Tips from Leslie Burden
In all of my professional life and 20 years that I have owned and operated Label Solutions, there has never been a time when I felt the need to support the UK small businesses more. As we find our feet in getting back to our new normal, I wanted to share some tips that we’ve learnt on the journey….
The Label Solutions response to COVID-19
During the downtime, the team dedicated time to assess what are we doing as a business that works well, and what doesn’t. We want to make sure we come out the other side of this pandemic stronger and with greater operational resilience.
Britain is often referred to as the nation of shop keepers, and with the level of small business – that do it yourself innovation, support for our communities has really come through over the last few weeks.
While in lockdown, we reached out to our customers to find out how they are doing and see what we could change to be more supportive. It was great to be able to support a craft gin distillery as they pivoted to help out by making hand sanitizer, through to an urgent order for a UK council who needed social distancing stickers to be used across the borough to support the return to work with a tight turnaround. Being there to support public organisations through to private businesses has been rewarding for me personally, and the wider team.
4 tips to reopen your small business safely
What I’ve learnt through this process and with the years of experience working with businesses across the UK, these are the tips I would offer as your reopen post COVID-19:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
At Label Solutions we have been lucky. Our team has been able to effectively work from home – our marketing, designers, customer services and business development staff have all been able to work remotely so that our printers could continue to work safely in the warehouse.
Tip: When you are used to working with a small team all from the same office, you can overlook the quick and easy conversation that keeps everything running smoothly. Make sure you make the most of the technology available – zoom calls, emails, text, and calls – check in regularly with staff to ensure they are feeling supported and are comfortable going back to work.
- Run a risk assessment
Depending on your type of business and the layout of your workplace – think about how you will be able to operate and note down any of the risks and concerns as they come up. Finding the bottlenecks where customers and colleagues might end up congregating together, or the 2m social distance can’t be maintained.
Tip: Setting up a one-way system can help to keep traffic and congestion to a minimum in your store or office.
- Signage is important
Think about how you can communicate your social distancing practices and find ways to make it visual. We know that it’s far easy to maintain 2m apart when the distance is clearly marked on the floor.
Tip: Think about the eye line or your customers and staff for your social distancing safety and personal hygiene stickers and posters. Think about all the surfaces where you could make sure that the social distancing guidance is within close proximity to the risk. For example, place your handwashing reminders by the sink.
- Use available tools to keep your customers safe and informed
This is a very different way of working that many of us aren’t used to, and can feel like quite a challenge to get everything right for your customers and employees. But the good thing is there is help available. The UK Government has prepared a checklist, 5 steps to continue working safely, which can help give direction on where to begin. They also have unique packs available to a range of industries from factories to construction sites and offices to retail outlets, available here
Tip: As many businesses need to adjust opening hours or need to rely on building their business online instead of the high street, Google has prepared some support on how best to engage and inform customers with their free Google My Business Guidance for Business affected by COVID-19.
We’re here to help
As we all find our new ways of working, I wanted to assure our new and loyal customers that we will continue with our “We’re here to help” friendly approach that we’re known for. But to add an extra level of help to our business community we are offering some value-added services, which includes:
- Free delivery to all UK mainland addresses
- Free digital proofing*, and
- Zero cutter charges*.
We wish you luck as you get your business back on track, and please don’t hesitate to call me or the wider Label Solutions team for advice or support through these trying times.
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