Future proofing your business, today
I won't lie, I have found these past few weeks very difficult. As a Consultant, who works with businesses to help open new cafes or improve existing ones, I have been adrift as to what I can offer clients right now that is of benefit and comfort to them. Our livelihoods have been put indefinitely on hold, with no idea of when things might return to some sense of normal. It is hard to plan with such uncertainty.
There are, however, glimmers of hope that business owners can take advantage of, but certainly and sadly there will be businesses that won't be able to ride this out. I hope as I am writing this, that grants and loans to cover rent and business costs will have been applied for and making their way to bank accounts and staff have been kept on and furloughed. Once the initial financial worries have been alleviated, this then leaves headspace to start proofing your business for the new world we will be living in after lockdown. Now is the time to get busy with analysing your business and making positive changes that will rejuvenate both your business and your head.
If you have found yourself with more free time during this crisis, then you are fortunate and can use this new found space to get to grips with your existing business. Now is the time to really look at your accounts and analyse your profit and loss. Really get to grips with your staffing costs, your running costs, your wastage costs and your pricing structure. Understanding where your business can run more efficiently and with less waste. This will help hugely in the months to come.
Housework and DIY
If you run a busy cafe, finding a suitable time to properly deep clean and fix all those little nicks is a challenge. Now is that time. Get your scrubbers and tools and really give your premises a makeover. Obviously finding certain supplies might be a challenge and you will most likely be working on your own, unless your business partner happens to also be your house partner, but this is an enviable time to get to grips with these little things. It might also help your head and keep the anxiety at bay.
This is also the perfect time to tidy up your systems. Go through your POS and think about ways to improve the layout for efficiency and speed. What about the back end? What can you improve? Is your stock taking system optimised? What about rotas and timesheets? Do you have a Company Handbook and full job descriptions for all positions? All these important jobs and requirements that often get pushed to the bottom of the list because service comes first.
What training can you take advantage of right now? I am a Barista Hustle Coach, providing the practical element of training for their Barista One course. In lieu of being able to attend any sort of practical training, why not take advantage of their online courses, free for 14 days. Sign yourself and your team up. You can cancel at any time, but if you can afford to subscribe it will provide you with some fantastic resources and keep your staff happy and occupied. It will obviously aid your service when you open back up. Should you wish to take the certifications in the future, please get in touch with me to arrange a training and assessment day for you and your team. For further information, please follow these links:
I am sure this situation will have changed yours and your customer's point of view. Our states of minds have been altered and as such, our shopping and buying habits. What is most important to us has been brought sharply into focus. Health and wellbeing are at the forefront, as is our local community. How does your menu meet these new demands? What can you bring in or change that is more local, healthy and sustainable? Focus on quality over quantity.
How are your staff? Are they safe, healthy and well? A place of work usually provides a source of community and friendship for many. That has been taken away now. Is there are a way you can utilise video sharing platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams for a team get-to-gether? Make it fun and not mandatory.
Ensure your staff know you care and keep them engaged with the business.
Find ways you can continue to engage with your local community. Do you already have a newsletter and a mailing list? If you do, fantastic. Keep in touch with your customers, share your news and link up with other local businesses and share what you can about what is happening in your local community. If you don't, utilise your social channels. Start conversations on Facebook and Instagram - tag other businesses and get a conversation going. Find out how your customers are and what they're looking forward to when all this is over. Do some market research to help shape your offer for the future.
If you have found this article helpful in anyway, I’d love to hear from you. As you can imagine, my business, like so many others have been negatively impacted by Covid 19 and I am trying to develop my consultancy services to be of best use and financially viable for all. I want to reach out to start conversations with business owners and prospectus business owners to hear how you are coping during this crisis and what support you need. With this in mind, please book a call with me to chat through your concerns and what help you need.
This is a free conversation with no obligation, for us to talk and for me to listen and give some initial guidance. If I can assist you further, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss how I can remotely support you and your business during Lockdown and beyond. For details of how I work and to download my service guide, please see here.
Stay safe and stay well and I look forward to being able to sit around a table and share a moment over a delicious cup of coffee soon.