My previous comments have focussed on “embracing the changes” likely to flow from the impact of Covid-19 on your business.

The lockdown has given time for thought and an indication of the changes likely to succeed when the “new” normal arrives. Some changes will be gradual and others immediate.

Directional floor arrows and 2m distancing discs are already in abundance along with one-way flows from “Entry” to Exit Only” doors. Unfortunately, shelf layouts and shopping lists do not all follow the same systems.

Frustrations and misunderstandings, genuine or not, are already happening. I was “queue  jumped” today by someone only wishing to buy a newspaper but was later seen at the check-out with a full basket.

Put very simply, whatever the nature and size of your business the formula for success is to meet  consumer demand profitably. Without demand, there is no business, without profit, there is no point.

Just a few of my predictions.

·        I think the increase in e-commerce buying with delivery is here to stay, particularly for food, other consumables and trusted health and beauty brands.

·        Queuing at Supermarkets will be necessary for some time but will soon be possible in the comfort of your car with automatic number plate recognition. Your registration number will be flashed when it is your turn to enter.

·        Restaurants will reduce their takeaway offerings in favour of table service, albeit with new restaurant layouts, the likelihood of advance bookings, some with non-refundable deposits in the event of customer cancellation,  fixed time limits for table occupation, and even a minimum spend per head!

·        Clothing will still favour the in-shop browse, try, and buy where floor markings will help customer flows and whilst internet sales will continue, they will be planned to discourage the increasing level of returns.

·        Travel and banking will experience major changes, but the customer experience is likely to continue with high levels of disappointment.

Looking to the future is vital for financial survival and  hopefully you are now at an advanced stage of preparation for the relaxing of “lockdown”. The longer the lockdown affects your business in your mind these plans may weaken to hopes due to the continuing lack of income and ongoing costs resulting in worsening cash flow despite the Government Covid-19 support and initiatives in their various forms. Some businesses appear to have benefitted whilst others appear to be frustrated over both qualification and timescales.

If you are at that stage, then you should consider professional advice in connection with turnaround support or even a formal insolvency process. To do nothing over such concerns is almost certain to be worse that doing something.

Think carefully, choose your professional advisor with care, and ensure that a turnaround plan is not simply dismissed in favour of an unnecessary insolvency process.

Tony Armitage