The economy has taken a hit following the lockdown, with many businesses already closing. Surviving businesses will need to make some changes to stay afloat as the restrictions ease and the country returns to something that resembles normality.
Any budgets prepared before lockdown need to be reviewed and potentially revised. For most businesses, regardless of sector, income streams will be different or reduced and the type of expenditure required will also be different to that pre-lockdown. You may have taken advantage of government funding which may be coming to an end and will need to consider how to continue trading without this help.
You may have built up some reserves when times were good or have some assets you could consider selling to generate capital or reduce debt. If you are changing the way you do business, for example moving from office based to home based, your income and expenditure are also likely to change. Change doesn’t necessarily mean increase or decrease, the source of income or the items you are spending on may be different. Reviewing these areas and creating a revised budget will ensure you can continue trading under the new circumstances.
Lockdown has moved a lot of individuals and businesses online. Never before have we relied on the internet so much. Since people have been at home a lot more, the use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have increased. These platforms have also served as a communication tool: with reduced staff manning phone lines contacting businesses through social media has grown. This habit is likely to persist even after businesses start to move back towards pre-lockdown trading, so it is important to invest in a strong social media presence for your business. That investment could be in terms of time or of money, but should include some research to determine what works best for your business. Who are your target audience? Which platform(s) do they use? What sort of presence will they expect of you?
The way you marketed your business before lockdown may no longer be appropriate, especially if your business is operating differently now. You may wish to switch more of your marketing online, perhaps through your social media, or by investing in a new and improved website. You may wish to begin offering entirely new services online that will make your business more accessible, and reach out to those still shielding or isolating. This is valuable custom you can’t afford to miss out on.
Re-Consider Office Space
If you had business premises such as office space pre-lockdown, ask yourself if you still need it. If you have managed to continue operating successfully during lockdown with your employees working from home, is it more cost effective for you to continue doing so? Also consider the mental health aspects of keeping employees at home because many will miss the social interactions of working in an office, and that could impact your productivity in the long run. An alternative may be to just reduce the size of your office space, which will still cut costs, and have a rota system where employees are office based for some part of the week and home based the rest.
Health and Safety
If you do want to fully re-occupy your premises, be aware that they now need to meet the government’s new COVID safety guidelines. You may need to invest in PPE for staff or install temperature scanners and screens between desks and at service points. In addition, you will need to ensure all staff and visitors are aware of the guidelines on how to stop the spread of the virus and what is expected of them whilst on your premises. You may need to prepare new procedures and training materials. It is also very important to inform all your customers clearly about the safety measures you have implemented so that they can continue to trust in the safety of your products and services.
Invest in Employees
The changes to your business may require different skill sets to those that your employees currently possess. Giving your current employees the opportunity to develop or retrain is often more cost-effective than hiring new personnel because your current employees already know a lot about how your business operates, and already have a good understanding its core values.
In order to thrive post-lockdown, every business must be unafraid of making changes to keep up with the new normal.