If anyone tells you they know exactly what the ‘new normal’ is going to look like six, twelve or eighteen months from now, you should offer to buy them a new aluminum foil hat. However, there is a certain amount of planning that can be done in advance, so you are not behind the curve.
Unfortunately, some businesses have been devastated by the last year. Some will survive, but many have not and will not. But, at the same time, some businesses have thrived, even in business categories that have seen the most difficulty. Restaurants that embraced take-out and innovative ways to serve patrons have seen business skyrocket. Curb-side service and many other innovative processes have helped businesses to grow in terrible circumstances.
So, what now? It seems that people are beginning to look at the horizon again after keeping their heads down to just get through the day. As we slowly and painfully return to our ‘new normal’ some things will certainly change. Businesses that have had a smaller field of competitors over the last year will begin to notice the businesses that have survived but had been shut down re-opening, and as happens when there is a whiff of economic opportunity in the air, new businesses will open. By sheer numbers and novelty, it will be hard for the businesses that innovated to stay open and serve customers to maintain the market share they have earned over the past year.
The answer lies in planning now for a post-pandemic world. Some basic measures are to stay in touch, tap into your database and remind your clientele of how wonderful you are on a regular basis, establish loyalty rewards that will keep them coming back, and continue to innovate, to name a few.
If the Captain of the Titanic had looked far enough out to plot his course, Leonardo Di Caprio may not have become as big a star, and if you’ve worked extremely hard to keep going through these times, be sure to keep that momentum going.