With Covid-19 disrupting all our lives and sadly taking the lives of many, business owners are left wondering how they will survive a downturn in the economy and the measures put in place by government. The good news is that business owners tend to be resilient people and if you are reading this guide, you are already making the necessary preparations to adapt.
This guide aims to provide ways that different businesses can adapt to the situation and even thrive.
Tips for all businesses
The ideal situation is to stop people coming into contact with each other. This can be done by allowing staff to work from home and replacing face-to-face meetings with phone calls or video conferences. Any situation where they may be a crowd together should be avoided. This may include limiting customer numbers within a confined space. Outdoor events have a much lower risk. Cleanliness should be encouraged with hand-washing posters and surfaces should be more regularly cleaned, especially where they are likely to be touched.
If you are wondering how to strengthen your position for a downturn, avoid looking at cost-cutting or reducing the amount of business you do. This has a wide effect of the economy and will damage all businesses if that approach is widely adopted. The best option is to look at adapting your business model to take advantage of the current situation. There are specific sector examples below. Additionally, you can ask lenders for a temporary repayment break. You can also ask staff to use their annual leave during quiet periods.
Pubs and Restaurants
The hospitality industry in general has been put in a very difficult position. Whilst the government has recommended people to stay away from restaurants, bars and pubs, they have not forced them to close, meaning these businesses cannot access the financial measures they would otherwise be entitled to.
A large number have already decided to close their doors anyway, but not all. Others have instead adapted, limiting the number of customers within the venue and offering a home delivery service. This benefits those who need to self-isolate whilst allowing the businesses to keep on trading. Fluid Studios has already been requested to add several home delivery order forms to hospitality websites.
Retail is a mixed picture, with supermarkets and corner shops doing very well but other areas seeing a large downturn. Retailers with e-commerce are set to do very well as self-isolating customers will be spending a lot of time online. Amazon is a case-in-point, having recently been criticised for pressuring staff to work overtime. For businesses that haven’t moved to e-commerce yet, now is the perfect time to do it.
Teaching and instruction
Whilst schools are still open, many believe their closure is imminent. Other instructive classes have largely closed including fitness classes like yoga, children’s activities, support groups and many more. A few enterprising ones are moving to an online model, either with live streaming video or subscriptions to video lessons that people can access from the comfort of their homes. Fluid Studios is currently working on a few such projects.
Many larger businesses and organisations already have some facilities to allow their staff to work remotely, although these are often very patchy with no provision for some more sensitive areas like accounting. Because change is slow in large organisations, it will be harder for them to adapt. They are likely to take more draconian measures where staff and customers will be badly affected. These types of businesses should focus on keeping staff and customers regularly updated, ideally on a daily basis.
IT and B2B services
Most of these will only have an issue if other businesses close or stop spending. IT based companies are well placed for remote working and are usually able to adapt to market changes quickly. There will likely be a range of new demands arising from businesses and those that can adapt fast can thrive in this environment.
Firstly, it is important to remember that despite all the coverage, the risk of any serious consequences is low. These efforts are mostly to protect people in at-risk groups as children and healthy adults rarely experience serious symptoms if they do catch it.
The general advice is to wash your hands properly and frequently. You should also try to avoid touching your face which is a natural habit that most of us have.
Keep your distance from those in at-risk groups but try to offer help where you can.
Self-isolate if you have a new cough or fever.
If you are feeling anxious about your business, try to look for any opportunities. There is lots of government and local support, and likely to be more announced in the coming weeks.
Ready to adapt your business?
If you are looking to move parts of your business online or change your online business model, speak to Fluid Studios to see how we can assist.
Need to get an idea of what we offer and how much it costs?