Some points to consider when we re-open business in stages 3 and 2 of Covid19
Much has been written about Covid19 and we are saturated with news on the TV every day and night. For you, the business owner there has been a lot to absorb so I am not going to repeat anything here about what is available to you for assistance.
Except to say:
- Every business owner, whether they employ people or not are entitled to some Government assistance if Covid19 has resulted in a 30% or more downturn of business. If you are one of those and you haven’t applied for the subsidy do so now. It is easy enough to do and your accountant should help you. Whether or not you employ people, you are also entitled to apply for yourself under the self employed category.
- Your bank can also help you. Again talk to your accountant. The cost of doing a projection for the bank will be far outweighed by the benefit of some bank assistance over this difficult period. There may also be funding available for ongoing assistance from your adviser, particularly if you are an employer, and your adviser is an accepted provider under the scheme. Let me know if you need any assistance in that area.
So what now? How do you get ready to re-open? It certainly won’t be the same under level 3 and probably also under level 2. Here are some points to consider:
- There are some new rules for the foreseeable future. We will need to keep social distancing at the forefront which means less contact with customers. There will be many things that people won’t want to touch – menus, doors, maybe even stock on the shelves, pens, even business cards – the list goes on.
- What will people be avoiding? They won’t want to touch anything. How do we make our business contactless? For example if you are used to selling your products at markets, what now? Have you taken details of the people who buy your products so that you have a sound base to launch your business online? If not can you use social media or the likes of Amazon to re-launch your products?
- What are we doing under the present restrictions that work well? Are you doing more mail order/phone business? Can your people continue working from home successfully? The Zoom meetings have come into their own during this period. How can they figure in the future?
- How can we re-launch? What publicity can we get? Local newspapers will be hungry to print success stories for a while. Contact them and tell them in a prepared article how you have adapted, or intend to adapt. What online strategies can you launch?
- And then there’s the personal side of being an employer. How do we get our people back to being involved with the business? How do we keep them enthused when everything is different?
- Check your customer base to see who is still trading. Phone them, visit them if possible, work on rebuilding the relationship. It will take time – just like when you started building your business initially. You’ve already done it once, so you’re now an old hand.
- Don’t be tempted to discount. Bundle up some bonus deals to reward customers for staying loyal.
- Keep networking. It won’t be possible under the old BA5 events for a while but you can still do face to face individually, or online via Zoom.
This list is not exhaustive, and I am grateful to Australian Business Coach Brad Sugars, and local fellow business consultant Richard Gee from Geewhizz, for providing most of the basics for this article.
Every business is different, and not all of the points above will be specific to yours, but hopefully there is something you can take from them.
You can survive, you will survive – you will probably just need to accept that you will be doing a lot of things differently.
One last thing. Don’t forget to have a laugh every day to keep your face in the right mood. And if anybody asks you how you are, use the Winston Marsh tactic of saying every time somebody says how are you, that you are Fantastic!