Open for Business – getting ready post Covid-19
As many business owners look to life after COVID-19, an important question comes up: how do we plan to reopen our business? For most businesses, the easing of restrictions doesn’t mean an overnight return to “business as usual”.
There are rules and regulations in place about how businesses can operate, including how many people can be on their premises at one time and how employees must be protected. Customers may not come back quickly and supply chains may still be disrupted.
Your main goal is to keep your business going after COVID-19, but reopening requires careful planning. Here are some tips for restarting your business.
1. Examine your business model
The pandemic may have shown you some ways you can pivot your business model to adapt to economic turmoil. Exploring new ways to earn money—such as additional revenue streams—can provide your business with financial stability, and help you be successful.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Is my current business model viable following the pandemic?
- If not, are there ways to adjust my business model?
- Can my expertise be used to create additional revenue streams?
- What are current market trends that could affect how I run my business?
- What are my competitors doing to adapt?
Many small business owners have expertise that could go into consulting. If you own a restaurant, you could consult with new restaurant owners on setting their menu or hiring staff. You could also create passive income by writing eBooks or running courses related to your specialty.
There are also new business models you could consider, including having clients or customers pay a monthly retainer or membership fee, selling your products online, or adapting your goods and services based on market trends. Look to businesses similar to yours to see how they’re changing, and how successful their adjustments are.
2. Have a safety plan and procedures in place
Given the rules and regulations regarding businesses reopening—to protect client and staff safety—it’s important that you have a safety plan in place, and ensure your teams knows and follows the rules.
- Be clear about what needs to be disinfected and how often
- Ensure staff knows about the safety gear they are required to wear and provide it
- Make sure workers knows about hygiene rules and procedures
- Train employees on social distancing within your location and post guidance throughout your premises
- Consider including physical barriers to further protect customers and staff
- Stagger shifts and appointments if possible
- Determine if any areas can be repurposed—for example, see if you can use a conference room as an additional waiting room for clients or as office space to keep staff physically separated
- Talk to your employees about their levels of comfort and their concerns
- Be willing to adapt based on customer and employee needs
3. Access funding and financial programs
Even with restrictions easing, customers may not be eager to return to your business, for a variety of reasons. Many people now have limited incomes and are concerned about safety measures. It could take a while for your income to balance out.
Local, regional and federal governments have programs available for small businesses. Additionally, financial institutions and local organisations that represent business interests may also have financial programs you can access to help you through the turmoil caused by COVID-19.
4. Keep your customers at the front of your mind
Most businesses opening for business post Covid-19 will want to rush things – rush staff back on deck, place large stock orders and will want to feel “normal” quickly. However, your customers may still be fearful of going into stores or being in places with larger numbers of people. Whilst we get that you want to be up and running quickly, never lose sight of how your customers are potentially feeling. For hospitality clients, continuing to offer delivery or click and collect meals/drinks should still be an option. Don’t remove the hand sanitiser stations just yet, as we know that gives customers a sense of “safety”. Don’t rush up to customers and pressure them into making a purchase, they might be likely to run for the hills. Customers still need to feel nurtured back into this new round of normality.
Be prepared for a period of transition in which you may have to make adjustments to your business. Continual adjustments. This is new to all of us, and what may seem like the perfect idea on paper, might just not work in reality.