Current circumstances are uncertain, but wellness professionals are uniquely empowered to provide leadership, inspiration, and healing during these difficult times. In order to best take care of our students, clients, and guests, we must also make sure to mindfully prioritize the well-being of our businesses.
Here at WeTravel, providing support to practitioners, schools, studios, and wellness companies remains our top priority. We hope these tips and resources will help you as you navigate this challenging period. If you need help from us during this time, please reach out. We’re in this together.
Operational Checklist For Wellness Businesses During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Cancellations & Postponements
1. Be Proactive About Canceling or Postponing Live Events
While it may be tempting to take a ‘wait and see’ approach in the face of a possible event cancellation, making a proactive decision may ultimately better serve your business and clients.
First, put a hold on new bookings. After closely examining your contracts and insurance policies, reach out to vendors and service providers as soon as possible.
Next, communicate closely with any collaborators (such as teachers, presenters, or sponsors). Together with these stakeholders, determine if a cancellation or postponement is most feasible.
At this point, begin to contact registered participants. Inform them of the cancellation or postponement and the factors contributing to the decision. In the case of postponement, provide logistical information, a link to your terms & conditions, and how to be in touch with any questions.
2. Protect Yourself Against Chargebacks and Disputes
As the Coronavirus is classified as a force majeure, banks may issue chargebacks to cardholders. Unlike refunds, chargebacks are issued without the consent of the merchant. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid this situation at all costs. It could have long-lasting effects on your reputation and relationship with clients, not to mention your financial position.
In the case that clients decide not to participate in a retreat, training, or similar event, most industry suppliers are extending credit for the person to use in the future, or giving them the flexibility to reschedule.
As a last resort, companies should consider processing a refund if the first two options are not suitable.
3. Be Helpful and Add Value
COVID-19 is a very real concern that’s going to see people altering their routines and buying behavior for the foreseeable future. Until the situation stabilizes, your time is best spent supporting clients to ensure that your business is the one they look to once the dust settles.
Consider instituting donation-based classes or consultations. Augment paid offerings with free resources (e.g., audio meditations, video guides to setting up your home yoga practice space, Facebook live sessions for community discussions).
Overall, the priority in this situation is to maintain strong client relationships without compromising your business’ financial stability more than it already has been.
4. Keep a Pulse On What Your Community Needs
As much as possible, stay engaged with your clients through both broad channels like email and social media, as well as through one-on-one discussions. Survey your community, at either a formal or informal level. Figure out how to best serve them now AND as we emerge from today’s more constricting environment.
5. Strengthen Professional Relationships During This Time
It’s equally important to check in with your network of collaborators, vendors, and partners during this time to see how they are coping. They are as vested as you in seeing your business succeed. Having relationships to support your business through a crisis can be the key to ensuring you bounce back.
6. Negotiate Payments Where Possible
If you’re on good terms with your vendors, you may be able to negotiate payments with them. For example, retreat leaders may be able to re-negotiate venue contracts or receive credit toward a future stay. Studios may be able to renegotiate deals with their retail partners. Teacher training programs renting space may be able to stage these payments to align with future cash flows.
Keep in mind, this is likely beneficial to both parties as everyone seeks to maintain relationships while also mitigating the financial impact on their businesses.
Future Proof Your Business
7. Map Out Cost-Cutting Strategies
COVID-19 is already having an impact on the bottom line of businesses globally. Be prepared for cost-cutting and review your budget to lay out a plan for the next few months. As the timeline of the virus’ reach is uncertain, sketch out cases that plan for both a shorter-term and a longer-term disruption.
8. Attend To Tasks You Normally Don’t Have Time For
Use this time when there’s a slowdown in sales wisely.
After ensuring your clients and employees are safe, stay productive by working through the jobs that were low priority before. This could be revamping your website, putting together new tour itineraries for local destinations, or reviewing your digital marketing plan. It could also be taking courses or using some downtime for yourself.
Take Care Of Yourself While Managing The Crisis
9. Investigate Sources of Financial Aid
The situation is still unfolding, but government entities worldwide are making emergency funding available to small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs, contractors, and freelancers.
In the US, the SBA is providing financial assistance to small businesses, and Congress is currently reviewing a bill that would grant emergency paid leave benefits for freelancers and the self-employed. If you find yourself unemployed, don’t delay in filing for unemployment insurance as soon as you’re eligible.
10. Self Care
It’s a stressful time for everyone, but don’t forget to look out for your own health, both physically and mentally, as you navigate your business through these choppy waters. Strong leadership has never been more important and setting the example for the rest of your team, clients, and vendors will help you through this.