Preparing Your Business for Life After COVID-19
There is little doubt that the best crisis plans are developed long before an emergency hits. The same is true for recovery plans. If you haven’t already thought about life after COVID-19, now is the time to prepare.
Here are ten things to consider when planning to reopen your business:
#1. Internal Communications
Remember that your employees are your most important audience. Your job as a leader is to confidently reassure them that recovery is on its way and they are critical to your company’s future. You have probably stepped up the frequency and transparency of the communication with your team. Remember to keep it up as we move into a time of recovery.
#2. Customer Loyalty
If your business has closed or modified operations, don’t stop communicating with your clientele. Leverage social media, loyalty program text messages, and emails to stay in touch. Share what you’re doing to help your employees; discuss your plans for recovery; find ways to celebrate your clients’ continued loyalty. Never stop communicating.
#3. Scenario Messaging
Though we’re optimistic that a recovery is on its way, no one knows exactly what form it will take. Will we all return to work immediately or will it be segmented by geography, age group, or risk profile? Will there be a transition for businesses that welcome customers in large groups? Don’t wait to hear the final announcement about those decisions. Think through how you would adapt to several scenarios and how it might impact your communication with internal and external audiences.
If you’re like me, you receive dozens of emails every day with updates about companies adapting to the virus and that number will increase once companies fully reopen. This same clutter will apply to nearly every platform – print, online, broadcast, etc. Focus your creative teams on brainstorming ways to stand out with your messaging or design.
#5. Pricing Competition
Many companies have been forced to cut staff. Some workers will return to full-time employment when the economy recovers. Others will transition to contract work as sole proprietors. This means more competition for contracts. It could be time to rethink your pricing strategy. What value-added services can you provide? Your industry’s competitive environment may not look the same after COVID-19.
#6. Direct Outreach
Ensure you’re communicating often with customers. Check in on them now and as the recovery begins. Sometimes a simple “how are you doing?” message can go a long way in building authentic connections. Build a list and start making calls; divide it with other members of your management team if the list gets too large.
#7. Media Relations
As soon as you see light at the end of the tunnel, media will have already started searching for stories about recovery. Brainstorm how you can tell customers you’re “open for business” from unique angles. Media outlets that have been covering COVID-19 are now looking for stories of recovery.
#8. Transition Back to the Office
Many of you are probably reading this from the comfort of your home office. If it took time to adapt to your new work-from-home (WFH) model, it will take time to readjust when the world reopens for business. Don’t expect employees to immediately return to their desks full time. Plan for a transition and consider what benefits your company may have seen from WFH policies. A hybrid staffing plan may work better for your company moving forward.
#9. Time Off
Although you’ve spent considerable time at home, life during COVID has been anything but a vacation. Your team will be more productive with time away from the stress we’ve all been experiencing. Start planning your next vacation now and encourage your employees to do the same.
#10. Crisis Management Plan
Don’t assume that lightning won’t strike again. If your crisis management plan did not include pandemics or other crises that result in mass business shutdowns, update it now. Apply what you’ve learned and get it on paper while the ideas are still fresh. Conduct a thorough audit of what worked and didn’t work. Research successful approaches by looking at your industry peers. Use this time as an opportunity to learn and adapt.