Business Ideas | Cyprus Business Advice for the Covid-19 Lockdown

Business Ideas Cyprus

10 POSITIVE BUSINESS IDEAS FOR SUCCESS – DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

  • Maintain your Business Premises during Lockdown
  • Keep your Brand Alive with Online Marketing
  • Keep Networking for Strong Business Relations
  • Be Prepared to Change Direction in your Business
  • Manage Business Costs to Save Money
  • Keep in Touch with your Team to ensure Staff Loyalty
  • Keep Up to Date with Government Grants
  • Implement Covid-Safe Policies & Let People Know
  • Prepare for a Competitive Business Future
  • Consider your Revenue Streams & Try New Things

A GUIDE FOR BUSINESS ADVICE IN 2021 – CYPRUS IN STYLE MAGAZINE

Business Ideas Cyprus – Society has never been faced with such a bleak business future. The need to adopt new and innovative ways is essential for businesses to survive during 2021. This article offers business owners original ideas, which can be implemented into their business plans and contribute to their ultimate survival and success.

Times are hard, and none of us anticipated the events we experienced last year, and nobody should be embarrassed that their business is not doing well during these times. The old phrase, “out of our hands”, has never been more appropriate. However, business owners can plan specific strategies to keep going and, more importantly, to ensure their long-term survival. All the suggestions throughout this article cost nothing or very little to implement, and are designed to empower you and your business through Lockdown, and beyond.

It may be that the decision to close your business is out of your control during this worldwide pandemic, but if you are in a position to continue working, read on! Even if just one point relates to your situation and helps you, it is a very worthwhile exercise.

1. WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS PREMISES SAYING DURING THE COVID LOCKDOWN?

This applies to all businesses, both open and closed. With the recent Lockdown forcing companies to close, many business owners will have left in a hurry. Did you leave your shop or office with Christmas decorations up? Does your window to the world look shabby with lots of COVID-19 notices?

When a business is closed, it is very easy to forget the basics. Remember that your business premises are a real advert to your customers. You might be closed, but people are still driving past on a daily basis. Apart from your online presence, this is one of the only communication methods with the general public. If you look as if you have closed down, be warned, the rumours will start. Make sure your commercial space looks impressive and tells the world you are still in business. Park outside and take a long critical look and ask yourself some questions …

  • CAN VISITORS UNDERSTAND YOUR CURRENT SITUATION?

Do you have a single notice on the door of your premises advising the current state of play? Let your customers know if you are temporarily closed and give them your direct contact information. If you are open, let them know with up-to-date information.

  • IS YOUR BUILDING LOOKING FRESHLY-MAINTAINED?

Are there weeds growing? Are your windows filthy? Is there rubbish in the doorway? All these basics can be upgraded very quickly and easily.

  • DOES YOUR SHOPFRONT SIGNAGE DIRECT YOUR AUDIENCE?

Looking at your shopfront signage; is your website and social media information clearly visible? If not, perhaps take the time to order stickers, which can be displayed either on existing signs or on glass doors or windows. Remember, this is now the only direct communication with your clients. Make it easy for them to stay in touch. It is essential to create a lasting positive impression.

  • TOP TIP: AVOID RED & WHITE SHOPFRONT SIGNAGE!

For any shopfront sign used outside any business premises, avoid using red and white. Many restaurants, which have started doing takeaway food, have made the mistake of using these combined colours, and here is why you should avoid making the same mistake. Red and white signs in Cyprus are traditionally used for advertising a property for sale or rent. At high-speed driving past, these colours are giving the wrong message – we have closed down! Avoid this colour combination at all costs.

2. HAVE YOU CONTINUED TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS (ESPECIALLY ONLINE)?

When times are hard, it is easy to cut back on marketing services and think it is not vital while you are closed. This is a huge mistake. At the end of this pandemic, things will begin to go back to normal, and you still want to be the respected market leader in your field. Make the most of this opportunity of ‘time’ and really look at what you have to do, in order to lead the way and keep your brand out there. Marketing your business during Lockdown will keep everyone informed and allow you to keep growing your network, ready for a stronger return.

