How you should prepare your business for a post-lockdown Britain
26th March 2021
As a business owner, you’ll know that over the next few months preparation is key to ready your business for the UK economy roaring back into action.
That said, we’ve taken the liberty of listing out a few things we think will be a top priority in helping your business boom:
1. FROM ONLINE TO IN-PERSON
Face-to-face spending will be making a strong comeback
For the past decade, businesses have steadily been moving from offline to online to meet growing consumer demand. For the first time in a long time though, real-life experiences will be trending upwards, with consumers hungry for face-to-face contact and quality, in-person service. So, as on-premises spending picks up it’s key to consider how you’ll entice in your customers and provide them with a competitive and positive experience.
It should still be noted that the digital element of a product or service is still very important and should be working hard to support whatever offline experience or product you’re selling.
2. YOUR POST-LOCKDOWN WORK CULTURE
Preparing your team for a strong & positive return
Post-lockdown, some teams, and individuals will be apprehensive about a return to the office - whether that’s due to a hangover of covid fears, an adjustment to the ‘new normal’ of working from home, or less of a willingness to engage in the cost and time of the daily commute. On the flip side, many are desperate to get back to their workplaces - to engage in real-life conversations, have a chat by the coffee machine, host in-person meetings or simply to escape the house and enjoy a non-kitchen-table working environment. And then, there are those who have mixed feelings about it all. And fair enough.
Whatever the sentiments of your workforce, one thing is clear - more flexible working is now something that should be on the mind of employers, is certainly on the mind of employees, could be key in encouraging your employees to happily return to the office (albeit potentially flexibly) and, most definitely, will be key in attracting and retaining new talent.
Know your culture
A clear approach to workplace culture and the working regime of your business should be adopted which (if possible) provides balance. As proven time and time again, a well thought out, tailored workplace culture works. Work environments should be organised and designed to suit the needs of both business and staff, and in a way that makes people want to return rather than having to return. This of course will vary in practicality from business to business. Not least, everything that can be done to make the work environment Covid-safe, should be. Teams will need to be motivated and positive to meet the increased demand you’re likely to experience.
Changes to the status quo
Businesses who are more relaxed with off-site working may be willing to allow long-term remote working from different locations. One major plus of this is that you will inevitably have access to more talent as you won’t be restricted (as much) by geography.
If a permanent remote working arrangement is sought and possible, we expect local salaries will be adopted by many businesses to accommodate and/or compromise with employees and prospective hires.
Ensure you and your business are ready for a significant increase in revenue, and, where relevant, that you’re ready to build or improve on your globally distributed supply chain. Develop a 12-month roadmap with achievable forecasts and put in place the correct tools to allow you to manage those forecasts.
Adjust your business key performance indicators for pre and post-Covid and define a strategic roadmap to improve your business KPIs.
Get up to speed on your business time zones
As many teams, suppliers, exporters, and importers are increasingly working across different time zones, it’s wise to have a clear view as to working hours and when people are accessible and most responsive. Knowing in advance the working hours of your peers and customers around the world will allow for better response times and an overall more slick day-to-day.
Know your audience (& what they’ll like)
Do your research and define the right export markets for your product. Use Google insights to your strength, research what makes your audience tick on social media, and run some test ads before you commit fully.
Ensure your ‘shop window’ is gleaming
Treat your online shop/website as the flagship store for your global business, because that’s exactly what it is. Showcase your products clearly and ensure photography is attractive, digitise your in-store experience (if you have one/if you have a good one) and, if you haven’t already - ensure your products are primed and ready to sell online and post or ship out to your customers. This could for example mean different, post-friendly packaging or doing your research in advance for delivery options and costs for domestic and overseas.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
As ever, planning is key. Outline and then detail your 12-month business plan and strategy for post-lockdown Britain (and the ROW). Where possible, ensure you have accessible, available capital to seize on opportunities, replenish popular stock and swiftly tackle any unforeseen hiccups.
In a nutshell - get a running start. Starting straight off the blocks will be far harder and you risk being outrun by businesses and who’ve done the prep.
The world has changed. So should your marketing approach.
This change doesn’t have to be drastic, and many elements will remain unchanged, however, you will need to think carefully about how the needs, desires, pain points, worries, and expectations of your customers may have changed in a Covid-19, post-Brexit, post-lockdown ‘new normal’.
For example - you might need to highlight your business’ hygiene levels more post-Covid, reassure your customers about your supply chain post-Brexit or simply reinforce how your business can make your customers’ lives better, simpler, and happier.
