2020 was a tricky year for many especially our high street independent shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and fitness studios. Back in March when they were planning their next few months everything was shut down for what we thought was a few weeks, little did we know nearly a year later and they would be shut again.
Many of these businesses had two choices – shut and loose nearly a year’s income or diversify.
Diversification is the process of a business enlarging or varying its range of products or changing its method of selling or operating in different markets.
Diversification as David Bozward of the RAU stated is not new with over 60% of farms diversifying at least once.
Whatever local businesses felt about the pandemic there was one thing clear they needed to adapt the way they were working and ensure their staff members were open to these changes.
Some of the ways Cotswold businesses have successfully amended the way they work include:
Local independents shops moving online, creating a website where people can purchase their goods either for click and collect or for postage. Benefits to this are no geographical barriers to selling their products.
Restaurants have enabled customers to enjoy restaurant quality food from the comfort of home with many offering take away / cook at home and cookery classes with the chefs
Cafes have provided their cakes and goodies by click and collect, delivery as well as one local café offering a mobile coffee and cake service to local housing estates.
Fitness studios have turned to Zoom or other online services to continue offering their fitness classes as well as providing clients with outdoor 121 classes when this was allowed.
All of these changes cost money and also required a big change in the way many businesses run and operate but we are really impressed with the way they have met the challenge head on and feel it could lead to changes in the way they operate in the long term as well.
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