We are all keen to get our businesses open again and sooner rather than later. However, for this we need to prepare. Here are a few things as a manager or business owner you need to consider:
- It will not be ‘going back’ to how we used to do things.
- We will require new SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures), staff training and co-operation.
- What financial decisions you need to make to implement these new or improved procedures.
- Our clients will have new needs and we need to understand what they are and how we address them successfully.
1. Not Going Back to How Things Were
Times have now changed and changed for good. What we knew or thought we knew 8 weeks ago is not how we will be thinking moving forward, if we want our businesses to continue to grow. We understand as business owners, that everyone is under considerable financial pressure, however we can either look at this time as a disaster or an opportunity. Never before have you been given an opportunity to strip your business back to the bare bones, breakdown every single thing you do and make improvements. Never before have we had the time to do it all!!
2. New Procedures and Standards
Overall we are excellent at following health and hygiene standards in our industry. That said, now a whole new level of excellence is required. You may need to consider new equipment, more sanitising items, more cleaning equipment etc. This needs to be factored into your revenue costings. This is another expense that will affect your bottom line if you don’t have a plan of action.
It is all well and good creating these new procedures and policies, but if you do not have team members who are willing to play ball then it is all done in vain. Remember this is your business, created from years of hard work and it is your livelihood. Don’t let inadequate staff members cost you your business because they refuse to consistently follow procedures.
Your clients will be looking for this and will want reassurance that everyone on your team is doing the same thing (and the right thing) and they will notice it if this isn’t happening! Be sure not to make assumptions, no matter how many years your staff have worked for you. Make sure everyone on your team is re-trained.
- Create the procedures
- Train your team
- Get your team to sign to say they have been trained and will follow the new procedures
- It’s important not to just do this once and expect your team to carry on. You or your management team need to be monitoring this all day, every day. Your team will need support, encouragement and reminding.
- If someone is not playing ball they must be spoken to following the HR procedures set in your business. Such is the importance of these new procedures.
We recommend that you create new contracts for all your staff when you reopen. Ensure you keep in line with HR guidelines and if you are unsure your Local Enterprise Office has funding in place to cover these costs (Business Continuity Voucher), so make sure you enquire with your local enterprise board and avail of this.
3. Financial Planning
The one big thing we will need when reopening our business is more cleaning and sanitising of equipment and products. It is important that we consider the financial cost of this. In addition to this, we must also consider the cost of taking a team member away from their working columns to complete these new jobs and procedures. On quiet days this may not be an issue and may prove a good opportunity for some of the procedures. However, on busy days this could have a large financial impact on your revenue. So while you may not need to employ a new full-time cleaner or assistant, you may need to consider having someone for your busier days.
4. Understanding Your Client’s New Needs
‘Social Distancing’ is the new buzz word but you need to accept that at some level it is here to stay. Plus social distancing seems to mean something different to all of us. For some it means complete isolation due to them being high risk, and for others it is keeping 2 meters apart. And unfortunately there are some who ignore most of the guidelines as they deem that it won’t/doesn’t really affect them.
The important thing moving forward for us all, is that we must understand and empathise with the new requirements for all our clients. For now, we will take a look at the possible needs for each of the 3 categories mentioned above. Please note, this new way of engaging in a live, social environment is new to all of us. We can use this as a guideline, and as time goes on these three breakdowns will become clearer and more detailed for us to understand better.
Our Clients – Who are they and what are their needs?
Social Distance – High Risk
- Either themselves or a friend or family member was/is infected with the virus
- They are over 60 years old
- They are in the high-risk category
- They are naturally a nervous/anxious person
- OCD personalities
- Silent Generation
Wary – Medium Risk
- They always have been wary of health and hygiene
- Possibly some OCD challenges in the past
- Analytical personalities
- Baby boomers
- Gen X
No Issues – Low Risk
- Not affected by the virus and knew no one close to them
- No underlying health issues
- Many Gen Y (1977 – 1995)
- Most Gen Z (1996 – )
- Many Greatest Generation (from social observation)
Items to Consider Moving Forward
You may need the following:
- Revised guest journeys to meet client expectations
- New equipment
- More sterilising stations/equipment
- Increased focus on sanitisation procedures in public areas
- Do you now give turn around time between treatments to increase sanitisation in treatment rooms?
- What is the financial impact on the business?