  • START WITH A FULL DIGITAL MEDIA AUDIT

Think about your website. How long is it since you sat down and took the time to go through it with a critical eye? Is all the information up to date? Do all lines of communication work? Do a test, as a potential client, and check that all aspects of your website are working.

Also think about updating pages, which are not representing you well or are out of date. Be thorough when checking your business website and remove any mistakes which may have appeared when you were initially rushing to finish it. There is nothing worse than out of date information! Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THE MESSAGE YOU ARE SENDING TO YOUR VIEWERS?

Does your website clearly tell your clients what you are currently doing? Are you open or closed? Are you offering online delivery or click and collect? Communication with your customers is critical at this time.

  • ARE YOU CONTINUING TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST & PUBLISH NEWS UPDATES?

On your website, do you offer the option to join an email list? As the world goes more and more digital in the future, this is an essential online marketing tactic for your business and will enable you to keep in touch with your customer base. Not everyone uses social media platforms, and therefore it is vital to continue collecting email addresses to maintain regular contact.

  • HAVE YOU CONTINUED TO POST FRESH CONTENT TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?

It is no secret that Social Media offers a huge opportunity to advertise your business online. Have you been regularly posting fresh content? You have to do this to communicate with your customer base which, while you might not see them at the moment, they are most definitely still there watching and have got even more time than ever, to read your posts. You want to inspire loyalty to your business by letting them know what you are up to and your future plans. Fresh, engaging content and consistency, are critical to social media.

Create a Social Media Strategy now for the year ahead, including all occasions relevant to your business. Take the time to plan and think of future posts. We used to say that time was a luxury, so it is worth bearing in mind that soon you will be back working all hours, and wishing you had used the time productively.

  • TOP TIP: MAXIMISE RESULTS IN SOCIAL VIDEO MARKETING!

If you create marketing videos for social media, remember to place captions on the video. Over 90% of us watch videos on social media without the volume, so you don’t want your message to be lost. Plus, if you have links to YouTube videos on your website, be sure to disable the link for ‘Suggested Other Videos’. This link will likely include a selection of your competitors’ videos, which you don’t want your potential customers to see.

3. ARE YOU ACTIVELY NETWORKING TO MAINTAIN BUSINESS RELATIONS?

This time last year, we were all very much in the habit of seeing our clients and business associates on a regular basis. Whether at a meeting, a catch-up coffee or at a networking event, our diaries used to be full of human interaction. Don’t lose these relationships. It is essential to maintain business relations for the future. Networking is key during Lockdown, and your efforts could motivate your business associates to keep going.

Arrange a Zoom meeting to enjoy a coffee and plan for the future for when things return to ‘normal’. The reality is that most people have got the time to do this now. Remember that human-to-human stimulation is very important and will impact on the way you feel. You don’t want to spend all day flying solo on your computer. Think about someone you admire and used to regularly communicate with, and take time to arrange a connection with them.

It is always good to talk with people, but if it is not appropriate, don’t mention business – just keep in touch. It can serve as a way to strengthen your working relationship for years to come.

  • TOP TIP: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING TOO PERSONALLY!

Remember that, as a general rule, people have good and bad days. If someone is dismissive of you or abrupt, it is probably not you and might just be that they are having a bad day. We all have them! However, it is essential to try and not isolate your business relationships!

4. ARE YOU PREPARED TO CHANGE DIRECTION IN YOUR BUSINESS?

As we advance, we are all going to need to be adaptable and flexible. Don’t let yourself be too rigid in your ways and stick to the same path. Times have changed, and we have to think of new ways to make money in our businesses.

Whereas before, you used to do something in a certain way; now, you need to be open to suggestions and new business ideas. Many restaurants never dreamt that they would have to do takeaway food, but when they had no other option, they jumped on board to offer takeaway meals to their customers. They are wise, as this gives them some income to cover their costs and maintain their relationships and contact with their customers.

