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As coronavirus restrictions ease, what will you need to know to navigate the recovery phase successfully? Running a small business or being self-employed is never without its challenges, and the UK-wide lockdowns and restrictions implemented because of COVID-19 have left many unable to trade. It is essential you reassess your businesses in light of the changing world in which we now live, and there are four questions you should ask as we begin the road to recovery: 1 What is happening in the business world? As lockdown eases, your business will be learning how to work in a new normal, with guidelines across the UK being reviewed constantly. The most important thing you can do is to stay up to date and avoid misinformation by accessing reliable resources: n GOV.UK ocial government guidelines, information and updates on steps being taken to manage the crisis, with dedicated resources for businesses and the self-employed. Rules and timelines for recovery are dierent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland n Your local authority website area-specific information, including on grants and funding options n Federation of Small Businesses coronavirus hub home to the latest news, advice and guidance from government, tailored for small business owners and the self-employed n Health and Safety Executive guidance for safe working during coronavirus. You dont have to face these challenges alone. Networking allows you to connect with local business owners and to be part of a supportive community, sharing experiences, tips and advice. FSBs virtual networking and business support events are open to all. 2 Networking allows you to connect with local business owners and to be part of a supportive community, sharing experiences, tips and advice What are my business priorities? Key areas that will need your attention during the recovery phase are: n Building back sales when your business reopens, youll need to get people through the door again. Read our guide to reassuring customers that your premises are COVID-19 secure. n Managing your cash flow during economic uncertainty, this is a major priority. If your business has been closed or unable to operate for a length of time, review your plans and forecasts. New restrictions and reduced capacities may aect your income in the months ahead. Read our 10 tips on managing your working capital. Dig out your business plan and assess whether you need to change anything. How have your operations in the past few months aected your objectives? Do you need to add anything for example, a new service that you have introduced? Our guide to business plans can help you prepare for recovery. 3 What are my new challenges, and how can I manage them? Your business will need to comply with new health and safety laws in order to be COVID-19 secure. If youre an employer, you will have additional concerns about managing your team as your business prepares for the future. Read our back-to-work guide to help your sta make the transition. If youre facing the possibility of making redundancies, we explain how you can navigate the process in a compassionate, legal way. 4 Where can I create opportunities? Its going to be vital to get the attention of new and existing customers. Making the most of e-commerce and adapting to new markets can help your small business stay ahead of the curve. n Do your research going back to basics with your market research can help you stay competitive. Use easy tools, such as your social media insights, order history or website analytics, to track your performance and plan for success. Look at your products and services with fresh eyes: have some grown in popularity during lockdown, are your customers buying dierently, and are there any issues with your supply chain? n Keep an eye on the competition how are others in your industry responding to this new world of business? Can you take any ideas or inspiration to add to your own plans, or think of even better ways to do things? n Take your business online online oerings are a fantastic additional stream of revenue for your business, and the clicks and mortar trend is gaining in popularity. Click-and-collect services give customers the convenience of picking up from your premises. Our guide to running an e-commerce business walks you through the basics, or visit our Skills Hub to learn how you can #MakeBizDigital. Credit: Karen Woolley, development manager, Federation of Small Businesses Image: iStock / Rawpixel / georgeclerk n Communicate with your customers dont forget your existing customers. Let them know about your opening times, latest oers or special campaigns. They are already familiar with your brand, know you deliver great customer service, and are likely to show their support for your business. Ask them to leave a review, recommend you to a friend or simply spread the word on social media. For further information, please contact your local Trading Standards Service