As the coronavirus continues to threaten many areas of the country, some states have tightened lockdown restrictions and others have put their reopening plans on pause. In other areas, however, restrictions are loosening. Regardless of how things look in your region, you have a lot to consider before reopening your small business, like how you’re going to keep your customers safe when they return. Here are some budget-friendly ideas to help you get your business back up and running during this trying time.
Get the Word Out
You’ll have a hard time making sales during the pandemic if your customers don’t know that your business is reopening. Get the word out about your plans to reopen as soon as possible. One way to do this is to promote your local business on the Harford County Living website! If your business isn’t active on social media, now is the time to start making posts letting your customers know what you’re doing to keep them safe as you reopen your store. As Search Engine Journal explains, you can also use social media to crowdsource ideas, promote user-generated content, elicit customer feedback, and keep tabs on what your competition is up to.
Boost Your Online Presence
Since many people are hesitant to venture into non-essential stores right now, consider making your products and services available online. Build an e-commerce website and offer free delivery to local addresses or allow customers to order online and pick up in-store. If you run a service-based business, try to come up with a way to offer value to your customers while following social distancing guidelines. For example, yoga and fitness studios have switched to virtual classes that customers can access online. You may be able to do something similar for your business!
Let Your Employees Work from Home
Depending on the kind of business you’re running, you may be able to rehire your employees on a work-from-home basis. This is a great way to ensure their safety as your business gets up and running again. Research shows that employees who are given the option to work from home are happier and enjoy greater job satisfaction than their in-office counterparts. However, remote work leaves businesses and individual employees vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Make sure your employees are well-versed in online safety best practices, like designating work-only devices, installing anti-virus software, and encrypting their home wifi.
Implement Safety Upgrades
If you run a brick-and-mortar store, be sure to implement some safety upgrades before opening your doors to the public. Reposition your shelving and store displays so that people can move through your store in one direction. Place hand sanitizer throughout the store so that customers can use it before and after handling merchandise. Increase your cleaning practices, focusing on high-touch surfaces like checkout counters and PIN pads. If you live in an area with a high rate of transmission, you may also want to require that customers wear masks in your store. Even if you don’t make masks mandatory, having your employees wear masks can help your customers feel safer.
Where to Find Funding
If you’re going to be spending money on in-store safety upgrades and online marketing strategies, you may need some funding assistance. Fortunately, small businesses have access to several forms of financial assistance, including traditional SBA loans, SBA Express Bridge Loans, benefits available from the CARES Act, and small business grants offered by private companies and nonprofits. You could even try crowdfunding your small business reopening strategy, asking for assistance from your local community members to help you get back on your feet.
Business owners are facing countless new challenges as they navigate pandemic closures, reopening plans, and reinstated lockdowns. When it finally comes time to reopen your small business, make sure you’re prepared! A solid reopening strategy will help you get your customers back, keep your expenses under control, and start bringing in some much-needed revenue. Once you get through this, your business will survive anything!