  • TOP TIP: IMPLEMENT YOUR NEW IDEAS CAREFULLY!

A new idea can be a great enhancement to any business model, but make sure you do it properly. For example, if you are a restaurant starting takeaway food for the first time – did you print a clearly visible menu online? Have you connected with the growing list of food delivery apps such as Foody and Wolt? Don’t let a rushed business decision ruin your worthy reputation.

5. ARE YOU MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS COSTS TO SAVE MONEY?

We all do our accounts regularly, but how many of us take the time to go through the outgoings to see what is essential and what is a luxury or a waste of money? Now is the time to analyse and see what your business can live without. Look at the services and contracts you pay for, and analyse what you can afford to lose. During these economic times, it is wise to be ruthless, and you can always restart a service in the future. Assess any areas where you can afford to cut your costs.

Speak with your regular suppliers and explain any situation you are going through. They won’t want to lose your business and might be open to offering sale or return terms. List your debts and if needed, use this time to renegotiate them. Be honest with your debtors and keep them informed. It is easier to hope they might go away, but they won’t, so suggest a realistic payment plan that doesn’t put you under pressure.

Look carefully at your cash flow and make sure you have got enough to get you through if the current situation goes on for an extended period. If things are looking tight, take the time to go to your bank manager and arrange a business overdraft or business loan. You mustn’t wait until you need it. If required, loans can take an age to be approved, so be ahead and have it ready to use.

  • TOP TIP: KEEP YOUR LANDLORD IN THE LOOP!

One of the most significant overheads in a business is very often the rent. Keep good relations with your landlord and keep them entirely up to date on your business situation. This will make it easier to discuss either a rent reduction, rent-free period or reducing rent arrears. Remember, it works both ways during these times, as they will be anxious not to lose their tenant.

6. ARE YOU KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR STAFF?

Reflect and remember that you are all a team in your business. You might not have seen your staff for a while, but it is essential to keep good communication lines open. They will know about the situation, but they will also worry about what is happening to the business in the future, so keep them informed. Be open and share information about what the company is going through and put their minds at rest, as you don’t want to lose your best team members.

  • TOP TIP: HOLD ZOOM MEETINGS FOR TEAM MANAGEMENT!

Regular face-to-face Zoom meetings (online) are critical to keeping that team spirit alive. Use them wisely as a form of communication. If your team work from home, they will miss the office environment and appreciate being inspired, thereby completing their work more efficiently and productively. Do not think that sending an email is the same or has the same effect. It is proven that human interaction is essential for producing the best results in people in the workplace.

7. ARE YOU AWARE OF GOVERNMENT GRANTS AVAILABLE TO YOU?

Indeed, worldwide, there is a huge disappointment with business support grants for small and medium-sized businesses, especially in a time like this when businesses have been forced to close. However, keep on top of any Government financial support packages, which should be available to you. Government support is there for a reason, and you should do everything in your power to claim it. Your Accountant will often be the best source of information for learning about Government Grants, and should act on your behalf to make a claim, where appropriate. Read more on the latest Government Grants for Businesses in Cyprus here.

  • TOP TIP: CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!

It is also worthwhile to check any business insurance policies you may have. Last week, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that insurance companies had to pay out for business interruption. Whilst every country and policy will be different, it is highly recommended that you read through the small print and make a claim, where appropriate. The message, from last week, will have reverberated around the world to all insurance companies, which had tried to use the defence of an Act of God.

8. IMPLEMENT STRONG COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES & LET EVERYONE KNOW.

Hygiene for any business should come above everything at the moment. Even if you are temporarily closed, now is the time to start thinking about Covid-19 safety measures for when you reopen. When Lockdown finishes, it does not mean that we won’t need these preventative measures. They will likely continue for some time.

