21 Jan How to adapt your business to meet the needs of the nation in Lockdown #3
We are once again asked to stay at home, to protect our loved ones, the NHS and save lives, but what implication does this have on small businesses and consumer behaviour?
This is a tough time for many small businesses, either being forced to close completely or having a dramatic impact on their usual sales due to restrictions. Some small businesses have been given the lifeline of click and collect, delivery and online ordering but the nation are being asked to stay at home unless it is essential, does this cause a conflict and make it even harder for businesses to continue to trade and survive?
We’ve taken a look at some ways in which businesses can diversify, tap into the needs of the nation at home and how we can use popular national milestone events to keep businesses trading in the coming weeks and beyond. Some ideas are simple, some require a little more imagination but provide inspiration and positivity in these difficult times.
- Outdoor joy and garden enjoyment
With recommendations to stay at home and only leave for essential reasons, many people are looking to their immediate surroundings for comfort and entertainment. In the summer, we were fortunate enough to have the warm weather and those with gardens could enjoy sitting out on a summer afternoon and evening – but in the crisp winter days, how are people adapting?
At this time of year, many people look to our feathered friends and wildlife to give them joy and entertainment, families will be looking for activities to do with their children, the older generation will look to wildlife for company and peace and we know that the metal health of our nation could be greatly improved with wildlife alone. We know that people are increasingly turning to nature to cope with the pandemic and improve their wellbeing, whether this is in their gardens or the local parks and outdoor spaces.
Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature gives a boost to mental and physical health.
With this rising trend of the enjoyment of nature, the outdoors and our gardens, think about how your business can help – do you sell products and services for the garden, could you sell bird feeders or wildlife accessories, can you create a kids (or adults) wildlife watching activity pack? Can you tie in your afternoon tea or food service with the quiet enjoyment of wildlife watching?
Big Garden Birdwatch (RSPB) 29/30/31 January 2021
The RSPB’s big garden birdwatch is an annual event where the public are encouraged to sit for 1 hour and watch the birds in their garden, taking a record of what they see.
During the Christmas period we saw many businesses selling Christmas Eve packs which included reindeer food for the little ones, why not adapt that concept for wildlife in general? If you’re a café, restaurant or tearoom – can you make special afternoon teas to enjoy over a cuppa whilst taking part in the event, could you even offer a homemade fat ball as part of the package for their feathered friends too?
Can you offer children’s afternoon tea and an activity pack to help them enjoy taking part, this will help keep them entertained and learn about the wildlife in their gardens too.
How can your business adapt to this ever growing trend, whilst helping and encouraging people to enjoy nature and in turn helping our planet?
- Children’s mental health week 1-7 February 2021
We all know that our children have suffered this year with a lack of social interaction and formal learning – how can your business help bring joy to children and help improve their mental well-being? Can you provide an element of joy and fun through your products and services or create fun and engaging content for parents to share with their children? Perhaps you could offer gardening / seed kits or sustainable craft kits for children? Or can you offer activities for small spaces or window boxes ideal for those that don’t have a garden.
- Doorstep deliveries
Now more than ever we need to make it as easy as possible to get our products and services into people’s homes – we simply cannot rely on them coming to us!
Although many businesses can offer click and collect, there are lots of people who cannot (or don’t want to) leave their homes due to isolation, shielding or just not feeling safe to do so. Therefore, we must make it easier for people to access our products and services. Here’s a few tips and ideas –
- Can you offer delivery to a certain area on a set day each week or allow people to book delivery slots?
- Can you target streets or community groups to let them know when you will be in their area?
- Are you able to offer your collections from an outdoor area or work with another business to offer joint collections to minimise the amount of contact?
- Ensure that your business has the correct social distancing measures and contactless payments in place for collection and deliveries to make your customers feel safe.
- Communicate with your customers on a personal level, if you know they are shielding or isolating perhaps dropping them a message to see if there is anything they need delivering that week.
- Can you offer delivery of a number of pre-cooked healthy meals with fresh ingredients? These are great for people who are balancing home schooling and working and also perhaps for those coming out of hospital / recuperating.
- Our new “Happy at Home” – creating memorable experiences.
This 3rd lockdown will be the hardest yet and once again, we are being asked to use our homes as multifunctional spaces; from offices, schools and gyms to places of entertainment, comfort and safety. During the winter months this is much more difficult, and many are looking for different and unique experiences that they can enjoy in their own homes. Lots of people are working from home whilst teaching their children, and therefore need their homes to function differently at the moment. How can your business help people enjoy this time in their homes or make their spaces more functional for many different uses?
- Are you a furniture shop who could create bespoke furniture to help make working/schooling and entertainment at home more seamless and enjoyable?
- Can you provide food & drink such as afternoon teas, cosy film packages, home birthday parties or celebrations?
- Does your business provide products or services which provide enjoyment such as flowers, gifts for the home or DIY products?
- Many people will have more time on their hands – can your product or service help keep them busy, try something new, take up a new hobby or learn a new skill?
- On the flip side, lots of people will be time pressured, whilst trying to work and look after their children, how can your products and services help take the burden away and make life a little bit easier? Do you offer an ironing or clothes washing service? Could you provide something to keep the kids entertained or make life easier in general?
- Joyful celebrations at home
We are missing out on birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations and socialising in general due to new restrictions and lockdown measures. How can your business fill the void and ensure people can enjoy celebrations at home in a unique way?
Coming up in the next couple of months we have lots of celebrations which focus on social interaction, love and sharing, how can we make these events special in 2021, whilst at home and socially distanced from our loved ones?
- Chinese New Year – 12 February– bring some bright colour into this spring by celebrating Chinese New Year through your business. 2021 is the year of the Ox, an animal symbolising strength. How can you incorporate the bright colours and animation into your business?
- Valentine’s Day – 14 February – can your business offer romantic experiences for couples to take advantage of at home? Can you provide a pre-prepared meal, afternoon tea, film evening package or even a picnic for couples to enjoy in their gardens? Can you work with your local gift shops and florist to create a bespoke valentine’s package or gift pack?
- Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day – 16 February – many people will be spending pancake day at home this year – how can you adapt your products or services to make it one to remember? Do you sell quirky kitchen utensils to make it more fun? Could you make up a pancake day box with yummy toppings and all the ingredients needed to make the best fluffy pancakes? Could you share inspiration for some unusual pancake recipes?
- LGBT History month – February 2021– how can your business celebrate the LGBT community throughout the month of February – can you use the iconic rainbow to theme your products and services or simply show your support online with your messaging?
- Mother’s Day – 14 March – can your business offer a special experience at home to show our appreciation to our mothers? Perhaps a delivered meal or afternoon tea, delivered flowers, an online class or event for her to take part in?
- Easter Sunday – 4 April – by this time we hope to be coming out of restrictions, but celebrations will still most likely be limited in social interaction, how can your business make the time special for families to enjoy at home? Can you great Easter treats, Easter boxes, egg hunt packs or craft packs for children and families to enjoy.
- Eid – 12/13 May – with the celebration of the end of Ramadan coming up, this may coincide with the easing of restrictions – how can your business help families to celebrate either at home or within the government guidelines at the time?
We all need to work together to make 2021 a year to remember, for the right reasons – as business owners we can help bring joy and hope to consumers by delighting them with our products and services in their homes.
Finally, how can you help other local businesses? Can you use your social media pages to promote other local / small businesses that you have bought from and had a good experience with.
Author: Laura Kirk