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Post-COVID Business Recovery Guide: Part 1

Kick 2020 to the curb and kickstart your business in 2021 

2020 was a tumultuous year. The global pandemic disrupted our business and personal lives on an unprecedented scale. As Quarter 4 draws to a close, it’s time to take stock and start planning for a brighter, better 2021. Over this 4-part blog series, we’ll be bringing you a series of actionable steps you can take to help your home improvement or renewables business bounce back.

During the first national lockdown back in March, a strange thing happened: stuck at home, and with several workplaces closed, people turned their hands to gardening and DIY. This trend helped people fill their time productively, as well as repurposing rooms to meet new needs such as home offices, home-classrooms, home gyms… even home bars!

How COVID-19 affected home improvement businesses in 2020

Non-essential retailers were forced to close, but home improvement and hardware stores were classed as essential. The majority were allowed to remain open because they stock materials and equipment needed to help keep homes safe, warm, and powered.

However, open doesn’t necessarily mean busy. Footfall dropped considerably, and high streets and trading estates up and down the country were eerily deserted.

Generally, the home improvement sector fared pretty well throughout 2020, benefitting from the lockdown surge in DIY, but it is important to note that every business is different. For tradespeople and sales representatives who operate in people’s homes, the pandemic paused their work for a significant chunk of the year.

The impact of COVID-19 is widespread and varied. Reflect on 2020, but don’t dwell on it.  

Adapting to the ‘new normal’

Restrictions-permitting, savvy businesses adapted quickly to make premises and practices COVID-secure, as well as introducing e-commerce, home delivery, and click and collect to meet the changing shopping habits of their customers.

COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation,catalysing 6 years of progress in just a few short weeks.

Businesses shifted to omni-channel communications in order to stay connected with their customers.

Cash-only businesses sought out digital payment technology for the first time.

Look how much you’ve achieved already. Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to innovate.

Purpose & Mission

So, how does your company’s original purpose stack up in the ‘new normal’?

Think about your company’s raison d’être – has it changed? In a hyper-competitive market, have you changed focus from ‘great value prices’ to ‘superior quality’? Have you shifted from ‘local retailer’ to ‘supplying nationwide’? Or perhaps you are more environmentally-conscious? 

Redefine your purpose and mission to bring it up-to-date. Then, communicate it to your people.

People Power

From senior managers to checkout operators, your staff are the everyday heroes who have helped your business survive, all while dealing with their own personal circumstances.

Your people are vital to your business – they drive growth.

After this difficult year, you can improve engagement and productivity by:

  • Aligning your staff to your company’s purpose
  • Introducing employee wellbeing initiatives
  • Encouraging two-way feedback

Recognise the value of your staff. Look after your people and they will look after your customers.  

Looking Forward

New vaccines and better COVID-19 treatments mean 2021 is looking up. Part two of our blog series looks at how to plan for success in 2021.