Recently businesses across the country were given the (conditional) green light to begin allowing customers into their stores to resume some-what normal operations. But with the recent increase in new coronavirus cases, the chance of having to reinstitute a lock down isn’t unrealistic. With this uncertainty looming, it’s difficult for businesses to plan for the future.
In the first part of this two-part series, our CEO George Lessmeister covers a few steps restaurants can take to help them survive the pandemic. In the second part, we’ll highlight similar tactics that businesses, like retail or department stores, can easily deploy to improve limited operations or cut unnecessary costs.
1. Establish sales and marketing strategies
Your first step should be to communicate with your target audience on what you’re doing to provide a safe environment, whether you’re open now or in the future. These strategies should address your “new normal” and what may change in the future depending on the nuances of the pandemic. It should also be mentioned that while considering sales and marketing tactics, it’s important to be sensitive to the fact that many are scared and under a lot of pressure – keep this in mind when creating copy and imaging. Also, think about ways to illustrate how your company is making a positive impact to show you care about your community, not just furthering business goals.
2. Create focus amongst your team
Because we’re a couple months into the pandemic, it’s likely that you’ve already communicated with your team, sharing plans for how to overcome the challenges we’re facing. Due to the continued prevalence of the coronavirus, these conversations should continue; offer transparency about your concerns, what steps upper management is taking to create a safe environment, and hear/address their concerns.
This communication should also be used to strengthen your employees focus on the company’s mission. Remind them why they’re here, and if necessary, reinvigorate their passion if your team is feeling a little unmotivated.
3. Plan expense control measures
Many have been forced to limit their operations for at least a portion of the COVID-19 shutdowns, so it’s necessary to find ways to control your expenses and save money in order to prevent layoffs or worse –– closing altogether. We suggest planning these cost-saving measures to last at least two months beyond any expected “return to normal” dates, possibly through the rest of 2020. Think about what expenditures aren’t necessary at the moment like traveling, some marketing expenses, or possibly eliminating unnecessary positions.
4. Research new revenue streams
Take this time to pivot and find new avenues for revenue within your prospective field. Ask yourself the following to help find these new revenue streams:
- What industries are experiencing a surge right now? Can your business plan begin to include these industries?
- What measures can I take to help my desired customer base feel more comfortable interacting with my business? (Such as curbside or contactless pickup, delivery options, etc.)
What’s realistic for your business now may not match what your business was doing 6 months ago. It can be difficult to change your goals but doing so will show that you’re committed to your team and community during a time when it’s needed the most.
Experts suggest that businesses could be seeing the effects of the coronavirus for years to come. By finding ways to work with the limitations imposed due to social distancing requirements and other health and safety conscious measures, your business can survive the pandemic and be a point of familiarity and comfortability for both your team and customer base.