Reopening for Business? 3 Things to Consider
The U.S. is slowly beginning to open again, and small business owners are eager to get back to business as usual. Once your state or county has announced that it will allow businesses to reopen, you’ll be faced with a difficult decision that only you can make. Whenever you decide to reopen, it’s critical to open in a way that keeps you, your employees and your customers safe.
Even if reopening is not an option for you right now, it’s time to develop a reopening plan that will guide you towards business success. SCORE, mentor’s to America’ small businesses, created a reopening checklist with all the information and links you need to get started. The three most important things to consider as you decide to reopen your small business are safety guidelines, your business plan and your mental health.
Safety comes first. Start by checking the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for the latest guidelines and best practices. The CDC has a myriad of cleaning and disinfecting guidelines, with specialized guidelines based on industry. For example, restaurant owners have different considerations than beauty salon owners, or personal contractors.
After checking with the CDC, consider the unique nature of your business, and how you can go above and beyond to ensure the safety of your staff and customers. If you have staff, consider any accommodations your employees may need to return to work, such as health testing, health equipment, staff capacity limits, cleaning protocols and new working safety guidelines.
Finally, ask yourself, “How can I make customers feel safe doing business with me?” That depends on the size and nature of your business, but the best way to find out is to ask your customers directly. In-store safety measures to consider include plastic barriers, touch-free temperature testing upon entry, and an abundance of easily-accessible hand sanitizer.
There is a good chance that COVID-19 has forced you to change your business plans. If you’re reopening, that means it’s time to reassess your finances, rethink your marketing strategy and adjust your business model. Maybe COVID-19 led to business changes that will be beneficial in the long run, such as the addition of tele-appointments or e-commerce options. Take this time to decide what services you’ll continue.
Next, assess your current finances and look for ways to cut expenses or add to the revenue stream. Educate yourself on all of the financial assistance options available, such as government aid provided by the SBA, or small business grant options. Don’t forget that reopening a brick and mortar store – or any business that includes physical contact – will require you to budget for personal safety equipment and other health safety materials.
Once you’ve settled your finances, spread the word that you’re safely open for business. Update your business hours and online information, and create messaging that emphasizes the steps you’re taking to keep employees and customers safe.
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been an overwhelming year, but we know that entrepreneurs are courageous and resilient. In order to be the best entrepreneur, small business owner and human being that you can be, it’s important that you take good care of yourself. This means learning how to de-stress, take breaks and ask for help when you need it.
Breathe, reflect on how far you’ve come, and remember that you don’t have to do this alone. SCORE mentors are here to help you at every step of the way. Download the SCORE reopening checklist and connect with a free, expert SCORE mentor today.
This guest post was authored by Betsy Dougert
Betsy Dougert currently serves as Vice President of External Relations for SCORE, where she is responsible for national public relations, government relations and sponsors. Her ten years of experience in marketing and communications have focused on building brand awareness and engaging stakeholders through storytelling at educational institutions and non-profits. She earned her master’s degree in strategic communications with a certificate in public relations from Villanova University, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.