Challenging times

Carly Brookfield offers her business tips to help driver and rider trainers during this time of lockdown.

It’s no over-exaggeration to say we all underestimated COVID-19, and its impact on virtually every aspect of our lives. 

I appreciate what a deeply challenging and difficult time this is for our members, and the industry as a whole. 

I wish we had a vaccine, a cure or something to alleviate the symptoms for the way that the industry will be affected by coronavirus, but sadly we don’t. All we can do is try and offer support and guidance to our members any way we can. 

We’ve created a special page on driving.org to post regular updates of information that we gather from the government, DVSA and colleagues across the industry. Our helpdesk is here to answer any queries or talk through any concerns – or even just for a chat, whether you’re self-isolating, or feeling isolated because of the whole situation, and the impact on your business. 

Keep an eye on updates from websites such as ours, DVSA, GOV.UK, etc but be wary of rumours which come your way via unofficial sources. At times of great crisis, misinformation abounds and causes unnecessary concern. Facebook gurus need to draw on their EQ and be responsible in what they post. Validate what you see and hear by contacting us or DVSA and get the right information to aid decision making for you and your pupils.

Another thing to think about now is how to keep your business on the road – or maintain it even if you have to take it off the road for a while. Many businesses face lockdown, whether that’s self imposed or from government advice/directives. You can’t get back on the road, once it opens up again, if your business is in poor nick.

If income is being threatened, think about costs that can be trimmed, avoiding those which include insurance and protection, such as our membership. That’s not a selfishly motivated piece of advice, that’s more about continuing to be covered if you need to make a claim, or there is a claim against you in that period. 

Keep up communication with pupils. If you can’t physically teach them, consider any online learning you can offer to keep them working towards their goals. Look at past issues of our magazine, we’ve written extensively about the virtual classroom and now might be the time to get going on that one. Have a look at Driving Instructor from September last year to get you started.

You can also use this time to do some CPD. DIA Academy has a large number of webinars, short courses and longer courses leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Knock your professional knowledge into shape to make sure you’re fighting fit for when we return the world to normal.

Perversely, think about doing more marketing. Keep yourself and your brand in potential pupils’ minds. Everyone is at home, browsing the web and reading emails and social media posts and messages.  Set up business for the future, even if the present seems challenging.

Stay well and stay in touch.

DIA CEO Carly Brookfield has over 18 years‘ experience in senior management helping to develop and promote both private and public sector bodies including professional membership and industry bodies in the medical, education and financial services arena. She is also an experienced campaigner and lobbyist on road safety issues and a member of the DfT’s Road Safety Delivery Group and a board member of the research and knowledge hub The Road Safety Observatory.

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