If you are currently open, you should be shouting from the rooftops about any Covid-19 safety measures you are taking to keep customers and staff safe. It is only natural that, during a pandemic, people are scared. When they are going out or ordering online, they are looking to use the safest option. There is no point investing in steam cleaning and hospital-grade sanitisers if your customers don’t know about it. Let them know!

Think about the whole customer experience from start to finish and what concerns they may have. Try to overcome them. Obviously, always strictly follow Cyprus Government guidelines relating to Covid-19 and the new measures and legislation, but try to think above the present situation. Regularly sanitised touchpoints, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and strict social distancing policies, will all reflect your brand in a positive light and will be what customers are looking for in today’s world. Make sure you advertise your new, Covid-19 safety policies on your website and social media.

  • TOP TIP: SHOW THAT YOU CARE ABOUT COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES!

If your staff wear masks and gloves at work, take a photo of the team and let your customers see it. Very few businesses are doing this, and it is actually what many want to see. Show your clients that you are doing everything humanly possible to protect them and the staff they will come into contact with, within your business.

9. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR A COMPETITIVE BUSINESS FUTURE?

The reality is that as things do return to normal, all business markets will become more competitive. Now is the time to plan and think of ways that you can create brand loyalty. Coffee shops do not offer us loyalty cards for nothing. It keeps us going back, as we don’t want to lose the free coffee! Most businesses can incorporate a loyalty card, and it is a great way to welcome your customers back after Lockdown. Offer either a discount or low-cost service, which will be greatly appreciated on, say, their 6th visit – and will therefore enhance customer loyalty.

Make sure that the customer experience, with you, is supreme, and that no other business can touch you. Think about that experience from start to finish. From the initial phone call to leaving you with the best possible feeling. How can you make your business stand out above and beyond your competition? What is vital to your customer? Think it all through. Previously, you might have got away with not answering the phone at lunchtime or not calling back, and maybe you used to keep customers waiting. Be aware that you will have to work harder for your customers in the future, as there will be a whole host of other businesses fighting for them at the same time. Don’t give your competitors the upper hand. Do everything you can to stay ahead of your game.

  • TOP TIP: MAINTAIN CUSTOMER LOYALTY – NO MATTER WHAT!

Create an enticing club offering unique advantages and discounts from gifts and/or services for customer referrals. It will inspire customer loyalty and recommendations!

10. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED EVERY ANGLE TO ENSURE INCOME FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Here, we selected 3 business models and offer original ideas and guidance for each.

A) FOR RESTAURANTS DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

  • OFFER THEMED CELEBRATION TAKEAWAY MEAL SETS

Have you thought about offering a themed celebration takeaway dinner? Birthdays and Anniversaries have not stopped happening, and people still have a desire to celebrate special occasions. Why not think of putting together a themed set meal, with a free bottle of wine and flowers for the celebration? Just work the additional costs into the price. Your clients will always appreciate and remember your involvement in helping them celebrate their special occasion.

  • OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS THEIR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS

Is your restaurant known for a particular product such as steak, sushi or pasta? If your kitchen is famous for its pasta, why not offer fresh pasta for sale? This could apply to many products and customer favourites in a commercial kitchen.

  • CREATE THE OPTION OF A DIY COOKING BOX

Have you thought about offering a DIY cooking box? These are huge in the US at the moment. Put a dish you know well together with an instruction card, and maybe include a pre-cooked sauce. Your old customers are at home and no doubt missing your cooking. Make it easy for them, and make money by helping them recreate it in their own kitchen.

  • KEEP YOUR BRAND ALIVE WITH ZOOM ONLINE COOKING VIDEOS

Have you considered doing online cooking videos? Making bread and cooking at home is massively popular at the moment. Make the most of it while you have a captive audience. Zoom is the perfect vehicle for this. Do a live class, or maybe do a pre-recorded version, to show your customers how to cook their favourite dishes. Just keep in touch with your customers; it’s so important.

