The Government is currently working on minimising social gathering in order to limit the number of people infected by COVID-19. It’s unclear how long these restrictions will be in place and whether or not they’ll be re-imposed again in future, or for how long such on/off cycles will need to continue. Some have speculated for as long as 18 months.
One certainty is that the future high street will not look the same as the past.
Consumer attitudes, behaviours and preferences have changed following the Coronavirus outbreak and will continue to change indefinitely with the onset of new technologies influencing ways of living, shopping and socialising.
The Government has broken all conventions in the level of support given to high street businesses across the following:
- Staff furlough subsidies
- Self-employed subsidies
- Government-backed loans
Businesses are experimenting with new ways of working as well as new ways of marketing, selling and fulfilling. Those who can adapt and be agile during times of crisis will be the ones who succeed and define the high streets of the future.
Part of that is to estimate the impact of social distancing restrictions and on/off lockdowns to your business, at different levels, to make sure your business is well-prepared for the future.
Taking time to consider the following will play a vital role in how well high street businesses can adapt to ensure success in the long term:
- Market intelligence data,
- Getting the right systems in place
- Working on your brand
- Evolving your offerings
- Upskilling your teams
- Diversifying your sales channels
- Developing a relaunch strategy for your local outlet
The Coronavirus crisis presents us with new opportunities as well as threats. Businesses that are well prepared now are in a position to take advantage of the significant and rapid changes happening in the market, while strengthening their businesses against recurring and new risks.
Every business owner needs to develop their own plan for preparing for the future, whilst laying the foundations of future relationships with existing and prospective customers.
There are dozens of different ideas to consider in relation to this goal alone, from applying to government support to training your staff, adding new sales channels to refining your brand, and more.
In addition to preparing for the future, the other goals that we encourage all high street businesses to work on are:
- Reducing your business costs
- Selling through multiple channels
- Marketing during lockdown
- Collaborating as a high street
- Funding your business
Here at SaveTheHighStreet.org, we are now running 12-week COVID-19 support programmes for local high street business owners, working closely with each business to develop and implement a highly personalised plan that considers every possible idea across all 6 goals listed above.
This is our most hands-on support programme ever and aims to give as many local businesses as possible the best chance of success on the high street, for now and for the future.