The past few months have been challenging to say the least. But, while it’s far from over, it looks like we’re going to be able to get back to work and regain some level of normality sooner rather than later.
Whether you’ve seen a reduction in jobs during lockdown, you’ve had to shut down totally or you’ve been rushed off your feet, now is the time to start preparing to bounce back and get your business back on track.
So, as lockdown eases and things start to return to something closer a little closer to normal, here are our top tips on how to bounce back after lockdown.
Launch a new business strategy
The world is a very different place to what it was just a couple of months ago. While that naturally brings with it a host of challenges for tradespeople and business owners, it can also offer opportunities.
Are there ways to unlock new business? Can you expand your service offering? Perhaps there is now a demand for services you haven’t previously offered.
Get your name out there
Now is the time to get your name out there and promote your services as far and wide as possible. Ensure you look the part with branding and livery on your van, and consider using social media, photos and video content to ensure you’re showcasing your best work.
Taking the time to get your image and marketing in check will really pay off.
Become a local champion!
During times of crisis, communities really come together to support each other. So, use your skills to help support others in your community. Perhaps you could offer free or reduced services for your neighbours, or maybe someone in your area is in need and you could help them as a favour?
Kindness goes a long way. Actively engaging with your local community will benefit your business in the long run.
Join an online platform
Joining an online platform such as Checkatrade will not only boost your visibility, it will also help you build a reputation as a trusted, experienced and approved tradesperson. Users will be able to see reviews from your previous customers, see pictures of your work and find your business easily when in need of what you offer.
Get your finances in order
We spoke to the accounting experts at Crunch about the financial impact of COVID-19 and how traders can help themselves bounce back:
“The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on many businesses across the UK. One of the biggest impacts has been on cashflow management.”
“At its simplest, cash flow management means ensuring the sum of the money coming into your business is greater than the sum of your outgoings. This allows you to build up a cash reserve to see you through a period when your income is reduced.”
“With many businesses unable to trade, or severely restricted during the lockdown, it’s important to get on top of how money arrives and departs from your business and make sure you stay on top of it. The range of new government schemes and support for businesses have aimed to try to minimise the impact so that businesses can cope during the crisis and bounce back as quickly as possible.”
There’s more support available to businesses on the Crunch COVID-19 Hub. Take a look at their article with a range of measures you can take to improve your cashflow, along with a handy spreadsheet to help you understand and forecast the cashflow of your business.
And what about tradespeople themselves? We spoke to two of our members about how they’ve given themselves the best possible chance of bouncing back after lockdown.
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Paul James, Smart Air Conditioning, Havant
“Lockdown hit us hard. We had two or three months’ worth of work booked in and that all had to be cancelled. And on top of losing that income, we still had to pay our bills and our tax.”
“We decided the best approach was to restructure the business. We took advantage of the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which helped us to cover our costs and manage our cash flow while we were unable to work.”
“We’ve also been trying to find ways to reduce the costs for our customers, without impacting on quality. We’ve introduced a free service after six months for every air conditioning unit installed, as well as offering reduced rate installation services.”
“To give us the best possible chance of reaching new customers, we’ve also joined Checkatrade. It’s still early days but we’ve got a fair few reviews on there already and we’ve had plenty of phone calls from potential customers – I’ve had five just today!”
“Bouncing back from lockdown isn’t going to be easy for anyone, but I think we’ve done everything possible to put ourselves in the best possible position. We’ve got a couple of big new contracts and we’re getting lots of clients booked in, so I definitely feel like it’s working.”
Pete Tomlinson, RW Property Services, Rotherham
“I’ve had one or two calls where people have tried to do DIY themselves and it’s gone wrong, mostly DIY plumbers! But I’ve managed to fix the problems properly for them and they’ve been really pleased.
“I’ve only really been doing emergency jobs during lockdown, but I’ve managed to make the whole experience quite positive. I’ve used my spare time to deal with all the little jobs I don’t usually get time to do – getting on top of paperwork, honing my skills and building my brand. My tools are also pristine now!
“Now I’m able to get back out and start doing non-emergency work again, I’ve had loads of enquiries. My diary is booked up next week and I’ve got lots of regular customers who have been waiting for work during lockdown.
“Obviously, when I start going back into customers’ properties, safety will be a top priority. It’s important to reinforce trust with the customer, and make sure they understand the precautions are for their benefit as well as mine. I’ll be wearing a mask and gloves when I go into any property and of course, I will ensure that I follow social distancing guidelines.
“I think the main problem traders in this area have faced is getting hold of supplies, particularly plasterers. We’ve seen bags on plaster that usually cost no more than £7 being sold for up to £50! Hopefully supplies should start to get back to normal now as lockdown eases.
“I’m really big on brand, which is why I think it’s important to be part of a trusted organisation such as Checkatrade. Every time I send out an email, I make sure it says that I’m a proud member of Checkatrade.”
Join the discussion
If you are a Checkatrade Member why not share your recent lockdown experiences?. Post on our Member Community on what new approaches you’ve taken to work since lockdown. Your insights might just be published here. We look forward to hearing from you.
To find out more about how Checkatrade can help your business bounce back after lockdown, please get in touch.