In the first few months of 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to wide-sweeping lockdowns and quarantine measures all over the world. Big corporations and even small business owners suffered greatly by closing their doors temporarily and adjusting their normal operations. Although some parts of the US are slowly easing the strict measures, most business owners are having a hard time planning their next move and reopening.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still felt in different parts of the globe, small business owners must brace themselves for possible disruptions and delays in their operations. While others find it easy to adjust by turning to small business consulting and adopting a remote work model, others are still making adjustments to continue normal operations in their business.
Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and knowing how to resolve them will ensure healthy operations amid a pandemic. It will also put businesses in an advantageous position by mitigating possible risks in the months to come. To help your business thrive during this pandemic, here are ways to help your business reopen while supporting customers and protecting employees.
Health and safety
First and foremost, the health and safety of your employees and customers should be your top priority as a business owner. Whether you are running a corporate office, construction firm, restaurant, or shop, you need to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 within your business.
This is the right time to become obsessive when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. There are plenty of health organizations and government agencies that provide updated and accurate resources to help businesses reopen successfully. Some trusted key resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state government’s website and social media accounts, and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AHA).
For those willing to reopen their on-site business, make sure to limit traveling and maximize communication tools for employees stuck in quarantine. You must also keep the staff updated about remote work conditions, government announcements, and travel restrictions.
If you are offering essential products or services and the business needs to operate at a physical location, observe proper health measures to reduce virus transmission at the workplace. This includes frequent sanitization, distributing shifts, wearing masks, and social distancing. You also need to establish measures when a staff acquires COVID-19, especially if they are not reporting for work, unwell, or exposed to a person with a COVID-19 infection.
If possible, establish a work-from-home option for your employees, where they can perform their tasks while in the safety of their homes. There are plenty of online tools for businesses that allow the employer and staff to coordinate business operations even from distant places.
Although implementing a remote work policy involves plenty of adjustments, this provides opportunities for the company to leverage its sales strategy by going online. As physical establishments choose to close their doors, tech-savvy entrepreneurs can shift their business by going online to ensure continuous operations and avoid sizable losses.
Since consumers are now spending more time online, use the opportunity to maximize your digital marketing strategies to target new leads and improve online presence. You can do this by transforming your product and service offerings.
If you manage a pizza joint business, offer pizza-making kits and ingredients for stay-at-home moms who don’t have enough kitchen equipment but want to create homemade pizzas for the family. You can also offer cooking classes through social media, which makes a great marketing tool to boost your digital presence. As much as possible, find ways to cater to the at-home experience by providing services through teleconferencing or social media.
Having a contingency or emergency plan is a critical aspect for businesses to reduce financial risks and other adverse impacts. Make it a habit to monitor and update the cash flow and find opportunities to minimize unnecessary expenditures. This also includes your credit risks and accounts receivable.
Most entrepreneurs have a financial safety net to draw their resources when things get tight. If you don’t have one, secure a credit business line to have something to depend on during an unexpected disaster.
There are also financial assistance programs offered to small business owners to help manage business expenses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers recovery loans at a low-interest rate for over $2 million. Business owners can use this to settle bills, debts, accounts payable, and payroll.
No one is certain about the definite end of the pandemic and other challenges that may soon rise for businesses. But it certainly pays off if your business has a contingency plan to survive this pandemic. Following the suggestions above will put you in a stronger position to resume your business and experience recovery once everything goes back to normal.