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How to manage your small business reopening

As stay at home orders end and the economy begins to pick up again, it’s time to think about how to best approach your small business reopening. From getting the word out about your return to updating your operations to comply with social distancing requirements, there is plenty for small business owners to do.

Today, we look at how to approach reopening so you can keep your:

  • Employees safe
  • Customers happy
  • Sales coming in 

Let’s get started! 

1. Break your small business reopening plan into phases

Let’s face it, your small business isn’t going to operate the way it did pre-pandemic. At least not for the immediate future anyway. 

To set yourself up for success, you’ll want to plan your small business reopening in phases. Doing this will make sure you comply with local regulations as they relax and will save you from any potential fines or community backlash that result from you moving too quickly. 

For your phased reopening plan, you should start by adjusting your workplace’s capacity to allow for social distancing. You’ll want to be as conservative as possible in the first phase of reopening your business and then gradually increase the number of people allowed to enter your workplace at one time. 

Pro tip: If your customers are eager to do business with you in person again, it’s smart to allow some of your employees to continue working from home so you can welcome more customers into your business. 

2. Look at how technology can help you do business better

Despite the challenges that arose during COVID-19, small business owners still found ways to meet the needs of their customers  — often with the help of technology. Not only did these solutions connect small businesses with their customers during a tough time, but they also helped them make their operations more efficient. 

As you plan for your small business reopening, here’s how you should incorporate technology into your business. 

Online orders

Online shopping was something that many small businesses didn’t offer when COVID-19 hit. As a result, many lost sales to companies like Amazon and Walmart when online ordering increased by 68%

“In the U.S., online shopping skyrocketed by 68%.”

– Forbes, 2020.

This is more than just a one time trend  — instead, it represents a long-term shift in how Americans shop. With this in mind, it’s clear that accepting online orders needs to become part of your small business reopening plan. 

As you get back to business, supporting online orders will let you:

  • Make payment contactless
  • Maintain social distancing 
  • Serve more customers
  • Expand your customer base

Remote team collaboration

Another trend that emerged during COVID-19 that is here to stay is remote work. Research has found that 48% of employees are likely to continue working remotely even after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“48% of employees are likely to continue to work remotely in some capacity.”

– Gartner, 2020.

And while your team is probably eager to return to work and officially reopen, many of them will still want to work from home at least occasionally. 

To support this new way of working, you need to make sure that you have the right tools in place to keep your team connected and efficient.

Whether that’s with video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Google Meets or a QuickBooks CRM, it’s important to set your team up for success from anywhere.

Pro tip: As concerns about the second wave of COVID-19 circulate, it’s smart to make solutions that help future-proof your business part of your reopening strategy.

3. Get ahead on reordering inventory

As part of your small business reopening, it’s crucial to take stock of your inventory and make sure you have the products you need to get back to business. As you prepare to reopen, it’s important to do a full inventory audit so you know exactly:

  • What you have on hand and can offer to your customers
  • Which items you need to reorder and when 
  • Which products and services are in surplus and should be part of your reopening promotions

Pro tip: If COVID-19 has put a strain on your cash flow, see if your suppliers are open to extending your payment terms or renegotiating the amount you owe them upfront. 

4. Update your health and safety protocols

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses need to pay more attention than ever to their health and safety protocols. From encouraging your employees and customers to wear a mask to placing hand sanitizer stations throughout your business, you’ll need to incorporate new operational processes into your small business reopening plan.

Pro tip: To allow for proper workplace safety, you may want to dedicate work hours at the start and end of every shift to sanitizing high-contact areas such as your cash register, front doors, and bathrooms. 

Small business reopening checklist

Now that your bases are covered when it comes to your small business reopening, let’s summarize what you need to do before opening your doors again.

  1. Create a plan to reopen your business in phases that are in line with local regulations.
  2. Implement solutions that allow you to support online ordering and remote work.
  3. Do a full inventory audit so you can reorder and discount products as needed.
  4. Evaluate your current health protocols, making changes where needed to keep your employees and customers safe. 

Learn how a local landscaper made it through the 2008 recession. 

Image credit: Tim Mossholder via Pexels

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