bored or anxious about the situation. It couldn’t be easier nowadays to reach out and engage and it’s more important than ever when you can’t see your customers face to face. Why not go live with a Q&A, helpful tips or something fun like a quiz or home workout. Every business has something different to offer.
- Get everything perfect – Usually when we’re busy with the day-to-day stuff we often put off low priority tasks and it’s easy for standards to slip but if you have found yourself suddenly with endless amounts of time on your hands then there’s really no excuse for every aspect of your business not to be running smoothly. Take this time to audit yourself. Branding, important information and contact details should be consistent across all platforms and publications. Create a schedule for posting on social media and stick to it. Make sure your website is up to date and working properly. Get your accounts in order and set goals for when things are up and running again.
- Show your support – can you contribute PPE, host a fundraiser for NHS charities or offer a discount to frontline staff? Any gesture big or small will go a long way with customers and shows that in times of crisis you’re not just thinking about your own profits but looking for ways to support your community.
- Work on yourself – Take this time to deepen your knowledge and become more of an expert in what you already know. You may think you have it down to a fine art but there is always room for improvement. Or why not learn a completely new skill that could benefit your business, such as coding, SEO or web design? There are endless books, online courses and YouTube tutorials out there. It doesn’t need to break the bank and could really pay off in the future.
Finally, plan ahead – Now’s the time to get ahead of schedule and prepare for when things are back to normal, whether that’s brainstorming new ideas, creating content or making renovations to your workplace. This way, when you’re finally able to reopen you’re ready to go rather than being in a mad rush to get things moving again.