Posted on May 20 2020
From a business side, in the last 10 weeks the pandemic has taken us rapidly through the stages of:
- And now transformation
As businesses around the world beginning to open up, make sure that you are ready to RACE … and yet, opening up your business will take more planning than shutting down. It’ll be very similar as to when the caution flag comes out at a race. All of the cars slow down no problem. When they start speeding back up for the green flag is when there’s the biggest possibility of an accident. Same as your business … during the re-opening, the chance of things going wrong will be your biggest challenge.
Everything must be rethought … from how people enter the building to how you hand customers their purchase. Let’s look at 9 to-do’s for a great start:
1. Re-Educate & Prepare
Know local rules - It is imperative that you know and understand the local rules in your area to create new protocol and policies.
Walk through your sales experience as if you were the customer so you can use common sense to see what works and what needs to be looked at.
Customers need to see the cleanliness/barriers/screens to feel safe. Letting customers see marked areas on the ground that comply with social distancing, as well as understanding your cleaning procedures will give them a sense of safety and trust.
Be more flexible than ever. You must adapt weekly, sometimes daily, depending on the narrative of that day. Think how many times you had to adapt when you first started your business. Keep and expand that mindset.
2. Re-Build Your Team
Give them confidence. Communicate with them so they know everything you’re doing to keep them safe and top of mind.
Flexible hours & virtual ability. Create a staggered schedule for those looking to come back into the office. And look, some team members may feel better off continuing to work from home at this time. Communicate with them to create the best environment for everyone … and so they feel safe.
Productivity may take time, and everyone is new again. It’s going to take a while for your team to adapt to new standards and they may need re-training. And, some job roles may have shifted and your team might need new training
3. Re-New with Deals for Days
Re-opening could take until the end of the year. It is vital to create some long-term deal campaigns for all your customer bases. Create deals (not discounts) for different target audiences:
- Top 20% Customers
- First Responders – as well as a deal where any customer can donate goods or money to first responder group
- Existing Customers – you have to remember to think like your customer, in that they are not racing to spend a lot of money at this time
- New Customers – “Come Try Us Out”
4. Re-Opening Announcements
Build up excitement. Let your customers know how excited you are to have them return … “Can’t Wait to See You!”
Announce every step. Communicate little thing you do … dates, team members, new deals … customers want that personal relationship with you. Whatever it is, ANNOUNCE it and use photos and videos to share.
5. Re-Do Your Celebration
This is the fun part. When you re-open, do an elaborate ribbon cutting. Make something memorable that excites people. People want to feel good again and connect with those they’ve been away from. Celebrate:
- Your Survival
- Your Team
- Your Customers
- Other Businesses
6. Re-Run Your Numbers
This is the not so fun part. Your numbers are totally different than in Q1 … and moving forward. You have to be on top of them.
Every decision you make right now needs to be looked at as Makes or Costs. It is critical to know your break even and profit break even.
Use government money wisely. If you haven’t fully allocated it all, look for areas where you can invest … cleaning, marketing, upgrades, etc.
I still believe you need more cash on hand for the time being. There’s still too much uncertainty.
7. Re-Think Marketing and Sales
I suggest doing a complete full re-do of your marketing plan. Your competitors are different than they were 90 days ago. What are you doing to attract their customers?
Messaging must be more about helping and educating, rather than price orientation. Focus on gratitude, community and helping.
Have a feel for narrative of the day. Just remember that what worked for you yesterday may be out of tone today. Marketing messages used to last months … now it’s almost daily …
Understand what your customers are worried about, as well as excited about, so you can be authentic with them.
Marketing may require more steps and take longer. Building and earning that trust will take longer than in the past.
Customer service needs to be more customer centric, asking more question. You may need to train your team to speak with more empathy and compassion towards the marketplace.
Build date abase and relationships so that you build trust for customers and they’ll return to you when they’re ready to buy again.
8. Re-Thank Everybody
Let people know how you feel about them. Send handwritten notes to:
- Fellow Business Owners
9. Re-Write Your Plan
It was a 90 Day game to Survive and it’s going to be a 90 Day Plan for you to Thrive. Remember, re-opening is harder than closing. You can’t afford the simple mistakes, so ask for help!
This is a time you will win business. Come out RACING. Reach out and network. Let’s see all business owners with a better business than what it was before. Be safe. Stay Well. Wash your hands.