Re-opening your business after lock down will be like starting all over again.  So why not take the opportunity to change things up – not just because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to make your business better.

The market place may have changed – so change with it, and get ready to make the most of the opportunities out there!

Here’s our 9 step plan to re-think, re-invent and re-open your business!

1. Re Educate and Prepare

Things are going to be different, and you need to be seen to be taking the health and well-being of your staff. customers and suppliers seriously.  Take a walk through the buying process, see where the potential contamination risks are and deal with them.

You may need to get barriers or screens, signposting, PPE, and sanitising products.  You’ll need to clean more regularly.  Invest the time and money needed to ensure you’re ready with to do what needs to be done from the start.  You probably won’t get it 100% right straight away, so adjust and adapt as you go along.

It may be that you can sell more on-line, with delivery or click and collect – if so, you need to make sure that you have the technology and infrastructure in place to ensure it’s easy for people to buy from you this way.

The most important thing is that people feel safe dealing with your business. If not, they’ll go elsewhere.

2. Re Build Your Business Community

Here, we’re not just talking about your employees, we’re talking about your colleagues, customers and suppliers too.

Firstly, you’ll need to communicate to your team what’s happening, and what is expected of them. They may be concerned about returning to work and entering an environment of potential ‘harm’.  Let them know what you’ve done to ensure their well-being in the workplace, and how they will interact with customers safely.

Some staff may still have child care responsibilities, so try and have flexible working arrangements available for them.  You’ll need to give thought to how you’ll ensure safe distancing for staff, how you’ll deal with meetings, and how facilities like canteens and toilets will function.

Don’t expect full productivity at first – it will take time to ease into working in a new way.  New protocols and standards will be needed.  You may need to provide staff training too.

You’ll also need to communicate with your suppliers and your customers and let them know that your business is ready to deal with them safely and responsibly.

3. Renew Your Deals 

Your primary focus should be on getting your top 20% of customers back, as they will generate 80% of your revenue.  Think what you can do for them to make them feel special.

You may want to give NHS and Key Workers a special deal.

Many people may be hesitant to step out of the safety of their homes, so you need to put yourself in their shoes, and think what sort of offer will bring them out and encourage them to give you a try.

Have your deals on for at least a month, and think about adding value rather than discounting.

4. Re-Opening Announcements

Build up the excitement to your re-opening – tell people you can’t wait to see them!  Announce every step on social media, local radio, e-mail, website etc.  Show pictures of the measures you’ve put in place to ensure customer ans staff safety. Tell people what to expect when they come to visit.

Also announce deals and opening dates, and get people excited to come and see you!

Actively welcome your team members back, show them that you appreciate them, and make them feel safe in the workplace.

5. Re-Opening Celebrations

You could re-open with a flourish – maybe a ribbon-cutting, or some other memorable way of marking the occasion.  Make it an active celebration of surviving the crisis, and let everybody know you’re back in business!  Don’t forget to let your business neighbours know you’re reopening.

This is a great opportunity for photos – of your team, customers and the wider community.  Something memorable and newsworthy will be great exposure for your business.

6. Re-Run the Numbers

Knowing your numbers is vital.  You’ll need to update your financial plans and projections before you re-open.  You need to know what the business is going to make and what it’s going to cost to keep it running.  Don’t forget to factor in the extra costs of safety equipment, PPE, cleaning etc.  Identify your break-even point and make sure you know your margins.

Cash is King, so make sure you keep extra cash available.  If you have grant or loan money, use it wisely and strategically – think about how can you turn the money you have in your bank account into future money.

7. Re-Think Marketing and Sales

Things are going to be different now, so you need a different approach to marketing.  It’s time to re-think your marketing approach and plan.  Complete an updated SWOT for your business.
And review your competitors – have any failed? What are the others doing? What is their pricing and offers? What’s on their website? What can you learn from them?

Also look at your customers’ buying habits – these will have changed during lock down. How can you adapt your business to cater for them?  What do you need to purchase or produce in the new normal?

The focus is to help and educate your customers more on benefits of buying from you.  Try and steer away from the fear and worry about your marketplace and move towards excitement and looking forward.

Test and measure different marketing messages and platforms – Facebook and Instagram are low cost. Make sure your marketing messages are meaningful and generate business.  The messages are shifting fast, so adjust yours as you go along.

When it comes to sales, there may be more steps needed in your sales process, and it may take longer to secure new customers.  Think about testimonials to build trust in your offering – video testimonials are powerful and simple to produce yourself.

8. Re-Thank Everybody

Send hand written “thank you” notes to your customers, team members, suppliers, bankers, accountants, etc.  Let people know how important they are to you and how you appreciate their support.

Expressing gratitude makes us feel good, and we should all be feeling grateful for having survived this crisis.

9. Re-Write Your Plan

Think of all the positives and negatives in re-opening your business.  You can’t afford simple mistakes around the safety of your team, customers and suppliers, so plan ahead to get this right.

If you are still in survival mode, time to switch your mindset!  Write your 90 Day Plan to Thrive, and be ready to grab the opportunities that will be out there.

Once you’re back in business, take a few days off to rest and get yourself ready for the sprint ahead!

And finally – my bonus step is Re-Think Your Support!  If you’re serious about taking this opportunity to build a thriving business, having a coach will provide you with the expertise, challenge and support that will help you achieve your goals much quicker. So why not talk to me?