With governments starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions you need to have a plan for returning your business back to normal.
That plan can’t and shouldn’t just be getting everyone back in the office or the shop for a return to how you did things pre COVID-19.
Your plan should cover four areas – strategy, operations, staffing/HR and business development. View it as an opportunity to change your business to be more profitable and sustainable.
COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for business planning and strategy setting to be more fluid and agile. Set your strategy and review it frequently.
A strategic planning session now will help you analyse the lessons learned from the pandemic – what has worked well and what has not worked well.
If the virus comes back, or a similar disruption occurs, what would you do differently?
Are your current services all profitable in the new paradigm? What new services can you offer in new ways? Did your systems and procedures stand up to the new way of working and what need to change, long term?
If your office has closed, you may not be able to simply bring everyone back.
Think about having half of your staff in the office at one time. This is important in case a staff member does contract the virus.
Hygiene measures, including hand sanitiser and cleaning will continue to be important and an increased cost centre.
Cost control is more important than ever for most business, particularly as government subsidies wind back. Where can you reduce overheads and remove people and monetary costs out of systems and procedures. Renew your supplier agreements.
Some of your staff will be desperate to return to the office. Others, including those with family responsibilities or long commutes, may be keen to continue some working from home.
Stay on top of the continually changing legislation and restrictions relating to staff.
If your sales have reduced, this may mean you do not need as many staff. Work out the best way to manage that difficult process.
Be cautious in jumping straight to costly redundancies. Can you move staff to different roles or more profitable areas?
Use current training subsidies and free courses to re-skill people. You do not want to lose skilled staff to competitors only to find you need them again and have to pay to recruit and onboard replacements.
How will you continue a caring, empathetic, team focused culture?
Staff conferences and traditional team building activities are probably a thing of the past so find other ways to celebrate success and get buy in to business goals. Conversely, what meetings and events did the pandemic show to be unnecessary?
Was your Employee Assistance Program provider up to the task? If you do not have an EAP, do you now need one?
Cutting marketing is often short-sighted. It is vital that you show customers and clients how you have changed for the better to meet their needs because your competitors will be doing so.
Understand the issues facing your clients so you can offer and develop new services that meet their new needs but market to them in a sensitive manner.
The previous business paradigm has become a thing of the past, in part at least. A new mindset and ways of working and delivering services are emerging and you just may find it brings a much-improved version of you and your business.
A business consultant can help you create that plan or be an extra pair of hands for key tasks as you re-open.