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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Verity Manners, Owner and Director of Wrag Barn Golf Club. An 18 hole golf course and driving range that has membership, pay and play and society visitors. A wedding, private function and conference venue situated on the outskirts of Highworth.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
We realised that Coronavirus could be a problem for our business when all pubs and social clubs were instructed to close which meant we had to cancel or postpone all our functions.
What has been your plan to continue?
We have rescheduled as many functions as we can and are keeping the golf course in good condition so that it can open as soon as we're given the green light to do so. We are very lucky as all our staff that can work are keen to do so, other businesses are finding that their staff feel that they should self isolate.
How have you changed your business as the weeks are passing?
We have furloughed most of our staff and are topping up their pay for the month of April, this will be reviewed for May.
All non-essential expenditure and services have been placed on hold.
Staff still in work either work from home with diverted telephones and laptops or those that need to carry out essential work on the course are coming into work and operating designated machinery and practicing social distancing at break times.
The importance of communication is huge; social media is vital for keeping the Wrag Barn community involved, consequently, daily pictures are posted and a blog has been written to keep members up to date with our plans. The main problem is that nobody knows how long this lockdown is going to continue and everyone likes to have a plan.
The social functions are still being rescheduled and we are keeping our name in the media by writing articles for local magazines and today we will be taking part in our first Guides for Brides Virtual Wedding Fair.
Behind the scenes, we are developing a completely new website as our website provider has been brought out! The workload is huge as all the bookings have to be transferred and the design of the website changed. We are including a media pack section as recommended by Fiona Scott.
What have you seen about business which has been positive?
Most of our members have been really supportive and the staff that are working are really pulling well together as a team.
The staff that are at home on furlough are all ringing up saying that they are missing work and will never complain ever again!
Have you seen any behaviours you feel have been negative in business?
Yes, we donated all the unopened food from our fridges to the residents in Coleshill who are in self isolation. The food was taken straight from our fridges and distributed in the same timeframe as though it had been purchased from the supermarket. Someone reported us to Environmental Health.
The person from Environmental Health confirmed we had done absolutely the right thing and apologised for having to contact us but explained she had to follow procedure.
I am now seeing requests for help for the homeless and other charities and the response is heartwarming, but I may well hesitate before donating again.
What advice would you give to others in business?
This will pass, stay strong, be supportive; there will be life after Covid and this is an opportunity to look at your business and its structure.
What can we do to help each other?
I am showcasing all the wedding suppliers who have worked at Wrag Barn on social media to raise their profile and thank them for working with us. They help by doing the same. I have also given some reviews on social media to fellow business people including Fiona Scott for her PR training. Little things can go a long way - and remember it's a two-way street.
Your parting thought?
As always in times of crisis you see the best of people and the worst of people. We will all be different after this is over, but I hope we will be stronger and proud of our local business network.
For more information visit https://www.wragbarn.com/