The new reopen business guidelines can be stressful to implement for shuttered companies. No business has escaped the pandemic’s impact, and some of the more fragile ones have permanently closed. CDC guidelines are a great source for opening safely, but small business owners are asking themselves when is the right time. States are giving the green light to reopen, but consumers may not be ready to go back to doing “business as usual”. Reopening alone isn’t enough to be profitable.
Federal Small Business support is available, but many business owners are still waiting for financial relief. To lessen the blow, large corporations like Facebook and Google are rolling out cash grants and ad credits to boost struggling businesses. Our simple guide to requesting financial support for entrepreneurs. Emergency relief money can help cover costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation supplies, payroll, and fixed expenses while allowing owners time to rebuild revenues.
The Center for Disease Control has published a Resuming Business Toolkit to guide the reopening process. Customer-facing businesses that reopen safely will likely regain old customers and ideally, attract new ones. Entrepreneurs are doing what they do best by reconfiguring offices, modifying storefronts, and streamlining service hours to work within new social distancing guidelines. Companies that have pivoted quickly are selling successfully on platforms like Facebook Shops and the new Instagram Shop. Many restaurants and retail shops have also added curbside delivery, free shipping, and contactless pick up as permanent options. If there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, it may be those small businesses that flex quickly may find an entirely new stream of revenue in doing business over the internet.
To reopen business safely, some planning and effort are required, and the “reboot” may be small and slow at first. There are some big decisions to make, but rest assured, help is available. Carefully considering when and how to open again can prevent the pitfalls of emotional decisions that could pigeonhole your business long-term. By keeping calm and working an action plan, it’s possible to open up for business safely with minimal stress.
When to reopen business safely
A big question many entrepreneurs are asking is when to reopen. It may seem like “now” is the time, but it doesn’t make sense to pour out payroll if customers don’t know you’re open, or more importantly, what you’re doing to protect them. What you can do to answer this question is to start polling your community through social media, email, and phone. Social media platforms have surveys that collect feedback and can help you determine when to open. Knowing when customers are ready to venture out can save unnecessary payroll and operating expenses.
Preparing for a safe reopening
The Center for Disease Control provides reopening guidance to help reopen business after COVID. Everything you need to know about disinfecting and utilizing PPE to slow the spread can be found there. Reconfiguring workspaces and common areas might be necessary, but it might limit productive space. Staggering employee shifts can serve as a temporary fix to maximize the use of smaller areas. Here are some social distancing workspace ideas we found.
New protocols are new to your staff, too. So as part of your action plan, they’ll need to be trained on things like proper handwashing, sanitation, and what to do if they come down with symptoms. Simple and informative signage will also remind staff and customers how to interact safely. Make sure signs are posted on doors, in restrooms, and in common areas.
Keeping your business safe
Many small businesses have gone above and beyond to protect their customers with contactless pickup spots, curbside delivery, and shipping discounts to minimize contact. These tactics are becoming popular with retail and restaurants, but regular disinfection is still required throughout your business. To make sure proper sanitation is happening, it’s a good idea to assign responsibility to a team member. When measures like these are put into action, customers are assured you’re doing everything possible to slow the spread of infection.
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
Time to reinvent
At the time of this survey, the median business with $10k in monthly expenses had only two weeks’ cash on hand. That’s not very comforting when revenues have dropped and fixed expenses keep rolling in. But in the spirit of entrepreneurship, many small businesses are embracing the tides of change and prospering. It’s no secret that online products and service sales have skyrocketed in recent months. That might be expected for online retailers, but many brick and mortar businesses are finding success in social media promotions, video consultations, and curbside pickup orders.
Support your team
Ask employees for input about reopening and maintaining a safe work environment. Let them know you’re open to suggestions that will make the new way of doing business as easy as possible. Your team needs to know you support them, so tell them to stay home and take care of themselves if they become sick. Implementing a temporary sick leave policy will communicate to team members that they will have time to recover without losing their job.
Be proactive – communicate!
Consumers have jumped online in record numbers to stay connected, keep shopping, and conduct personal business. People are staying in touch with their favorite businesses on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. If you already have social media accounts set up for your business, it’s the perfect place to provide excellent customer service to loyal followers. Communicating in a central place will make it easy for employees and consumers to find information on reopening, temporary hours, and promotions. It’s critical that customers know what steps you have taken to make your business safe for them, so remember to post your signage and pics of reorganized spaces online. Email and phone calls still work too, so use those tools to let your less connected customers know you’re open for business.
Reopening safely means increased overhead for things like PPE, disinfection, perhaps even sick time for employees. Revenues won’t spring back overnight, so taking advantage of these resources can help keep your doors open. Click here for a simple guide to applying for relief money.
Reopening Business Safely
COVID Business Financial Resources
Following CDC and your state’s reopen business guidelines may be a challenge at first, but using available tools and resources can make for a smooth transition. Ultimately, survival depends on how quickly entrepreneurs can pivot and reinvent themselves. Taking care of yourself and having an action plan can minimize stress and get business going again. Working with employees to create a safe reopening and communicating with the public will rebuild confidence and establish new loyalty. Online platforms are valuable for added visibility and providing a contactless business approach which can help to recoup and perhaps even grow revenues. While you’re rebuilding, financial assistance can help to fill the gaps and keep you going until you’re back on track. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
This entry was posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2020 at 9:21 am and is filed under Company News, Small Biz Management, Small Business News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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