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What to expect when reopening your business

By Eve Mosongo | June 10th 2020

Good news?  In the coming weeks, you will be looking to re-open your business thanks to the relaxed pandemic control measures.

Bad news? You’re bound to face new challenges due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Below are the conditions you are likely to encounter and ways you can adapt to the new normal.   

1. Lack of commitment from clients

Most of your clients by now have become self-reliant.  They have learnt to cope with closed businesses. So they can now make their hair and nails, carry home cooked lunch to work, shine own shoes among other things. You need to get creative. How do you entice them back? Any offers you can give? You need to embark on aggressive marketing- with social media marketing being your best bet due to few involved costs and wider reach.

You also need to ramp up your communication efforts. Through emails, social media, phone calls and texts, let them know and feel that it is safe to come back. Share with them the efforts you’ve taken to clean and sanitise your premises, and the steps you’re taking to abide by the social distancing requirements. In addition, be obvious about rules to be adhered to while on the premises. Using large and easy to read signage, write and post them where everyone can see.

2. Cutting costs

Companies have downsized or fired employees due to the pandemic. When you look at your books, you might find that you’re still in a cash crunch. You need to cut costs, but do it wisely so that it isn’t detrimental in the long term running of your business. Your company has to keep going, therefore, you have to grow your way out of this crisis. Every cut that you make will affect your ability to generate revenue, so run it through your financial projections beforehand.

3. Re-employing

There are employee who value benefits such as health insurance, more than their basic salary. Even after the lock-down, new cases of the virus will still be cropping up, so health insurance, or lack of, might be the determining factor that might lead to you losing potentially good employees.

Also, only 25 per cent, or 50 per cent of your workspace will be occupied, if you’re running an office. With the Government requiring that you practice social distancing, you need to identify which employees really need to come to work, and those that can continue working from home – without compromising quality.  Will you need support staff such as security guards and receptionists, or will they come in in a staggered manner after you re-open? Ensure your employees’ well-being and safety with well thought out efforts.

4. Re-training employees

In the beginning, your customers might be on edge. Since you can’t reassure them with a smile, your tone and body language is important and should make them feel secure.  And your staff needs to adapt the same way. Also, provide them with the necessary safety products, such as sanitisers and put hand wash stations around your premises. Ensure you have ‘Don’t Touch’ stickers on the required surfaces, too. 

5. Back to the drawing board

This crisis will force you to revisit your business model, as much as it might pain you.  When you do, ask yourself whether your business model is still viable. If not, can you hang onto it until it is? In what ways can you channel your expertise into a better revenue stream? Coming up with responses to these questions will be essential in the success of your business.

6. Need for diversified revenue model

Obviously, you have a primary source of income, but as sales are down, you’ll be forced to create more ways of generating revenue. While rethinking your business model, come up with additional ways for your organisation to make more money. Therefore, what you sell, who you sell to and how you deliver it, are aspects of your business that you should looking into.

7. Lack of vendors

Even the vendors you rely on have been affected by the outbreak. Some vendors (especially those who require cash on delivery) in your supply chain might not be in business. Therefore, you have a new cash need on your hands. You’ll have to change suppliers. This might require shipping materials for your products. In addition, some of your customers may not be able to come to you, so you’ll have to ship your products to them too.

8. Re-strategise and re-brand

Remote working has revealed gaps in IT, workforce planning and digital upscaling. As an employer, accelerate digital transformation to get ahead.  As you work to protect the growth and profitability of your company ask yourself whether you would react the same way, were a similar pandemic to occur. How were companies similar to yours economically affected by past pandemics? As you answer these, ensure you increase your company’s resilience with frequent financial modeling exercises.

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