Alison Magee-Barker is the owner of AJ Lakes, the business success and growth consultancy with more than 30 years of experience specialising in the hospitality sector.

At a time when the industry has been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, recording historically low numbers of visits and stays across the UK, there are still actions that business owners can take to mitigate the disruption caused and even set themselves up for a triumphant return when the restrictions are lifted.

Here, Alison lays out the five Cs to turning these tough times to your advantage.


First of all, look after yourself. Mental health issues have soared since the lockdown began. To be the best for your business and your employees – not to mention you and your loved ones – you need to ensure you have a healthy and positive mindset.

Then you can turn your attention to your business: now is the perfect time to declutter, spring clean and even get around to those jobs that have never quite made it to the top of your priority list – whether that’s your admin or your premises.


There is so much uncertainty around so many aspects right now – nobody can even say with any degree of confidence how long this pandemic will last. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your network with some reassuring words.

Most of us assume that silence automatically means bad news, so it is vital that you communicate positively with your clients, your team and your suppliers to keep them updated on what you are doing and how you are looking forward to opening when it is safe to do so.


With your usual sources of income either severely limited or gone altogether, it’s important to accept help where it’s offered, especially by applying for all of the grants available to you.

At the same time, look to streamline your costs whilst seeking out ways to increase revenue through any of your existing income streams.

Know your numbers:  How long will you be able to survive without income?  What are your fixed overheads? How can you at least break even for now?


While your premises are empty, it is the perfect time to upgrade your content by taking new photos and videos. Update your sales and marketing plans and strategies to better incorporate current realities.

Put time aside to think more creatively about how your products, facilities and services can generate new sources of income, even if that means targeting a new audience.


Historically, the businesses that act the boldest during difficult times are those that emerge the strongest. Not only in the short term, but in the coming months and years.

Try to ensure you stay ahead of the competition by innovating and diversifying to keep your business moving forward.

Consider training and upskilling both yourself and your team. The government even recommends this as a productive way for employees to spend time while on furlough.

While everything is in flux anyway, grab the opportunity to evolve your business forward, and reach for the next level. Don’t wait to see what will happen; make your future count!


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