With the uncertainty in the industry due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is vital that business owners get a handle on what is happening in their own kitchen and bath remodel business. Daily I get asked by clients and I listen to other owners in the industry ask what they should do to manage this crisis.
The first thing I always say is don’t panic, in times of anxiety people look to others for leadership and assurance that everything will be okay. You as the business owner need to be that leader to reassure your clients, we will get through this and you have a plan to help do just that. Below we discuss several items every business owner in the kitchen and bath remodel space should be doing to manage this crisis and come out better on the other side.
First and foremost, if you have not already reached out to every client and prospect on your list you should do so, NOW! Check in with all your clients and prospects to ensure they are doing okay and let them know you have a plan in place going forward. Talk about how you will conduct your business going forward and share how your team is adhering to the latest guidelines in safety (social distancing, hand washing, staying home if sick, etc.). Especially the clients where ongoing projects are taking place, reassure them that your remodeling crew is taking the necessary precautions to wear gloves, mask, sanitize all areas where they are working, etc., in order to put their mind at ease.
At this time, you must communicate with your client to let them know that you understand the time we are living in now and you have taken the necessary steps to address any issues that might arise. This will help give your clients a peace of mind to allow you to keep working on their project in their home. If you feel comfortable, I would suggest making a video of your plan of action and sending it out to your clients and prospects and then following up with a phone call to ensure they understand how you are going to implement your plan.
Be Social, Digitally
Many business owners I speak with have not been engaging in social media at all over the last few years. If this is you, now is the time to get social, digitally. With people at home with their kids, this is where your prospects are. So, you need to be where they are and engage. In addition to the Facebook and Instagram of the world, join groups in your local area like NextDoor and Meetup so you can communicate with people in your immediate area that may be looking for services you offer. I have many clients that have gained work through these and other online groups just by being social and engaging with their local community members.
Engaging with these social media channels is not as time consuming as you might think. Set aside 15 - 20 minutes a day to check out what people are saying, offering suggestions and advice where you can and move on to the next part of your day. Remember people will not look at or care what you have to offer until they know you care. Being social is easy, and it's a good way to grow your stature in the community you serve.
Learn New Tools
Many business owners in the kitchen and bath remodel space are not used to working remotely let alone allowing their team to do the same. This is the perfect time to learn about the tools available for making remote working more efficient. With the technology today you can run a virtual meeting, share secure documents with your clients and manager your team all from your smart phone or mobile device. Access to these and many other tools are available to make your business more productive while working remotely, and many business owners just don’t know this technology is out there.
Take some time to look at your internal systems to see what tools are available to make your processes run more seamless. We have put together a resource guide for business owners in the kitchen and bath remodel space to help you understand the critical tools you need to run your business remotely. Click here or on the image to download the resource guide.
On page 4 and 5 of the resource guide, we go over these tools with links to sites that conduct an in-depth analysis of the most popular apps/platforms to accomplish these task with prices and pros/cons to each software package. This is a most read if you are not sure where to start when deciding on the tools you will use in your business.
Reassess Your Offerings
If you have not had a chance to review and reassess your service offerings in a while now is the time to do so. Make sure your offerings are current with the needs of the clients you are serving, and the prices reflect your level of expertise in those areas. When doing this review, you may find some services you offer are out of date and can use a refinement or some services are not really utilized and can be combined with something else you offer or taken out completely.
Also think about service offerings you may have always wanted to do but did not have the time to develop and implement. Have you thought about digital design services which can help you reach a larger audience outside of your immediate locale and pertinent in this day and time? If you have not seen the inaugural webinar the NKBA put on in their series called ”Brave New Business”, click here to watch the recording. The panel offered great advice for new digital services you can offer in your company along with best practices they are experiencing in the field.
Get Your House in Order
Getting your house in order refers to managing your business finances, but with the situation today it also refers to structuring your home in a way to be conducive to working from home. As we discussed above reassessing your service offerings is a good thing to do now but looking at your company finances is essential. Go through each expenditure in your budget to make sure all expenses are necessary and critical to running your business. Do some research to see if you can accomplish the same goal with another tool in order to cut some cost. By reviewing all your expenditures, you may find you can save enough money to buy needed equipment/supplies, retain employees, pay off debt, and conduct your business more efficiently.
For those business owners that are doing fine you may want to look at bringing on quality talent (if it is financially feasible at this time). You may have an open position that needs to be filled and with the amount of talented people looking for work you may be able to find your ideal candidate. As we know finding good people can be difficult but if you are in the position to bring in someone, now may be the time to find the person that can set your business a part from the competition once we are out of this crisis.
In terms of space, make sure you have adequate space in your home to operate effectively. With your kids at home it is important to establish your own space so everyone in the house knows that the area you carve out is your workspace that is off limits between certain hours. While many parents are getting used to working from home as well as educating their kids, it is important to set schedules for when certain task will take place. Getting your kids on a set schedule is good for their psyche and allows them to function better with their class work knowing there are certain times when this will take place. This will also give you the necessary time to get your work done as well. A good article in the business insider on how one family accomplished this can be read here. The insight can help all parents get a better grasp on working from home while educating their kids at the same time.
In addition to your financial well-being, look at the loans available through the federal and state government to help businesses through this crisis. There are a number of programs available to business owners to help them stay afloat during these rough times. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce prepared a PDF document (click here) with a checklist and guide for small businesses to help them understand the different loan programs available. There are a number of resources available to help businesses bridge the gap between this crisis and getting to the other side. Take advantage of the programs available and talk with your local banks to see what other resources they have to help you get through this.
As mentioned above in a time of crisis people look for reassurance and optimism. Make sure you are communicating this with your clientele. There is more then enough doom and gloom on the news, but you want to make sure you are a source people can rely on and trust. When your current clients and prospects know you are on top of this crisis with a plan of action, that helps build you as an authority in the field and a person to look to now and when this crisis ends.
This crisis to shall pass and you want to make sure when it does that you have taken the necessary steps to not only survive but thrive once we get ready for the new normal. We are not sure what that new normal will look like, but by reassessing your current business model and preparing your business accordingly you will be ahead of the curve when this crisis does end.
Kitchen & Bath Marketing Solutions sends well wishes to everyone during this time of crisis and if you have any questions or need guidance don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know. Our staff is ready to get your questions answered and guide you in a path of success now and into the future.