AFTER such a seismic upheaval to the business world as we have all just experienced, the pattern we all knew is unlikely to re-establish itself in a hurry, if at all. Now that the country is reopening, despite the rapidly increasing numbers of the Delta variant of Covid and whatever other variants may follow on, we will need to be prepared for these changes.
There is no doubt that many businesses have been assisted by the Furlough scheme and also by the rates and rent holidays and it will make a significant difference to bottom lines as these schemes and concessions come to an end. Bounce-back loans, which kept many businesses afloat, are also now starting to need repayment, so costs could be increasing above pre-Covid levels.
Before the pandemic struck; let’s pause for a second, because pandemic is a big word and it isn’t something that can be blamed on anyone however much we might wish to do so; before the pandemic struck, you may have established a successful and profitable business model.
Now, as things come back to life, it is probably time to review that model really closely to work out if it still stands, or if serious changes are in order.
We are all aware how High Streets are changing. I am not going to join with the doomsayers here, who say that they are “dying”, but I do agree that they need to change. If I had the time, I would bore you to death with my amazing and innovative ideas!
However, we do know that many more of us are shopping online. A lot of small businesses have opened an online presence and it has been a lifesaver for them. Now is not the time to think that an increased presence in the High Street will put paid to that necessity.
Quite simply, some of us will never go back to the traditional shopping model. I suspect that this will be the case especially while we await the eventual dying down of the pandemic and learn how to live with this particular Coronavirus just as we live with the annual ‘flu which rampages through the population each winter.
Our café culture has also changed enormously. Who knew that takeaway catering would offer a lifeline to restaurateurs, or that pop-up eating places under canvas would prove so popular – even during the cold months of the year?
Whatever else, after two winters of meeting clients under canvas while howling gales were blowing around us, I would suggest that the next generation of polar explorers will most definitely be former suit wearing professionals…
So, it is important that if you have made changes which might continue to be useful, or if you are just now able to re-open your business in this brave new world, take a good look at your business model.
With help, if you need it, develop the strategies which will drive growth in this changed environment. If you are thinking of starting a new business, include these changes in your plan and don’t assume that things will eventually “go back to normal”, because it’s my view that normal will never be quite the same again.
Good luck, and stay well!