Strategies to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business in the New COVID-19 Reality

Grant Ian Gamble | Author, Speaker, Business Coach | Blog | Pivoting and Adapting Business to the New COVID-19 Reality | Header Image

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | July 15, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author, and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

A monumental shift in the trajectory of the global economy usually happens over time and is forecast to a greater or lesser extent.

The COVID-19 Pandemic almost instantaneously upended businesses across the global community with little warning or opportunity to prepare. 

Adapting and pivoting your business to the new reality of an upturned world can be daunting when there are very few precursors to many of the challenges this pandemic has created.

Here are some basic strategies and checklists to follow as you plan to re-open and/or re-imagine your business. To download this list, click the button below.

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Strategies and Checklists to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business

Build a Re-Opening Strategy

  • This will be a day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month living document.

  • Map out the customer journey to look at all contact points to understand what changes and modifications are needed.

  • Determine the adjustments needed to reduce risk and maximize the ‘new’ customer experience and lay out a path to that point.

  • Ensure this strategy is a lateral extension of your pre-pandemic plans wherever possible to align your capabilities with the pivot (minimizing additional infrastructure where possible).

Reimagine your business by leveraging longer-term trends created by the pandemic. Some of the trends that indicate they’ll be around a while include:

  • A shift to more local sourcing and shorter supply lines; 
  • A general downshift in retail; 
  • A significant reduction in commuting; 
  • Dramatically increased online spending and utilization; 
  • Social distancing; 
  • Increased demand on technology; 
  • Substantial shift to work from home models; 
  • Increased recreational time; 
  • A shift from large group activities to small group activities;

These are just a few layers of our New World Order:

  • Communicate really well. This is probably the biggest differentiator between those businesses that are thriving and surviving and those that are suffering the worst financially. This includes communicating effectively with all stakeholders from your team and customers through to your investors. An example of this would be the  Common House, a social club group, who swiftly implemented a branded daily newsletter that included everything from coping with the shift to work-from-home challenges and easy recipes through to fun health tips. These communications were empathetic, topical, and on point. They also allowed the Common House team to communicate and promote new virtual social experiences they were implementing to maintain the strong community they had built pre-pandemic.

  • Pivot to different offerings that leverage the trends driven by the pandemic. A great example again is The Common House. They started up take-out options with pre-planned meals for members to pick up curbside. This allowed them to continue to charge dues and keep their kitchen staff and some serving team members on the payroll. Any such pivots obviously need to be sustainable and on-brand. 

  • Default to online whenever possible, whether that’s virtual meetings, events, or training. 

  • Use of QR Codes and platforms for signups, waivers, menus, delivery, and what would normally be ‘paper forms.’

  • Develop pre-order forms and platforms for contactless or curbside pickup options or other in-person activities.

  • Keep people safe in your business using education, signage, and protocols. 
    • Stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Develop effective signage and systems to enhance compliance.
    • Make it easy for people to change or cancel their plans.
    • Use reservation forms or platforms to avoid disappointment or overcrowding.
    • Consider simple screening tests like contactless infrared thermometers.
    • Enforce occupancy limits. This may involve rotating team schedules. 
    • Practice social distancing and be aware of time and type of contact. 
    • Enhance cleaning protocols to cover all contact surfaces.
    • Consider antimicrobial air filters and systems, e.g. UV.  
    • Update policies ranging from work-from-home to sick leave policies.

  • Minimize your legal and liability risks.

    • Create and/or update liability waivers and consent forms using online platforms or QR Codes Screen all employees and guests before they enter your establishment.
    • Develop internal contact tracing systems, these could be critical in the future and backtracking is tough.

These are just a few examples and ideas that have come up in my discussions with clients and business brainstorming sessions I have participated in. Hopefully, they might stimulate further dialogue in your team discussions. Feel free to reach out with other ideas to share, or to talk through your specific challenges.

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