Navigating COVID-19: Planning For The Summer
It’s hard to believe, but it has been nearly two months since the week in mid-March 2020 when governments all around the world started ordering social distancing efforts, cancellations of big events, and temporary closures of all business. As a small business in the fitness space, you have likely been hit hard by this pandemic, and are eagerly awaiting the day you can open up safely once again.
In the past two months, many have been wondering how the world can reopen businesses and jumpstart economies once again without putting the lives of vulnerable people in peril. Now that mid-May has arrived, many jurisdictions who have successfully flattened the epidemic curve are looking at their opens for safely reopening businesses without driving up an influx of COVID-19 cases.
What’s Next For Small Businesses?
If the governing bodies in the area where you live have started to explore opening up bricks-and-mortar businesses once again, that news is exciting. It’s not just a sign that your business can resume and start to flourish, it’s also a sign that life may be returning to a semblance of the normal we knew at the start of the year.
The summer months are immediately in front of us, and how we proceed into them will determine what happens in the rest of 2020. The summer months are some of the most popular for fitness/recreation-related businesses; we are all eager to get outside and enjoy the beautiful, sunny weather. Here at PerfectMind, we have put together this guide to help you figure out your next steps in establishing your business’s summer roadmap.
Reopening Your Business Safely
Whether you have shut down completely, or if you have been offering online classes in the meantime to keep generating revenue, it’s entirely possible that you can start looking to opening your studio space within the next month. This depends entirely on where you live, and is likely up to the state or province you live in.
Follow State/Provincial Guidelines Before Reopening
It’s important to note that many government guidelines at this point will leave the decision to reopen entirely up to the business owners if they can do so safely. The health and safety of our communities is paramount to all else in this time and disregarding that will prove all of our collective efforts up to this point to be for nothing.
With that said, guideline provided by workplace health and safety bodies will give you a clearer idea of what their expectations for clean, sanitized and appropriately distanced business places look like. It could include putting up plastic barriers, or sanitizing equipment on a rigorous schedule, while clearly denoting clean from dirty gear.
- Stay up to date through official government websites
- Check in with team members to keep them updated during the process
- Confirm that no one has been in contact with a potential carrier of the virus
Assessing What’s Working—And What Isn’t
If you have been operating with changed procedures during this time, now is a good time to assess your efforts and the outcomes. What has proven to be successful? What hasn’t? If you find that certain online classes have done well, but others haven’t, we recommend thinking about continuing on with those classes even as your studio space reopens.
If a campaign has helped your business, right now is a good time to continue running it for your business. After all, no business is running operations regularly right now, so now is the time to continue trying new things.
- Review analytics attached to campaigns to find successful initiatives
- If you find initiatives that worked well, learn more about how you can incorporate them into your operations moving forward
- Meet with team members to relay the plan moving forward
Looking Ahead To The Rest Of 2020
We have an idea of what summer may look like, but what about the rest of 2020? Well, many experts say that things won’t be returning to normal–or, if they are, it won’t be for a while yet. Regional experts, such as British Columbia’s top doctor, are modelling their outlook on what the landscape would look like if things return to 40%-60% of normal. These models incorporate some parts of the life we knew before, including seeing a few people in our circle, while introducing social distancing efforts for the long haul.
What does this mean for your business? It could mean fewer students in your classes and longer hours or an increased number of classes to prevent crowding.
Open Back Up With A Celebration
Once you have your plans for reopening set in place, and the time comes to open up again safely, it's time to re-engage with community. Take this opportunity to express how much you appreciate your members and students for their support, and offer a special discount to thank them.
- Run through a checklist of everything you need to be prepared to help members and students once again
- Host a special grand re-opening event—even virtually if possible—with promotions
- Consider adding more classes to prevent crowding
Communicate All Changes In Operations To Customers
As you reopen, you also need to take into consideration your communication plan to your members and students. Not just that, but you need to be able to answer questions your members will likely have about your operations as you reopen. In this time, there is no such thing as too much communication about how you are keeping your community safe.
- Send out newsletters to your email database
- Stay on top of your page’s social media presence and answer questions
- Encourage members to join a waitlist for personal sessions when you are able to open safely