By Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com:
As parts of the country start to emerge from months of quarantine and lockdown, some businesses are reopening. If your company is among them, you’ll face a variety of challenges. Unfortunately, there isn’t a great playbook to follow, since the country hasn’t seen this type of emergency in more than a century.
Even so, the foundations of running a business still apply. By following sound business practices and protecting your employees and customers, you can lay the groundwork for a successful reopening.
Clear New Space
The quarantine has required us to change our social behaviors and interactions, and many of those changes will continue as businesses reopen. Adapting your company’s physical workspace to ensure that people maintain at least 6 feet of separation will be part of the equation. You may need to remodel your office to satisfy new mandates, rearranging cubicles and installing barriers.
If you plan to make major renovations, renting a dumpster can be a worthwhile investment. A 20-square-yard bin holds about 2 tons of debris and is just right for a single-building cleanout or reno. And you can rent a dumpster while adhering to social distancing rules: Simply order a delivery, fill the bin with your construction trash, and have it hauled away again, contact-free.
Stop the Spread
By now, we’re familiar with the recommendations provided by the CDC to help us stay safe and prevent the spread of disease. One of the repeated messages from the scientific and medical community is to wash and sanitize our hands.
People come in contact with one another frequently in a business that’s open to the public. So it’s essential to provide ample opportunities to access hand sanitation — plus wipes, masks, and gloves — throughout your business. Sufficient PPE can prevent the spread of the virus through your team and client base.
Protect Your Team
Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure your employees are protected, as they’re the lifeblood of your business. It’s one thing (of paramount importance) to make sure they have personal protective equipment (PPE) while working; it’s quite another to also help protect them at home.
Financial instability is everywhere. People are struggling just to cover the necessities, so unplanned expenses can cripple a family. A home warranty ensures that your team members are covered in the event of a major household emergency, such as a failed HVAC system or electrical blowout. Just as you provide health insurance, see if you can offer your employees home warranty options to help them stay financially stable.
Keep Health a Priority
Not everyone will contract COVID-19, but it’s still important to keep everyone’s health in mind during this global crisis. One person might have physical symptoms related to the disease, while another might be dealing with stress from months of quarantine and fearing the unknown.
Make sure you take care of yourself as well as your employees’ overall mental and physical health as you reopen. Offer resources and encourage workers to contact mental health professionals if they need support in coping with new challenges. Address concerns frankly and proactively. Work with employees to formulate safe strategies for a successful reopening.
Understand Your Assets
Life has changed drastically over the past few months. Chances are, your customers’ needs have changed, too. Your physical inventory and product line may not be as relevant as they were before the pandemic, but consider what you still have to offer.
You may have a number of assets you can leverage coming out of the pandemic. Do an assessment of your inventory, personnel, contacts, capability, and infrastructure. While you may need to pivot and be flexible, many of your assets will still be valuable in the wake of the pandemic.
Devise a Short-Term Plan
Circumstances and restrictions related to the pandemic are changing weekly, and nobody can predict what next year will look like. If you’re planning on reopening your business, it’s important to focus on the short term. Ask yourself, “What can I do right now to weather this storm?”
Think about solutions to short-term needs that will best leverage your assets. If you can first formulate a plan just to stay on your feet, then you can start to stretch your short-term goals into long-term plans for success.
Find New Sales Opportunities
Struggling through the pandemic has been all about staying flexible and agile, pivoting from one strategy to another as conditions change. When it comes to sales, this mindset couldn’t be more helpful. Consider alternative sales opportunities using your current resources and assets. Think about ways you can tap a new market or serve a different clientele.
Alternative sales methods might be useful, too: Focus on building a digital platform or utilizing social media. Perhaps it’s time to target a different audience or pool of potential new clients. Crisis is often the impetus for invention, so stretch your flexibility and creativity as you adapt to the new normal created by the pandemic.
Successfully emerging from the pandemic’s shadow will be challenging, but not impossible. Using many of the time-tested strategies you used for starting and running a business, you can get back to basics and create a plan for success.