A series of 4: Accessibility is a bare necessity – Part 1: FINANCE
Accessibility is a bare necessity – a series in ‘Awareness First’
In a series of 4, we will share some tips and insights. How easy it can be to implement accessibility in all its variety of do’s and don’ts in your business, and how to make a start.
Regardless of changes needed to be made, to start or improve accessibility in your company (online or offline) you need to include accessibility planning in your budget.
It is the most simple step to take, yet the most important one. The first question comes up: how do you know what you need? And how much cost are we talking about?
This is obviously different for every business. Accessibility is something that is interwoven in all aspects of society.
Airlines and airports have to meet different needs when it comes to accessibility than hotels, theme parks or museums. There are 3 major areas where accessibility is a must and therefore needs to be included in your budget.
- Customer services
- Access to buildings or
- Providing information
RAMPS AND CUSTOMER CARE – BENEFITS ALL
Focusing on investments, here is no brainer: a ramp is to be installed only once, no further costs apply.
RAMP YOUR BUSINESS
A ramp will be useful to many customers for many, many years to come.
It is important to bear in mind that if you stop thinking ‘they’ and ‘we’ (people with a disability and without) and start thinking ‘a couple’, ‘a family’, you immediately realize that making your business accessible – that is making sure everybody is able to enter your business in the first place – you will not only welcome 1 person, but it is more likely that person in company of a partner or family.
That doubles, or triples your possible revenue in an instant.
When ‘talking accessibility’, we always explain that 50% of all positive change is without cost, it is about how you approach people, your customers or guests.
Ask what people need, look them into the eye and treat them like you would any other customer. This sounds pretty normal, the reality is that even today, people talk to the person who is in company of the person in a wheelchair, or the person having an assistance dog by his or her side. Assistance dogs are always welcome.
People who have a trained dog by their side, have struggles and disputes on a daily basis about their four paw life saver, simply because hotel staff or museum employees do not know that assistance dogs are welcome by law.
If you include ‘accessibility’ in your budget, you will be amazed at what you can do. You don’t have to ‘be accessible’ overnight. It is totally normal you do not have experience and specific knowledge how to start and what is the right thing to do.
There are plenty of certified accessibility consultants out there. Call them, schedule an appointment. Best investment ever if you are serious about accessibility. Make this a first budget item, it will save you money.
Secondly, invite people with a disability to your business, and ask them what they need. Engage on social media or call the local disability rights organisation. I am pretty sure they will be willing to help. Be generous in showing appreciation, offer a lunch for instance.
In this article in a series of 4, ‘Awareness First’, we shared that including accessibility planning in your budget will save you money in the end. If you need a few months, or one or two years, that is secondary.
Most important is to make a start. Not next week, not tomorrow. Today.
Ask advice. Ask people and professionals who know. Start with the basics. Install a ramp. Schedule a staff training how to welcome guests with a disability. Include it in your budget.