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How To Restart A Business Impacted By COVID-19 Part 2

Blue, purple and red neon sign of the word 'Open' inside two circles on neon, on a black backgroundIn Part 1, you discovered how it’s possible for your business to recover from COVID-19, especially if you already have the three key traits to business success. For easy reference, these are:

  1. A good product or service
  2. Engagement
  3. Constant improvement

What if your business doesn’t have these key business success traits?

Certain industries, (retail in particular) tend to miss out the step of capturing customers’ contact details. This is a big mistake. It’s so important that you have a method of capturing email and/or mobile numbers and/or names and addresses so that you can continue to keep in touch. If necessary, get this step set up ASAP.

Let’s recognise here that the first follow-up message must give something to the customer. Usually, it’s best to tie it in somehow with the product(s) or service(s) they purchased. The value can be small and the cost free if you find a way of helping the customer get more from what they purchased.

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As this is a broad topic, you need to think carefully about the reasons why the customer may have purchased the product from you and how they may intend to use it e.g. a customer purchased a cleaning product. Can you add value by attaching a PDF which tells them the numerous ways in which they can best use it? Are there any surfaces it should not be used on? If so, re-emphasise this so that they can’t miss the warning.

In the example above, the additional information supports the customer’s choice for purchasing, and provides crystal clear instructions on its best use. This is adding value. After all, the customer didn’t buy a cleaning product just to get something clean. They bought the product because it makes them feel good when the item requiring cleaning looks amazing. Maybe cleaning the item makes it look more valuable, look like new again and/or makes it operational if it was previously failing.

The key message is that customers buy for many reasons. Your role is not only to supply, but to engage. There’s a story behind every purchase. Place your business as the logical choice because you want your customer to get the most out of their purchase.

Where’s the real gold in your business?

There are many golden nuggets in business. One of the biggest is your database of customers. If you learn how to mine this, then you will have a continuously developing and value-increasing asset. Yes, it takes time to build a customer database, and the list will need work to keep it up-to-date, however it will become one of – if not THE – greatest asset your business possesses if you look after it. If you don’t have one, then think about how you are going to change this when you re-open.

Let’s continue with the three traits. So far, you’ve discovered further that engaging with a customer during and after the sale is important. What about the other traits? Having a quality product or service should be self-explanatory. On the whole, people do not buy rubbish. They are looking for gain by buying from you. Providing value for money works well. This and quality are enduring.

Innovation is key to growth

No matter what business you are in, innovation is very important. Innovation is bigger than simply improving the product. Some businesses cannot improve a product because they are not the manufacturer. However, this does not mean innovation cannot take place. You can innovate:

  • your sales system
  • your marketing before and after the sale
  • your delivery process
  • your packaging
  • your management systems

Innovation must also be aimed at the customer. Innovating a process which speeds up delivery times, directly impacts the customer in a positive manner. Of course, it may also make the business more profitable.

Innovation must be encouraged and rewarded within your team. Getting everyone on board and innovating frequently, will drive profitability and productivity upwards.

Summary

These successful business traits can be learnt, and introduced into all businesses. There is always a way and you, as a business owner, don’t have to have all the answers to implement. The most important thing to do if your business is still closed is to work out a plan to re-open. If you don’t have the cash, then use the Government-backed Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to help finance the business.

When you’re planning, think carefully about these three business traits and which is most important to introduce. When you know the what, you work out the how, even if it means contacting a few members of your team and arranging a call over a platform such as Zoom or Skype to discuss. Get the creative juices flowing from your team. You’ll be amazed what ideas they have and they may even know a great way of implementing them too. Set the wheels in motion and you’re already taking the first steps to re-kindling your business and building a robust and highly profitable machine for the future. Good luck.

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