“Thank goodness 2020 is now behind us” was the collective cry of joy as the New Year dawned and 2021 was to be the year for prosperity, togetherness, and happiness – all the things 2020 wasn’t!
Fast forward to today with more than 50% of the country’s population in, or recently in lock-down due to Covid outbreaks, and you would be forgiven for thinking this whole Pandemic is just a bad dream and asking to be woken up in 2022 when it’s all behind us.
Its not a bad dream, it’s an unpleasant reality, but the good news is that if the current government language and sentiment is anything to go by, even though our old (and unwelcome) friend “Rona” is here on an extended stay, the world in 2022 could be a very different one to the on-and-off world we have lived in since the early part of 2020.
The shift in the messaging from the Governments has been that we are opening in a staged and measured way based on vaccinations totals and for some states we are now within 1 month of those projected targets being met.
For any businesses that have high levels of face-to-face interaction under normal circumstances and who in turn have been very much “in a holding pattern” with little to no trade whilst the current lock-downs have been in place, it looks very much like you will be back in business, at least to an extent in the very near future.
With this being imminent, each individual business will need to start to focus on the spool up to prepare for trade and to:
Contact your customers and shower them with love.
If the experience in other parts of the world has taught us anything, it’s that when the lock-downs end and restrictions ease, people who have been stuck in their houses for extended periods come out and want to stay out: Dinning at restaurants, shopping in person for retail, face to face meetings for services businesses. All these things are high on the list given we have all been deprived of real human interaction and entertainment for so long.
Get in touch with your customers by any means possible and let them know that you are looking forward to seeing them just as much as they are looking forward to being out and getting back to a normal life. If you have a database of customers, then make them a special offer for when you do reopen via email or text message and continue to follow up with the details once dates for reopening are locked in. If you normally attract your customers via mainstream advertising; there are some incredible deals on TV, radio and print media at the moment and it might be a fantastic springboard into the busy festive season.
Mobilise the troops
For anyone with staff we all know that our teams can make or break a business and as much as they are very likely to be super excited to be back at work, ensuring that they are at there best when the first customer walks through the door is key to building momentum and keeping it going. To this end it might be worthwhile considering a day of staff training to bring everybody back up to speed and to ensure that the service and performance is first class for the customers that do come back and keep them coming back. It’s also important that you regularly update the staff on Covid-Safe regulations and protocols as the reopening transition occurs to ensure compliance.
Look after yourself
It’s been a tough couple of years, filled with uncertainty, stress and challenges and this can take its toll without us even realising the effect it has had on each of us. All going to plan with the reopening, it is likely to be a busy period up until the end of the year and it is important that everybody looks after themselves from a health and well-being point of view. It’s an easy trap to “burn the candle at both ends” in the interests of making up for the lost or reduced trade during the lockdown periods but maintaining some form of routine with some exercise as well as eating well and staying hydrated means you will be at your best when your customers, your staff, the business, and your family need you the most. With limited time in what might be a busy period, even something as simple as pre-prepared meals and a decent walk each day just to keep you moving might be all you need.
There will still be challenges as we transition to the “Living with Covid” stage of this journey but whilst ever we are able to remain positive about the future and support each other and those around us it should be a future of prosperity and much more joy that we can all look forward to.