B) FOR HAIRDRESSERS & BEAUTY SALONS DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

  • CONSIDER SELLING DIY HAIR & FACIAL TREATMENTS TO DO AT HOME

Think about offering DIY hair or facial treatments tailored for each client, which they can do at home. Even after Lockdown, some clients will continue to shelter at home. This might include mixing up a home-dye Hair-Colour Kit or a DIY Conditioning Treatment, and delivering it to your client, with contactless delivery. This should consist of all equipment (including gloves and mixing bowl) and self-explanatory instructions. You have the products. If you are thinking about doing this, always check that your insurance company, in Cyprus, covers you.

  • SHARE IDEAS FOR NATURAL HAIR TREATMENTS TO HELP DURING THE LOCKDOWN

If you have a “secret” natural hair or facial treatment recipe, which might work for your customers, let them know about it. Prepare a short marketing article or series of YouTube marketing videos – to help them during Lockdown. This keeps your contacts alive and also shows your knowledge. Share on social media.

  • COLLECT HAIR PRODUCT REVIEWS TO HELP YOU GAIN NEW CUSTOMERS

Think about collecting reviews from your customers about the products you sell. Compile a list of your top three selling hair products, in Cyprus, and let your customers know why they are so popular, by explaining the active ingredients. If you can, show the results of these hair products with before and after images.

  • OFFER HAIR & BEAUTY SALON GIFT VOUCHERS & PAMPER BASKETS

For birthdays and celebrations, which continue throughout Lockdown, offer your customers the chance to buy a pamper basket containing a selection of hair or facial products which you sell, and/or a gift voucher.

C) FOR HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION OWNERS DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

  • OFFER APPEALING GETAWAY DEALS & WEEKEND RETREATS FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

Obviously, with no international travel, now is the time to concentrate on the domestic market post Lockdown. Make it easy for that market to find you, and offer shorter, good value stays. Whilst the old 2-week holiday bookings were rather lovely, now look at splitting that time into weekend retreats and 3 or 4-day getaway deals. You could even offer celebration weekends at your holiday accommodation, in Cyprus, and include flowers, a takeaway and wine.

  • COLLECT ACCOMMODATION REVIEWS & USE THEM TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS

Contact your old guests for reviews. Go through your email list and ask them for a review of your business and the accommodation you offer. Also, take the time to give previous guests an incentive for booking with you in the future. Ensure it is not an open-ended offer, as you want them to book as soon as travel regulations allow.

  • ENHANCE YOUR BRAND IMAGE BY THINKING OF WAYS TO INCREASE MASS APPEAL

Brand up your image. Whereas before, you might have got away with calling your Cyprus villa ‘Number 3, Block A’. Now, think of ways to make it more appealing. Is there a name that sounds attractive and relates to your property or the area where it is positioned? Use it to market your holiday rental accommodation locally, and island wide.

  • REASSURE YOUR TENANTS OF A COVID-SAFE ACCOMMODATION OPTION IN CYPRUS

Show your clients that, as we move forward, you will retain a strict Anti-COVID-19 policy. Think above and beyond, and put people’s minds at rest. A potential client might be worried about using the bed linen. Combat that fear by showing the lengths you go to washing your bedding, and preventing the spread of Covid-19 in Cyprus. Make sure your policy is clearly visible to all viewers of the property. It might just give them the peace of mind to risk it and make that booking.

Also consider advertising your property to corporate clients, who might require accommodation for the business traveller.

  • LAST TOP TIP: REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

Most importantly, remember that everyone is in this together. Unless you own a company such as Amazon, all businesses have been affected. The reality of today, is that it is nothing you as a business owner, has done wrong or could have possibly anticipated.

Take the time to look after yourself and use friends as a sounding board for your new business ideas and inspirations. Just don’t allow yourself to get left behind by your competitors. Aim to relaunch after Lockdown with all guns blazing!

Published by Cyprus in Style Magazine January 2021 | #InStyleBusinessNetwork | Business Ideas Cyprus

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