For months, small and medium-sized businesses across NSW have either closed the doors or have been operating well below any ‘normality.’ However, owners and managers have continued the constant adaption of their businesses to align to the ever-changing COVID environment. Navigating their operations, employees, and customer service to meet all the challenges thrown at their respective industry, teams, and locations by the public health orders.
The NSW government has openly been pursuing the vaccination strategy. The results and vaccination rates allow the officials to shift the focus, investing more resources into designing, articulating, and detailing roadmaps to reduce restrictions. These changes provide businesses with an opportunity to reopen with a new sense of optimism. We’re hearing a mindset shift from our customers, partners, colleagues, friends, and family who (using the colloquial sporting analogy) are in their own way “getting ready to rumble!”.
According to the revised restrictions, businesses are in readiness mode, with preparations underway to reopen. Thus, operators can re-engage with their customers, open their shop doors, and provide services closer to a level of normality after the hiatus. Whatever the reopening looks like for your business, here are some common considerations that are top of mind for companies in their readiness.
The right staff to rumble
Regardless of when the roadmap allows your business to reopen its doors, recruiting remains the top priority for a business. Recent news headlines featured stories of Coles, Woolworths, Dan Murphy’s, and seeking thousands of new employees. Like many businesses, this recruitment prepares their workforces for both the reopening and upcoming holiday season.
Businesses that need to recruit to set up with the right talent need to start recruiting yesterday! Regardless of the type of workforce you seek, be that full-time, part-time, or casual workers. Securing the right talent means starting immediately. However, it is a competitive market, and finding the right talent using remote recruiting techniques can take longer.
Recruiting is not just finding the right candidate. New employees will need onboarding and training to ensure your entire team is across your COVID safe plans and all the respective protocols around hygiene, cleaning, social distancing, and contact prevention measures. Delivering the level of service, you and your customers expect with confidence processes for the safety of all.
Support systems to rumble
Many businesses have used the restrictive operating environment to reassess procedures, processes, and support system providers to support their reopening and future success.
Any reassessment provides an opportunity to adopt innovative and technology solutions to save you time, administration, errors, and deliver new customer service standards. There is an excellent selection of Australian-made solutions that can help modernise your business. Software is available across the categories of accounting, POS, payment, reporting, supply chain, reservations, project management, payroll, customer service, and time and attendance. To support the reopening urhere offers a free 90-day trial to modernise your rostering, time clock app, availability and leave management, timesheets, and payroll integration. Request access to the trial offer at www.urhere.net.au
Avoiding a COVID rumble
Of course, sustaining government protocols for COVID around check-in, vaccination certification, and contact tracing requirements remains a must-do. Although, government agencies have confirmed the respective technologies and mandatory processes to support the roadmap. So, all businesses will need to keep across all the final requirements and instil the governance across all customer contact staff – avoiding any costs or further closures risk associated with non-compliance.
Refine your COVID safe plan and ensure not only your customers feel safe but also your staff. Allowing them to do great work without increased fear or health concerns. Define all your COVID processes with consideration of:
- Manage and monitor good hygiene, including handwashing and sanitiser access for all employees
- Set rigorous cleaning and sanitation practices across your operations
- Define shared spaces like bathrooms and lunchrooms with specific guidelines for staff safely using these facilities
- Stay physically distant and sustain social distancing
- Follow all health advice and ensure no staff work while unwell and get tested for COVID with any mild symptoms
- Provide access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff and customers
Customer reconnection as they get ready to rumble
Engaging with customers is critical for your success, regardless of COVID. Building your engagement channels will enable you to reach existing and potential customers. Share your excitement about the reopening, reinforce your specific COVID safe plans and share when and how customers can buy your products, book a table, and take up your valuable.
Social marketing platforms remain the ideal channel to make this connection. Although, your business may also benefit from reconnecting with your customers using traditional communication channels like flyers, brochures, and signage.
Where does your business rumble?
Reopening requires adjustment on several aspects to ensure your business continued and future success. No doubt, COVID requires new operational requirements. However, the market reopening also presents different competitive and customer dynamics. As a result, you may need to reassess your existing offerings and any new opportunities for your products.
Now is the time to review the market and your strategy. For example, ensuring you don’t reopen to operate “as usual” and then find market shifts that impact your competitiveness and market size following the shutdown. Some questions for you to consider:
- What changes have occurred in my market?
- Can my customers easily access our offerings online and physically?
- Are there any new competitors? Have any competitors closed?
- Do we still have our secret sauce (unique offer)?
- What do we need to do differently to remain unique versus the competition?
- What shifts are there in my customer’s (existing and potential) expectations?
- Does my offer need to change for localised demand? Working from home? Return to the office?
- Do I need to change my location/s? Including any e-commerce solutions, we adopted?
What are you focusing on? Have you got any key callouts not highlighted above? If you have any ideas or thoughts to add, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org The team will be looking to keep this content refreshed with the best ideas and continue to share across our audience.
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