If your business has had to close due to Covid, we understand that this will be a really difficult time for you. So we’ve created this guide to walk you through the next steps that will help your business while you need to stay closed, and give you some tips on how you can keep some revenue coming in while the doors are closed.

Your step-by-step business guide to surviving Covid lockdown

This guide will help you:

  1. Manage your existing bookings
  2. Turn off online bookings or set closed dates
  3. Communicate to your clients about your closed dates
  4. Turn off your reminders and other messages
  5. Talk to our team about our support packages
  6. Run your business from home, which is easy with Timely
  7. Keep revenue coming in with gift vouchers, online sales, consultations, and more
  8. Take care of yourself
  9. Take the time to set up and explore Timely features like rewards and TimelyPay

Let’s do it!

Step 1. Manage your existing bookings

The best approach we’ve seen is to leave all of your bookings as they are (instead of cancelling or deleting them); not only does it save you lots of time, it also means you’ve got a record of who was booked in when. When you open again, clients can reschedule their own appointments and it means you can easily use SMS campaigns to contact clients who were booked over that lockdown period.

Step 2. Turn off online bookings or set closed dates

To stop new bookings coming in you can easily turn off your online bookings with one click. You can do this here

Another option is to use the ‘Closed dates’ feature to block out your calendar for as many weeks as you need, so clients can reschedule or book in again after lockdown. Just click here and enter the dates you’re closed. 

Visit the help doc for more information.

Step 3. Inform your clients that you’ll be closed

To let your clients know that you’ll be closed for a while, we recommend you;

  1. Send a message to all your clients via an SMS campaign or an email
  2. Send another message to any clients that have an upcoming booking to let them know you can no longer take their booking and that they need to reschedule.

Check out our blog on using SMS campaigns for more ideas and message templates.

Step 4. Turn off your reminders and other automatic messages

You won’t want clients getting messages while you’re closed and it’s easier to reschedule appointments to when you reopen if you don’t cancel or delete those bookings. 

We recommend you;

  1. Delete any Reminder, Did not show, or Booking changes messages. If you’ve customised these messages, they’ll still be there when you restart them
  2. Pause any Follow up or Rebooking messages
  3. Check if you have any staff notifications and turn these off too

Once your calendar is in order and you’ve got an opening date, you can turn these back on. 

Go to your Messaging settings to delete and pause your messages.

Step 5. Talk to our team about discounts on your subscription

We’re determined to help your business get through this and come out the other side better than ever, so let’s chat about your options. Just send us an email at [email protected].

We’re also offering our Elevate package free for 90 days to any Build customers so you can use online payments to sell vouchers, online services, and even products to keep some money coming in while your doors are closed.

Click here to upgrade for free for 90 days.

Step 6. Get ready to keep using Timely from home

One of the best things about Timely is that it’s easy to use from home. You can set up individual logins for your staff so you can let them work in your account from home too (but you can still see what they’re doing and decide their level of access). There are no additional charges to use Timely from home. 

Nice work! You’ve done the main things you need to. Clients know what’s going on, and bookings can keep coming in.

When you’re ready, there’s more you can do below in Step 7.

Step 7. Keep the revenue coming in during lockdown

Even though the doors are closed, there are still services you can offer and online sales to keep some revenue coming in. 

Run video calls and online consultations with your clients

You can now set up ‘Video call services’ in your Timely account, where you’ll be able to link your appointments to your preferred video-calling platform (e.g. Zoom and Google) and perform consultations, or even some services, online. It’s been a great tool for many of our customers during lockdown who have got creative and offered online services and consultations. It’s a great way to sell your retail products too. This help guide will give you a hand setting up video call services.

Promote gift vouchers to your clients

Your clients want to support your business while you’re in lockdown! A great tool to keep money coming into your business is selling online gift vouchers. Promote gift vouchers to your clients through this time that they can use for future appointments. 

How to set up gift vouchers

Setting up online gift vouchers is easy! Head to Setup > Gift vouchers and check the ‘Custom amount vouchers can be purchased online‘ box. You’ll need to have a payment gateway like TimelyPay, Paypal or Stripe connected to Timely to sell vouchers online, so check out the help guide if you’re stuck. 

Sell products or packages online

By getting a little creative you can connect with your clients and sell products or packages online. Promote your products on social media, via email, or an SMS campaign, and when a client wants to buy something you can raise the sale in Timely, send them a link to pay, then ship the goods! Find out more here.

Step 8. Take care of yourself

Make sure that you’re taking time to look after yourself and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or loved ones. If you’re feeling in need of emotional support and you would like to speak to a professional, we encourage you to book a free appointment with a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist through our partners, The Help Hub.

The Help Hub is a free online emotional support service powered by a network of 800 qualified therapists. They offer 20-minute phone or video calls so you can talk to a professional about any challenges you may be having. Every worry is valid and you can book multiple calls (you’re likely to get a different professional each time).

No matter your current challenges – whether you’re experiencing grief, fear, stress, heightened anxiety, loneliness, burnout or concerns about the future – The Help Hub is there for you.

Step 9. Get your business ready to re-open

Now’s the time to action those things you’ve been meaning to do but never found the time!

What better time to get online bookings set up or to start that Rewards program you’ve been thinking about forever. We’ll be busy helping you get set up with these things over the coming weeks, but a great place to get some inspiration is to watch our new videos on Consult, Online booking, Automated SMS and using the iOS App.

Final note

We know this is a really tough time. The Timely team will be continuing to work and bring you new features to help your business thrive when everyone is back up and running. As always, we value your opinion and feedback, so feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions, or to let us know about any content you’d like to see from us.