I used to work in the middle of the busiest sector of Manhattan. 100 Gold street. While living in the middle of the suburbs of New Jersey. Roselle. Getting to work was chaotic. Involving a 6 am wake-up, a 7:15 am bus, and an 8:30 am barely-caught train, and I swear the only thing that saved my morning from being the worst thing out of hell was a muffin or a beef patty at my favorite bodega from across the street. I was a proud member of what my wide-awake snarky cashier rep would call “the morning crowd.”
What is the New Normal?
- Consumers Aren’t Packing the Trains Anymore
- “The Morning Crowd” is Now in Their Kitchen, Fixing Their Own Cup of Coffee or Ordering it In.
- Most Office Work is Now Remote and Will Stay That Way For a Long Time.
- And People Wear Masks Now... Everywhere
Therefore every time you see that a new article has come out detailing the effects of this “new normal” understand that they are simply trying to say:
Small business owners can’t depend on old business models like a “morning rush” to work in the new age.
How can you attract consumers who no longer HAVE to leave the house to visit your place of business? Now that “normal” is staying at home and keeping your distance, what does that mean for businesses that require foot traffic to keep going? Dining restaurants, Bodegas, Spas, etc.
Here are 4 honest truths small business owners need to know about "The New Normal"
Indoor Dining & Shopping Still Matter
Going out to dinner for your anniversary will never go out of style. Small Business owners shouldn't lose hope with the success of delivery services in the "New Normal." Instead, they should think, "How am I planning to lure customers in?" Consider this:
Dinner as the new breakfast crowd.
Happy Hour specials after 5pm are perfect for housebound consumers who are looking for a reason to get out of the house after work. Create initiatives to lure consumers into your spot after a long day of remote work. Create specials that entice consumers to sit down, especially now that some restaurants are opening up to indoor dining. Make indoor dining and in-store shopping FUN again. Consumers working a 9-5 at home might not know it yet but they want a reason to leave the house. Give them one.
Speed Is Important
Imagine getting your groceries delivered in two hours with a click of a button, then going to get dinner and having to wait in line for 30 minutes to make your order. Instead of the satisfaction of a hassle-free meal, your customer might wish that they door dash'd instead. If you’re an in-store shopper dependent business, it’s essential to know: Speed is the new normal.
Operations need to run at an optimum level to ensure consumer return. Aside from that, most in-store operations are still restricted to 25% capacity.
With limited capacity, brick & mortar’s will need to operate faster to keep revenue steady with the little guests allowed in-store. That means rapid turn-around.
Apps like Delightree that streamline operational tasks by making them easy to designate and complete can help.
Innovation Matters Even More
The world is now more aware of how powerful tech is in managing national emergencies, consumers are expecting things fast and in seconds. Creativity and innovation is the only way brick and mortar will survive. What is the new normal? Just advanced adaptation. Adaptation or die.
Technology is spinning rapidly in every direction. The new normal is about anticipating the inevitable and listening to science. The digital transformation has been accelerated thanks to the pandemic. Use tech to automate operations, save time, save costs and re-invent yourself as a company that's hip with the times.
Your business will suffer if you don't find a way to innovate and stay relevant in the next couple of years.
Being prepared in 2021 now transcends inventory.
There was a time when all business owners had to do to shield their business from loss of revenue was make sure their refrigerator was stocked, and purchase insurance. That time is gone; this is the new normal. In the new normal emergency contingency plans are what will stand in the way of you going under next time there’s a world emergency and your business standing strong. Part of being prepared means having the foresight to foretell when the next natural disaster might strike and how that might look like.
That means paying attention to the future, politics, climate, and tech. Be over-prepared. Now that my inventory is fully stocked and I have an emergency plan, where is Tech heading? How is my industry adapting? What is happening in the world? It is no longer enough to be a businessman adept at business, the new normal calls for business people who are also well-versed in our world’s economics and politics. In this sense, be over-prepared. Have a heightened sense of awareness.
The new entrepreneur mindset ranges from knowing who is opening each store to knowing the effect of pollution on the ozone layers so your business can be prepared for the next indescribable disaster.
This also means not assuming the same kind of patronage that earned you income before will return when COVID has lifted. Remote work is here to stay, the new normal means you might never see another crowd like the one that used to bum rush your bodega at 8:10 am trying to catch a coffee before the train but that doesn't mean you should give up on foot traffic, it just means that it's time to reinvent yourself and get more creative with how you earn your foot traffic.
It means put your operations to the test to make sure they are running at an optimum level.
It means it's time to innovate. Lastly, the new normal means it's time to prepare.