The COVID-19 pandemic has not left any part of our lives unturned and it’s clear that the world has changed in the past 8 months. A lot came to a standstill especially socially and economically.
Forbes says the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked financial havoc around the world leaving many small businesses hanging by the thread.
Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 numbers have stabilized in most areas of the world and things are steadily going back to ‘normal’. Things are calming down, schools are reopening and businesses are reopening their doors.
After a crisis, especially a worldwide crisis like COVID-19, it’s expected for you to wonder how to reopen your business doors again. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty for you as an entrepreneur.
You are probably wondering how you will recover your losses or how you will make sure your business is safe for your employees and your customers.
Economic experts predict that some people will not recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and a good number of businesses that closed will never reopen.
You don’t have to be among the businesses that will never reopen. You can recover and reopen your business. It’s not going to be easy but you can do it.
How to get back to business slowly and steadily.
The pandemic might not be over but things are now going back into place slowly by slowly.
As an entrepreneur, you can slowly and steadily get your business back on track and there are a few things that can help you do that.
#1. Have a plan to get back.
Getting back to business after a crisis is not easy and you need to prepare yourself and your business to get back on track.
Geoffrey James author of the article, “How to Hit the Ground Running After the Pandemic,” explores what businesses need to jumpstart their operations after the pandemic. James says that businesses need to have a plan on how they will get their businesses up and running again.
You first need to understand that things will not be the same and you need to prepare yourself for these changes.
Have a strategy on how you will get back to business knowing what you need to make that happen. Think in terms of facilities, personnel, manufacturing, marketing, etc.
It’s like writing a business plan to start a business only that you will be working towards making up for what you lost, moving forward, and adapting to the many changes.
#2. Get your finances straight.
Covid-19 has had many companies incur losses. Having physically closed your business for long, you were no longer getting the income you would be getting if you were open.
Your finances having been significantly affected, you need to reassess your finances and figure out if you are financially able to reopen.
With the plan you prepared, you will be able to prepare a budget for all you need to get back to business.
If you do not have enough finances personally or from your business finances, you can find different ways to fund your come back. Apply for funding from financial institutions that offer funding to small businesses.
See where you can cut costs in your expenses but at the same time, don’t cut costs on things that would otherwise affect your ability to make more revenue.
#3. Prepare your business facility for comeback.
This is very important and should be the first thing to consider before you reopen those doors.
There are new mandatory health regulations put in place to minimize the spread of the virus in business facilities. You need to comply with these regulations if you want to reopen your business.
Clean up your business facility – whether it is a shop, a store, a restaurant, office, etc. Disinfect your surfaces – door handles, desks, tables, chairs, rails, and other common areas.
Prepare items that remind your customers and your team to observe the prevention measures.
- Invest in stations to sanitize or wash hands.
- Invest in temperature check stations.
- Put up reminders to wear a mask.
- Put up reminders to observe social distancing. Have the 1.5 to 2 meters markings or install physical barriers between employees and customers.
- Have someone who will make sure the people who work and visit your place of business actually observe these regulations.
These regulations will also have you change your store, restaurant, or office layout. Where your team works from and where your customers receive their services or products should allow the needed space for social distancing.
This will at least make customers trust you, your team, and your business and make people feel safe and cared for.
#4. Prepare and get your team back slowly.
I hope you kept in touch with your team. You need people who know and understand your business during times like this.
Take your time to resume business and slowly bring your team back to your physical business facility. Depending on your business type, you probably have some staff working remotely from home. You can reintroduce some of your staff back to the office and have others continue working from home.
You can also plan to have your team alternate days and shifts to avoid having many people in the store, office, restaurant, etc. The fewer people you have on the floor, the easier it is to have the regulations/ prevention measures observed.
Consider educating your employees about preventive behaviors and risk factors in order to be cautious and aware. Encourage your employees to be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms and encourage those feeling sickly to stay home until they get better.
Have your employees test for the virus before getting back to work.
#5. Consider new suppliers/ vendors for your products or services.
Remember, not all businesses will recover and get back to business and that might include your vendors or suppliers.
Reach out to your vendors and find out if they are still in business and able to supply what you need. Look at your supply chain, who supplies what and see where the gaps are, and see how you can work towards not having these gaps when your business is up and running.
You might need new suppliers or vendors and it will take some time and extra money to find the perfect fit.
Think of this, maybe you never considered delivering products to your customers before. Now, research shows more and more customers prefer delivery. That means you will need to consider having a business model that accommodates delivery.
#6. Let your customers know you are back.
Having been ‘away’, you might have lost some of your customers and you need them back.
You have to let your customers know you are back and your doors are open for business. This is where your marketing plan comes in. They also need to know they are safe when they visit your shop, store, office, etc.
Reach out to your customers and remind them why they were your customers in the first place. Remind them what makes your products or services unique.
You need to stand out from your competitors – those before the pandemic and those who started similar businesses during the pandemic.
Use Social Media Marketing, text your customers, email them, and call if you can. Let them know you still exist and you are back to serve them.
Think of having offers and discounts on your products or services. This will definitely attract them.
#7. Put in the work.
You need to understand that business after COVID-19 will look and feel different.
There are so many changes that will influence your business’ growth after you reopen those doors.
You will need to consistently put in the work to keep your doors open and to make your business even better than before. Think in terms of customer and employee satisfaction. Put in the work to put employees’ and customers’ welfare first.
There is a lot of restructuring to be done and you need to be ready to do it. Restructure your business to adapt to the changes.
#8.Take it a day at a time and stay positive.
It might take some time before your business picks well. Along the way, things will appear tough and stressful and you need to hold on, keep your head high and keep going.
Progress is what matters and if you keep putting in the work, it’s surely going to show at the end of the day.
Business might not be business as usual for you. But, by taking the right measures and making the necessary changes, you can successfully reopen your business.
Accenture advises you to put people first and put caring at the core. Be patient with your team, your customers, and yourself. Put in the work, take it a day at a time, and slowly by slowly, you will get there.