Starting back or starting again?

Don’t let your business slip into old ways when the new ways you’ve been forced into during lockdown may actually be so much better, says Luke Wedgbury of Coalville Kitchens

Nobody could have foreseen what happened six weeks ago, as independent KBB owners we watched in horror as slowly but surely our government slowed our country down to a snail’s pace. Then we got the nod… close your doors folks!

As business owners the thought of this sent shockwaves across our industry, the main reason being we simply didn’t know how long our showrooms would be closed. You see inside every business owner there’s a little ‘control freak’ and the not knowing is the bit that’s hard to swallow. Give us a time scale to work towards and we can happily plan our way out of anything, but not knowing when we may be able to open? That’s the worst part.

Six weeks on and we now have a much better understanding of the situation, we know what happened, we know what support is available and we know that there will be no immediate end to all this, just a “New Normal” that we need to deal with.

So the question that springs to my mind is that now we are starting to focus on how things look moving forward, are we starting back? Or are we starting again?

 Starting back means we simply slip straight into the old ways of doing things, how things used to be done before we had even heard of Covid-19, surely you remember the good old days? When we used to sit close to each other in the office? When we used to shake the hands of our clients because it was very important to do so? Even when we used to be able have a chat in a client’s kitchen or bathroom when it was all finished? Those days have gone. Long gone.

So let’s imagine we start again, with a new set of rules. We re-write how we do things but this time we’ve been given a head start. We’ve been given six weeks (or more) of practice to be able to perfect our systems and processes to the point where we ‘almost’ start saying to ourselves… “why on earth did we not do this before?”

Many examples of this can be found in the way we currently operate our business.

 Working from home? Why can’t this be something our staff do on a regular basis? They seem to like it and they’re being super productive.

Virtual appointments with clients? We’ve been forced into doing this but hey, guess what? It works a treat and could be an incredibly powerful relationship building tool.

Delivery of samples to a client’s home? Again, this is something that will speed up a design process and build those all-important relationships.

The list could go on.

Many positives can be taken from this awful situation but to go back to the old ways of doing things is almost an insult to all the hardship that this country – and especially this industry  – has had to go through. So why not take this opportunity to start again? Why not rip up the rule book and think like a true entrepreneur?

There are lots of things we cannot control about this virus, it could take our loved ones from us at any point over the coming months or maybe even the coming years. But there is one thing we can control and that’s how we as business owners respond to all the challenges that get thrown our way to ensure it doesn’t take our business.

So I’m going to stay positive and remember…this too shall pass.

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