Most businesses have changed their operations, services and products during the lockdown period. Depending on your industry some businesses faired well, others did not, and for some it was devastating. However re-opening has not been easy for any business.
At First Class Valet, our team has learnt to be flexible – thinking on our feet and outside the square to make the best of a bad situation. We wanted to share some of our tips we’ve learnt as we re-build our business:
As we scramble to keep operations afloat, it is important to create a future plan as you reopen and get to know your business performance in the first few months re-opening. This will allow you to keep opening your doors and for things to run as smoothly as possible. After the financial impact of COVID-19, you may need to recalculate your expenses and manage your finances. Creating a cash flow forecast may be useful to plan what upcoming costs are, what future profit will be and how to recuperate some of the lost income.
Remain calm and stay tuned to your customers
As much as we all looked forward to re-opening, it’s been hectic. This is why you have to focus on what’s important to succeed during the next few months, especially the busy Christmas and summer periods. Stick to your strengths, focus on your customer needs and deliver within the given resources. For example, many restaurants are choosing to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to ensure their current staffing levels are adequate for the rest of the week. Some cafes remain doing take-away because they have found it as popular as eating-in. Be tuned to what meets your consumer demands and you have a winning formula.
Future proof your team
In every industry, re-starting with a team that is skilled and ready to deliver has been difficult. There are some industries where there is a critical shortage of staff so you need to improvise. Think of outsourcing, training or up-skilling existing team members to perform other duties. At First Class Valet, we have found the labourhire arm of the business popular during these changeable times as we offer skilled staff who can complement existing teams or help build a new one. Another important tip is to be on the watch for good talent continually, as your business grows you’ll need to reach to your existing network to fill vacancies.
Partner with the best suppliers
Form a network of good suppliers that never let you down. Do your due diligence and find the best partners that care about your business as much as you do, and look after those partnerships. One way to get a feel about who you partner with is to see if they are they as excited about your business as you are? Do they believe in your product or service? Or are they giving you the run of the mill/stock standard, cookie cutter solutions as they would any other business? As you get busier you will need to rely on these suppliers to deliver and meet you or exceed where your business is at. Nothing less.
Reward and talk to your customers
Some businesses have connected with their customers well during lockdown, but depending on your product or service, some customers may have forgotten you. Make sure you have a communication plan that continues to talk to them, and remind them you’re open and ready to serve them. Tell them about new products you’ve introduced and don’t forget to invest in marketing that talks to your customers regularly. Reward them for coming back to you, they will appreciate the gesture and acknowledgement.
Keep your customer safe
Another important re-opening factor is health and safety, there’s so much more to consider now. Ensure you have the correct procedures, operations and equipment available to comply with current health requirements and customers can see that you care. Find a non-discriminatory way to ensure all of your customers are welcome.
Finally, now is the best time to think differently about the problems your business is facing. Now is the time to alter or change your business to remain customer focussed and sustainable. Maybe it’s outsourcing a part of your business (read our blog here for inspiration), starting a new product line or service, or finding new premises. When else will you have an opportunity for out of the box thinking to innovate and correct challenges of the past? Now is a perfect time to be bold, and innovate wherever possible.
To learn more about how First Class Valet can help you with your business contact us today.