If you run your own business – perhaps even a tattoo studio – then you would have faced a number of different challenges this year thanks to COVID-19.

You might have been forced to close your doors for extended periods of time, or have perhaps seen a dramatic fall in the number of customers you’d normally see.

There’s no doubt it has been difficult to retain business as usual during COVID, but it’s important that we learn to adapt to the ‘new normal’ we’ll be facing in the months – and potentially years – to come. 

We’ve certainly had our fair share of challenges with all 20+ studios closing for lengthy periods of time, but here’s what has gotten us through. Hopefully it can help anyone else that’s had it pretty tough this year. 

The importance of communication

First and foremost, as with any change, communication is vital for a smooth transition.

It’s worth drafting up a communications strategy to determine how you plan on engaging with your customers and staff about any changes, while pinpointing what this messaging will be.

For example, if you are facing delays in deliveries, it’s best to let your customers know as soon as possible, so they aren’t disappointed with long wait times.

Staff will need reassurance too – if you can, be transparent about letting them know they will be able to keep their jobs and that business is going to carry on as normal (as can be). Or if there are to be changes, explain how these changes will be made and what outcomes they will have, so there isn’t any uncertainty surrounding different processes that are being implemented. 

Reshaping your business strategy

Just about every business around the world will be affected in some way by COVID-19. As such, it’s important that we revise our business strategies to ensure we are ready to cope with the changes the coronavirus will bring.

This means examining finances and ensuring you have a plan in place for ‘worst case’ scenarios. If the business loses X amount of money, what do you plan to do? Do you have alternative revenue resources you can tap into? If so, you should begin to look at these now. For example, if you teach dance classes perhaps see if you can take the classes online to keep the revenue coming in if your studio is forced to close. If you sell merchandise like we do, you can make the most of people going online to shop and promote this aspect of your business. 

Hiring dedicated project managers

It might be scary investing in your business when times are tough, but it’s important you make sure you have people on board who understand how to manage change. 

If this means hiring new project managers to take your business in a new direction, then it’s a risk that could pay off.

For example, if you don’t have the skills to film a class and upload it online, it could be worth hiring someone to help you do it. Having an online presence in a COVID-19 world is more important than ever, as most people will be accessing services and products remotely. So a small investment into ensuring you have an online presence now could pay off ten fold in the future.

If you can’t invest this way, appoint a trusted internal team member to manage the major projects during difficult times. This ensures nothing falls off the radar, and there is a single point of call to facilitate resources as and when needed. 

Managing customer expectations  

This point links back to having open communication within your business and with your customers.

While you might want to retain business as usual throughout all of your operations, this probably won’t be possible and may actually not be what your customers want during COVID-19.

For many right now, health and safety will be paramount for customers when they engage with a business. To accommodate this growing demand, you will need to ensure your staff members are properly trained in COVID-Safe measures to ensure strict cleaning practices are adhered to.

This means maintaining social distancing, practicing good hygiene, placing sanitisation points around your workspace, and even wearing masks where it is appropriate to do so. 

If customers can see you are taking COVID-19 safety measures seriously, they will be more likely to engage with you as a business.

So while it might not be ‘business as usual’ for many companies, it is the ‘new normal’ that we need to embrace in a post-COVID19 world. Ultimately, we need to ensure that our businesses can put our best foot forward and recover from the hardships of 2020. Keep controlling the elements that are still within your control – that’s what we’re doing around the world at Celebrity Ink!