Unlock and Begin Again — Getting Back to Business
As we started getting used to the COVID-19 global lockdown, it was overwhelming to imagine that someday this will all be over and ‘life as we know it’ will resume. We’ve been talking about the ‘post corona world’ and the ‘new normal’ — well it seems like it’s almost here!
With many countries and states reopening, it’s time to start preparing and planning to continue doing business, while aligning with the current norms and needs.
What is this ‘new normal’? To start with, it’s a world where health and safety come first. Additionally, it’s keeping in mind the changed interaction between businesses and customers, the new expectations and demands, and a new way of communicating and reassuring customers.
It’s been over 3 months of lockdown for most countries, and it’s extremely important to remember that although the situation might be improving in some countries and states, COVID-19 is still here, and one cannot stop being careful, and taking all the necessary steps. That said, as a business, you also need to be mindful of your customers and understand that not everyone is ready to unlock.
Your strategy to unlock and begin again needs to be two-pronged — one that caters to those ready to unlock and one for those who prefer, or need to, stay locked down.
Plan Your Business Unlock
When making any business strategy it’s important to carefully plan every step before you jump to execution. Now, more than ever, strategic planning will go a long way in ensuring a strong and effective unlock plan for your business.
Let’s take a look at the different aspects you need to think about and plan for:
- Your Location
If you own a physical business store, the first thing you need to consider is the reopening guidelines within your state/locality. The reopening guidelines are different for every state and you must adhere to the ones laid down by your governing authorities.
- Your Business
The next thing you need to consider is the services and products your business offers. If your business works on physical interaction and social distancing is not possible, or minimal, you may want to rethink your business reopening plan. For example, if you’re a beauty salon, how will you minimize physical interaction? If you’re a home decor store, how will you maximize social distancing within the store and take complete sanitisation measures?
- Your Customers
Knowing your customers and catering to their needs is the most important thing to run a successful business. You don’t just need to know who your ideal target audience is, but also understand how the customer interaction has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are more customers willing to unlock and head to your physical store, or would they rather deal with you online? Like we mentioned before, chances are that you’ll have a mix of both and you need to plan a reopening strategy for both.
- Your Employees
Employees are the backbone of your business and considering their safety and needs must be high on your priority list. Take into account the individual needs of your employees and come up with a plan that suits best for all.
- Your Reopen Communication
How will you communicate with your customers about your unlock plan? What are the things you need to communicate about? What are the different channels you will use to communicate? How will you continue the communication and ramp up customer engagement to boost business?
Execute Your ‘Begin-Again’ Strategy
Having considered all your unlock factors, it’s time to create and execute your ‘begin again’ business strategies. If you are in a country or state that continues to be in lockdown, there are several ways you can maintain business continuity during COVID-19. If you are in a country or state that is starting the reopening phase, here’s what you could start doing:
- Update your website
We live in a digitally connected world, and digital communication is the first step to reopen the business. Update your website homepage with clear communication about your reopen plan. This must include when you plan to reopen, what are the measures you are taking to ensure safety, any change in operations like business hours or contact information, FAQs that clearly lay down your reopen strategies.
- Announce on Social Media
Use your social media handles to announce your reopening plan. You can do this by creating several posts that talk about the different steps you’ll be taking to ensure safety and one main announcement post that includes the date of reopening, working hours, and any other information that is vital for your customers.
- Announcement Email
Email marketing allows you to reach right into your customer’s inbox. Create an announcement email campaign that includes all the necessary information, steps, contact information and operational changes that the customers will benefit from.
While it may be exciting to get planning and working on your reopening business plans, ensure your messaging is sensitive and factors in the customers who are not ready to get out and do business with you yet. You need to sound reassuring, while also being careful and abiding by all necessary safety guidelines.
It is also critical to understand that customers are more likely to trust, especially during these times, businesses that they are already familiar with. This is thus also a great time to let your customers know how their support and loyalty has helped you bounce back. Thanking your customers for trusting you, letting them know that you will leave no stone unturned to guarantee complete customer satisfaction, and making them feel like they are valuable will make reopening and beginning again much more successful.
Get Back to Business
It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming, and a million other things to think about getting back out there — we’re all in this together.
It’s time to make the health and safety of our customers, business, employees, community, and everyone around us our priority, and reopen with a paradigm shift in our strategies and approach to the way we do business.
Plan, plan again and plan some more. You want to do this right, by your business and your customers. Start creating and executing plans, keeping in mind both sets of customers — those willing to get out and those who prefer maintaining distance. This is the time to strike an equal and healthy balance between your online and offline business strategies.
As places and businesses start to reopen, let’s inspire one another, and bounce back stronger — together.
Looking for more tips and ways to boost your business? Head to our Learning and Resources Blogs category to know more. If you have any questions or ideas about doing business in the ‘new normal’, do share with us in the comments below.