Define your audience and cost per acquisition
Define your audience and calculate your cost per acquisition. This seems obvious, but in the hustle of the day-to-day, it’s often easy to lose sight of this. How much online spend do you currently need to acquire a customer? And how much profit do you make from each customer?
If you're a consumer business, leverage Instagram and Facebook for your advertising. If you're b2b, Google Ads may just become your best friend.
Develop a savvy content and social media plan
Design content and social media plans that will not only retain and boost confidence in your existing customers (where your margins lie) but also attract new customers to your business. Identify your target audiences, the social media they use, what they post about, what they respond well to, what they don’t, and look at how your businesses can satisfy these areas.
As you’ve probably noticed, over the past few years LinkedIn has become the go-to for b2b communication. Use it. Communicate your message to your peers, learn from fellow entrepreneurs, authentically sell-in your brand, have real conversations, and gain direct insights from your customers.
Global supply & tax considerations
When setting up your global supply chain it’s important to do your research on the ins and out of tax requirements in each country and across borders. There are significant differences in tax liability from country to country, and so taking on a tax expert to help you navigate these murky waters is invariably money very well spent.
This is not about tax avoidance - quite the contrary. What it is about is ensuring that you are thorough, do your research and do things properly - paying what you need to pay where you need to pay it, and avoiding any unnecessary, non-mandatory overheads. It doesn’t make sense for you to pay tax five different times in five different countries if you don’t have to, so don’t.
Diversify your product sourcing & be open-minded about new export markets
This diversification and openness can work in your favour for a number of reasons.
If you’re sourcing products from overseas, it often pays to diversify this sourcing across multiple countries.
For example, dropshipping could be easier, faster, and cheaper if you choose to ship from a supplier in Australia, say, than from a supplier in the US depending on where the recipient is, the trade routes they’re closer to etc.
If supply suddenly dips in one country (this could be due to economic difficulties, issues with shipping, supply chain blockages, etc) then it’s helpful to have another trusted supplier you can rely on to pick up the slack.
Generally speaking, it’s good to support different economies with your business. Not only will you start to build relationships with different suppliers but you’ll also have an inside, more localised track on emerging markets and new opportunities. India, for example, is on track to be at the heart of global economic growth for the next two decades with India’s internal middle class set to grow significantly. Africa meanwhile has been steadily making its name as one of the fastest-growing hubs globally for tech-finance start-ups and innovation. Start thinking about how this could impact and improve your business now.
Make sure you’ve got the capacity to ramp up with reliable partners in place. Optimise your shipping and delivery times. Manage currency fluctuations appropriately.
Whether you love it or hate it, most companies today are now tech companies. So, whether your business is selling coffee over a counter or running a large-scale manufacturing company - tech will undoubtedly play a key part in the day to day and far, far beyond.
By cleverly placing technology at the core of your company you can increase productivity, market visibility, size, and scalability.
In a global marketplace, the only way we can succeed is through tech - through innovation, research, and development whilst delivering the highest quality products in the world.
Optimise your online presence, the smart way
There are tools out there that have been purpose-built to make your life easier, your payments more secure, your emails more intelligent, your taxes simpler… (we could go on). Use them. Engaging smart tech and built-for-business tools such as Shopify, Stripe payment integration, Wix, PayPal, and MailChimp - to name just a few - is the smart thing to do and will save on time, money, and worry and make your business a whole lot more efficient.
7. MAKE THE MOST OF ‘MADE IN THE UK’.
More than ever before, people are passionate about supporting UK businesses and UK-made products. If you offer this, make sure you make that clear to the customer - tell people where your products originated from, the quality of the materials, the craftsmanship behind them, and beyond. Your customers will appreciate the detail, have more faith in your product’s provenance, and will be likely to spend more with you.
Don’t forget. It’s important to define your social cause and be firm and clear on your business’s environmental policy, which nowadays is a mandatory expectation from most potential customers.
Grow your business with Crowd2Fund
Though we cannot compete with the US, EU, or China on scale, by collaborating with other Commonwealth partners we are able to succeed in delivering some of the most innovative and highest quality products out there.
Crowd2Fund is here to help you grow your business but also provide access to a community of like-minded businesses and investors who can also support the growth of your business.
We’d love to hear from you to understand how we can play our part in helping you grow. Get in touch on +44 (0) 203 318 9272 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Past performance and forecasts are not reliable indicators of future results. Your capital invested is not covered for compensation in the event of a loss by the FSCS. Tax treatment will depend on the individual circumstances and may be subject to change. Please see our Risk section before making an investment decision.