Published: 1st Apr 21
Preparing Your Business For Reopening
There is good news on the horizon! An increase in vaccine numbers and news of a government plan to lead us out of lockdown is exciting for all, not least the owners of closed businesses.
The chance to open doors to the public and see active income again will be music to the ears of many after a challenging period. While it will be natural to want to rush in and get back to work as soon as possible, the final few weeks of lockdown offer an opportunity to plan and prepare for reopening. Whether in hotels and spas, bars and restaurants or even cinemas and leisure activities, the next few months could be very profitable.
We recommend looking at this time as a chance to build better. While your momentum has taken a knock over the last 12 months, there is now a second chance to rebuild and ensure you are streamlined and working efficiently. Read on for some of our top tips for doing this.
Building better processes
While you likely have not been fully removed from your business, the extended period away means you are essentially looking at a restart. This should be viewed as an opportunity, rather than a setback. Issues which may have caused difficulty prior to the pandemic can be ironed out before you reopen the doors.
Some changes will almost certainly be required at this point, such as the layout of premises. Whether that means reducing your maximum headcount or including space for social distancing, we know there will be changes to consider. That does not mean that mandated changes can’t be viewed as opportunities.
Time away may have allowed you to reflect on ways to improve business operations. Slow processes, difficult suppliers and poor reporting – issues such as these can be fixed to allow a smoother operation in the future.
This is why it is important to use this time effectively. Performing a deep-dive on your business to understand what is slowing you down and how it can be fixed. Utilising your time during lockdown is advice we have discussed previously, and this final period may be the most important. You can welcome employees back to new processes and ways of working, rather than have them settle into old routines.
Another factor to consider are your business systems. With advances in contactless technology, a clearer focus on the cloud and wireless systems, is your business equipped and future-ready? While additional expenditure right now may seem daunting, the opportunity has never been greater. Bringing in new technology now gives you time to fully understand it, get caught up to speed and utilise it fully. It also allows you to think about virtual training for staff to allow them to hit the ground running.
Building your finances
You have made it through arguably the most challenging period for small businesses in recent history – fantastic! But are you prepared for another?
This is not a warning shot to prepare for a doom and gloom scenario, rather a common concern. Now that we are aware of how a pandemic affects us in the short term, you may look to avenues for preparation. Not quite a nuclear bunker, but a Plan B.
A great way to do this is to look at how your business reacted over the last 12 months and have plans in place for where you stumbled. While no one can predict the next potential setback, you can at least be ready to react. Looking backwards, taking note of mistakes and learning from them is the best way to prepare your business for any eventuality.
Keeping up to speed on tax breaks, government assistance programmes and additional grants and support is another advantage. The business owners that kept their ear to the ground and reacted quickly when support was given ended up having the greater advantage. We covered what kinds of support are available in a previous article.
Building your team
Another way to ensure efficiency when reopening is by making sure that you have all the relevant skills at your disposal. In order to achieve any of the above, you need the right people.
The team you had in place before will also have had time removed from the business. Providing training refreshers and documentation for furloughed staff can make sure that they come back feeling proactive, rather than anxious about the return to work. It can also allow you to plug any gaps you feel may have been missing in the team before, and gives a chance for you to assign new responsibilities.
Much like spending money on new systems, bringing in additional headcount may seem financially daunting. You may even find yourself looking at downsizing certain areas of the business to make up for lost revenue. With this in mind, it may seem challenging to retain skilled staff while also looking at cutting costs.
There is one way this can be achieved.
One solution which can allow you to retain skills, cut costs and increase process efficiency is outsourcing. Working with a professional partner means you can offset difficult and time-consuming tasks while ensuring that they are handled by a trained team working directly for you.
Virgate provides premium outsourced accountancy solutions designed specifically for multi-site businesses. We provide bookkeeping, management accounts, payroll and compliance services. We also complete tax returns and offer guidance and advice on the best government schemes to suit your business.
Each client is provided an experienced team working directly for them. Our team works with the latest in cloud accounting software, including our own flagship Vantage application for reports. We can make planning new processes, systems and fallback options easy.
Quiet periods are unlikely once doors reopen, as customers will seek external entertainment. Make the most of your quiet period now and explore your options.
Interested in partnering with Virgate? Get in touch now for a free consultation.
Tel: 01452 226111