For hospitality, arts and fitness businesses, times are tough. As social distancing restrictions continue and cash flow remains minimal, what are the ways that you can keep going despite the difficult circumstances following COVID 19?
Adapt rather than anticipate
At the start of the lockdown, many took a “light at the end of the tunnel” approach and considered closing their premises a temporary situation. However, as the pandemic stretches on with no clear sign of things returning to normal, businesses need to change tact.
Instead of waiting for the day when you will be able to open once more, make changes now that will mean you can get on with generating business. While you don’t need to abandon your old business model completely, all businesses in the most hard-hit industries must change how they operate if they are to come out the other side.
Focus your offering
With the furlough scheme continuing, you may not have enough staff back at work to serve customers throughout the day. In this case, it may be better to open for limited hours or on certain days of the week rather than stretch yourself to operate as usual.
Anytime that you are open at the moment will be challenging. To protect your mental health, you may benefit from several short shifts and long breaks. This will give you headspace and time to clean without rushing. Then when you do open, you can be alert, calm and give your business your absolute best.
Meet customers where they are at
You may be legally allowed to open to the public, however, there is no guarantee that customers will feel confident enough to come to your premises. Try as you might with Perspex screens, visors and hand sanitiser, many would still rather stay in the safety of their home.
Rather than try to open as soon as possible, you may be better off making your delivery or collection service sustainable long-term. This will also improve your resilience since a second-wave or local lockdown will not hit you as hard as having to close your physical space again.
Most hospitality, arts or fitness businesses are strapped for cash at the moment. This makes it even more difficult to open or start a new service. However, there are ways of supporting your cash flow. First and foremost, make sure you’ve taken advantage of all the government’s grants that are available for businesses affected by COVID 19. After that, you may find help from regional funding, investors or loans. See our blog on funding for SMEs for more information.
Make an action plan
Though your motivation might be waning, a clear course of action can pick up your spirits. Got a vision for how you could draw in your customers? With the right skills, resources and plan, you can make the change.
Do you need training to learn how to market what you’re doing? Do your team need an incentive to help you start a new scheme? Do you need a new piece of equipment to make sure your staff will be safe at work? Clearly identifying how you’ll reach your goal will increase your chances of making it happen.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we can share our experiences of creating an orbit which takes into consideration how to plan across all aspects of your business.
If you’re struggling to see the wood for the trees and need someone with a little more experience to help you get through this tricky time, reach out. Most local governments have a business support programme for SMEs in the region which can provide you with training, coaching or even funding. Our team of associates at CDI Alliance are on hand to answer questions you have on topics ranging from sales to operations to finances. We can help you with a new business plan taking into consideration the changes you’ve had to face.
Recognise small successes
Remember that you’re human as well as a business owner. If you make progress by putting your products online, praise yourself! If you successfully deliver a meal, give credit where it is due!
Adapting your business in the pandemic won’t take one big leap of confidence, but several small steps in the right direction.