Get Your Business Ready for Post-COVID
The past year has not been easy for any individual or business, but the hope is near especially with the progress of vaccination and the announcement of a gradual re-opening by the government. It may still be a few months away before any in-person activities (such as Yoga, kids club, art workshop) are allowed to take place, but there are many things you can do to get ready to welcome back your customers.
Updating your activity space
If you haven't done so already during the various lock-downs in 2020, now is a good time to start thinking about actions needed to accommodate social distancing regulations. It is highly likely that some of the social distancing measures, in some form or another, will be with us for the foreseeable future. Therefore getting your business ready for this is crucial, and customers will have more confidence in joining. A few practical actions to get started:
- One way flowing system: If possible, you may want to separate entrance and exit, mark clearly the flow your customers should follow once entering into your premise
- Sanitisation procedure: Hand sanitiser for your customers, pre-and-post-activity clearning
- Scheduling: You may consider running two events with a longer gap to allow customers enough time leaving/ entering, ensure sufficient cleaning/ ventilation time.
- Record keeping: It is likely that some of the "track and trace" procedures will continue so it is important to keep a record of who attended which event.
Engaging your (old) customers early
If you maintain a customer mailing list or have a social media account, now is the time to start preparing content focusing on welcoming customers back (even though you may have continued offering online courses throughout the lock-down). Some example content could be:
- Welcome back videos with first look at your “updated activity space”
- New classes or services (outdoor pilate?)
- Class scheduling or booking procedures
Adapting your business model
Many activity organisers are quick to adapt to offering online services, however, as we gradually open up, you may start to encounter some challenges in keeping both online and in-person offering, especially when it comes to scheduling.
Some decisions you need to make in the coming months:
- What happens to the membership/ class-pass model?
- Should there be two-tier pricing for online and in-person?
- Should I completely revert back to in-person only?
At the same time, the wide use of Zoom/Teams in the past year may also create some more opportunities for your business. Many customers may quite enjoy the comfort of attending from home (maybe not in the short term!) or continue to have concerns about attending group in-person activities. People may also spend more time working from home due to changes in workplace practices. This creates the potential for some new business model to think about:
- Hybrid classes for both online and in-person customers (especially considering that social distancing requirements may reduce the number of in-person customers each time, thereby reducing income per class)
- Alternative ways to serve online customers (such as video subscriptions, wake-up exercise for those working from home, coaching at off-peak hours)
These are not easy decisions to make, and every activity organiser will face different challenges in this process. There is no one-size-fits-all answer but do keep talking to your customers and trying different ways until you find the best for your business. Good luck and stay active!