With parts of the North East and Manchester in local lockdown and rumours of Birmingham and London to follow suit, small businesses will once again be having to manage the social and economic interruption that a lockdown brings. Economically this is not good news for any business. However, what lessons can be learned from the national lockdown to prepare small businesses for a disruption that could come at short notice; and affect the area (s) your business is and/or operates in?
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have advised that local lockdowns should form part of a small business’s business continuity planning during the COVID-19 pandemic. To formulate a contingency, their 6-point plan suggests that small businesses should:
1. Be informed - familiarise yourself with the government guidelines for your area so you know the dos and don’ts of business and how long the restrictions will last for
2. Stay Safe – if your business can remain open look into additional health and safety to protect staff and customers, implement test and trace and communicate that you are COVID secure
3. Manage your team – keep them informed of business decisions and changes to business services and products. Check for changes to the furlough scheme and other government packages to assist and support
4. Monitor operations – how can you adapt if restrictions are imposed? Move all or some of your business online, reduce working hours, staff work from home if possible, what systems do you need in place or to re-instate to operate during a lockdown
5. Communicate - with customers and keep them informed about your business activity or closure and reassure them during this crisis.
6. Get advice – you may need PR and marketing support if your business has been directly affected by a COVID-19 episode or need help developing and communicating your COVID secure plan
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3Cs Digital is a web marketing service dedicated to helping women in business set up and develop their online presence. Through coaching or consultancy services in web design, copywriting and social media marketing 3Cs Digital equips women in business with the digital knowledge and skills to: create and design websites, find their brand voice and curate social media posts to attract their ideal customers to their small business website.