Over the last 12 months, people have begun to invest in their ambitions, by starting their own small business off the back of their hobbies or interests. The global pandemic has reworked a lot about the way we live and work, and there has been a notable push for people to recognise those with ‘unskilled’ jobs as being the heroes of the pandemic.
Throughout 2020 there was a huge rise in new businesses, the third quarter of 2020 saw more businesses created than in the last three years! More than 221,000 new companies were created.
Although we’re all experiencing a tough economic landscape, there is hope as business begins to reopen and life starts getting back to normal.
The next few weeks are going to be imperative to the survival of new lockdown ventures, as well as esthablished businesses across the UK. So, we’ve compiled some top tips for you to consider when reopening your business or opening for the first time:
Catch up with your employees
Furlough and working from home may have caused barriers within internal communications over the last year, but it’s important to prioritise consistent and coherent messaging before reopening. The dates provided in the projected roadmap also depend on the latest local and national statistics, this means unforeseen changes could occur. Make sure your employees are kept up to date with any business developments as government announcements are made.
You should also use this time to speak directly with your employees to understand their questions, concerns and requirements from a personal and practical perspective; Are they able to return to work? Do they need additional measures in place? Has their job role changes? Do they need to complete any refresher any training?
Review procedures and policies
Take a look at your current policies and procedures and ensure everything is not only up to date but considers the impact of the pandemic. From general risk assessments to fire safety evacuation procedures, you may be surprised to learn how much infection control considerations can impact these common procedures.
You will also need to develop a COVID-19 specific risk assessment to ensure you are meeting your legal responsibility to protect your employees. To find out more information specific to your sector visit GOV.uk.
Review your building
If your building has been closed for an extended period you may find you have some work to do before you can welcome staff or the public back in. Ensure that all the necessary inspections have been completed and paperwork is up to date. Examples include; water, heating, ventilation and fire safety systems.
Implement and review new practices to help infection control
The HSE.gov.uk has published an extensive guide which details the steps you can take to create a COVID-secure workplace. While you may have put preventative measures into place last year, it is important to review your updated COVID risk assessment to ensure that these are still effective and suit your businesses day to day operation. It is also important to consider that these measures shouldn’t be implemented to a detriment to other safety considerations.
Social distancing is expected to remain in place so this is something to consider; Can staff and customers move around safely? Do they have access to PPE such as masks and gloves?
You can also consider altering the working hours of your staff, if fewer people are allowed on the premises at one time, this could lead to the need for additional opening hours to accommodate demand.
Upgrade your payment solutions
According to figures from parliament, there are 5.4 million micro-businesses in the UK, and research has indicated that potentially 2.2 million don’t accept card payments. There are various reasons why small businesses don’t accept card payments – including the cost – but businesses risk losing out on an influx of customers if they don’t accept new technologies.
Large competitors are more likely to offer this flexibility, as almost nine out of 10 businesses with between 10 and 249 employees accept card payments.
If you aren’t offering customers the option to pay by card already, it might be time to future-proof your business. Card machines give customers faster transactions and a more convenient way to pay, and it also might not be as expensive as you think. Click here to get a unique quote for your business today.