June 09, 2020
Protected: The Ultimate Guide to Reopening Your Business During COVID-19
The process of reopening or getting back to “normal” won’t be the same for every business. Depending on your business’s location, industry, and size, it may take longer for you to safely and successfully reopen your doors. Or, perhaps you’ve already been permitted to reopen with restrictions in place. In this guide, we’re sharing tips on how to create a safe reopening plan for your small business amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading to see what your business can do during these uncertain times!
1. Assess Your Finances and Pursue Business FinancingBefore you start the process of reopening your business, you should take time to assess your financial situation. Review any debt you’ve accrued over the past few months, consider the bills you have, and the costs of getting back to business. Most likely, your business’s finances have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Due to this, perhaps you’ve had trouble affording payroll, paying bills, or ordering inventory. Or, maybe you need to invest in safety measures and don’t have the capital to do so. Luckily, there are business financing solutions available. We’ve compiled this list to provide business owners with information on state resources, grants, and other programs specifically for businesses struggling due to COVID-19. In addition, we provide business financing solutions to business owners nationwide. We know that business owners have their own needs, which is why we provide fast, flexible options. To learn more, click here.
2. Purchase Necessary Safety ItemsIf you own a business that has a brick and mortar location, you’ll need to have safety measures in place in order to reopen. This will vary depending on your industry, but can include:
- Masks and gloves for employees
- Sneeze guards and/or shields
- Barriers to promote social distancing
- Cleaning supplies
- UV sanitizing lights
3. Hire Professional CleanersAs you likely know, cleanliness is imperative when working to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition to complying with cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for your industry in your daily operations, you should also consider hiring a professional cleaning service. By hiring professional cleaners, you can be confident in your business’s cleanliness and ability to keep your customers and employees safe. Many businesses have signs in their locations noting which tables or areas have been recently disinfected. By doing this, patrons will feel comfortable visiting your location during this time.
4. Provide Necessary Employee Training and ResourcesIf your business will have employees working at your location, you’ll need to require extensive training to ensure they’re prepared to safely return to work. This training could include information on cleaning guidelines, social distancing measures, and other ways they can lessen the spread of COVID-19. In addition, be sure you have enough masks, gloves, and other items to protect employees, especially if they’ll be interacting with customers. You may also require them to have their temperatures screened prior to each shift. If this is the case, review this process and why it’s necessary. Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and it may be prudent to have employees to continue to work from home if possible. Remote work allows for your employees to remain safe during this time.
5. Start Marketing, and Keep in Touch with Your CustomersIf your business has been closed throughout the COVID-19 crisis, you’ve probably stopped marketing to your customers. However, as you prepare to reopen your store or location, now is the time to inform your customers about what’s ahead. To start, send out emails, direct mail, and other customer communications to inform patrons on when you’ll reopen, the safety measures you’re taking, and if there are any other limitations in place. For instance, restaurants in may states can only operate at limited capacity, provide outdoor seating, and require reservations. In addition, be sure to update your business’s website and social media profiles to reflect your updated hours, reopening date, and any other necessary information. Patrons should be able to easily find the information they need. Remember, patrons may have questions or be apprehensive due to health concerns. Due to this, be available by phone, email, and social media to answer questions and explain how your business is keeping your community safe.
6. Utilize Small Business ResourcesBecause the small business community has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a myriad of free resources available. Below, we’ve listed resources that will be helpful to you as you reopen and move forward:
- SCORE Real-Time Mentoring: SCORE is providing mentor services to small business owners during this time. Mentoring is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 2 to 5 pm ET.
- SBDC Resiliency Guide: To help your business navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19 and other issues that may affect your business, the SBDC has provided this guide to protecting your business.
- CDC Businesses and Workplace Page: When running your business, it’s imperative that you follow the CDC’s guidelines. They’ve created this free page for business and industry resources and standards.
- Fora Financial’s COVID-19 Resources for Small Business Page: In addition to this reopening guide, we’re offering this comprehensive COVID-19 resources page. Most notably, check out our drop-down menu, which allows you to see the latest reopening information for each U.S. state.