Coronavirus is having a lot of impact on businesses in the UK and across the world. For many businesses, demand is down, meaning many have needed to shut their doors - some temporarily, some for good. For others, business is booming with many experiencing an unprecedented demand for the first time.
But many of these businesses are struggling to cope with the new pressures that they’re facing. There are increases in demand in certain areas, but issues such as suppliers and shipping can cause issues - even if your business is still in operation. If you’re one of these businesses, then it’s important to know what you can do to protect it, and help it thrive.
If your business has experienced recent growth in demand, here’s what you can do to ensure a smooth operation.
Establish the reasons why you’re in demand
For some businesses, this unexpected increase in demand can come as a big shock. Whether your business is small or just starting out, increased interest will need you to act quickly. Firstly, you’ll need to think about why your business is in demand. There are many areas where sales are increasing during coronavirus, including health and fitness equipment, food delivery services, garden and home improvement items and others.
Understanding the demand and how long things are expected to continue will help you forward plan for your business and make sure you make the right decisions to keep afloat. You will need to work on forecasts and estimate business costs, as well as work out which resources are available to help you run things smoothly.
Streamline your operations
Now is not the time to be offering multiple, complex services. The businesses that are doing well right now are doing less, but better. You could narrow your product offering, prioritise certain customers and simply focus on where the most demand is. Some research will be required to establish buying habits, but it will be worth it to make sure you’re investing time and money into the right areas.
Now is a good time to streamline your business processes to make things as efficient as possible. You need to be able to do things quickly and effectively to help you meet your customer demand.
Take on more employees
Across the UK, job vacancies are plummeting and employment rates have slowed down. Many people are being laid off, as a result of businesses having to cut costs or close. There are people desperate for work at the moment, and your business could help by taking on more employees. While things might only be temporary, a temporary contract could help out a lot of people during this time.
Businesses like Amazon and supermarkets are fast-tracking their recruitment processes, which is something you could also do to improve the economy and make sure you get the employees you need for your business to cope with the increased demand.
Make shipping cost-effective
Shipping is a big issue facing businesses right now, with many experiencing delays, due to staff shortages as well as increased demand for items being delivered to homes and other businesses.
It’s important to manage customer expectations at this time, so if delivery is going to be longer than usual, you need to let them know. Some notices on your website and social media pages, as well as order confirmations, are an effective way to do this.
You could also consider alternative types of delivery. Working with multiple couriers could be one way to manage demand or you could consider the option of a pallet for delivery instead - there are different options available to you that can still prove to be cost-effective for your business. Explore your options and choose the ones that make the most sense for right now.
Clear communication is essential right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty, which means that you can do right by customers and clients to communicate regularly and clearly. Many businesses are currently contacting their mailing lists to let them know about their processes in light of COVID-19. From the health and safety measures being taken to unexpected interruptions to services, it’s a sensible move to inform them of what’s going on.
Do some good for others
When your business is thriving, it’s good to help others where you can. Many businesses are pledging help to the NHS through measures such as providing fabric and supplies, as well as donating money. If you work in the food business, for example, you could also help by pledging free goods to key workers who would greatly appreciate the help at this time.
You could also help out by helping smaller businesses that might be struggling. Outsourcing some of your work could benefit many businesses, while using local suppliers can also prevent them from shutting their operations. Even something simple such as sharing another business’ social media posts could give them a boost at this time.
Encourage signups for future business
By doing what you can to ensure the smooth running of your business at this time, you’re setting yourself up for future success. If you’re acquiring new customers at this time, it’s worth asking them to sign up to your mailing lists so that they can keep in touch with you in the future. Hopefully, the new clients you sign now will become ongoing clients and customers, helping to ensure continued growth for your business.
It’s an uncertain time for everyone right now, and businesses are feeling the effects. If your business is among the lucky ones that are thriving at the moment, then it’s important that you work to ensure the best outcomes for all, and deliver what you need to. There’s an opportunity for some lasting business success here, but it’s important to manage all of your operations in the most sensible and safest way forward.