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With parts of the country slowly easing restrictions, businesses in some states are getting close to reopening, while others are still under shelter-in-place orders for the foreseeable future. Whether your business is in the former or latter scenario, it is important to take the following steps now to prepare for reopening and rebuilding your business in accordance with our new societal norms.
Physically Adjust Your Business Space
If you own a restaurant, bar, or retail shop, consider what measures you can take to make your customers feel safe and at ease. Supermarkets have been adjusting to the new normal by ensuring cashiers are wearing masks and gloves, putting clear markings on the floor to create 6 feet of distance between shoppers, and installing sneeze guards. Take a lesson from the grocery industry and apply those same ideas to your business. While your restaurant, salon, theater, or store is empty think about how to alter the physical layout of the space to best accommodate our new social distancing norms when you do reopen. Can you move tables, chairs, desks, or displays around to create more space between patrons?
In addition to creating extra space between customers, take some extra steps now towards safeguarding your employees and patrons. Employees should be wearing masks and gloves and washing hands frequently. It may be a good idea to install a hand sanitizer stand, providing alcohol-based wipes for shopping baskets at your retail store, or even limiting the number of customers that are allowed in your establishment at once. Do whatever you can to make people more comfortable upon your reopening.
Keep Your Customers Updated
Circumstances have been changing so rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic making it even more important to stay on top of your communication with your customers. Let them know if you’re open for online orders or services. Keep them updated by sharing social media posts with safety measures you are taking for when you reopen your business like such as frequently sanitizing high touch surfaces.
Now is also a good time to email your customers with incentives or promotions. Consider offering gift cards at a discounted price or free delivery with a minimum purchase. Get customers excited about returning to your business by letting them in on any new products or services you’ll be offering when you open your doors again.
Before reopening, remember to take a few minutes to make sure your website, social media accounts, Google My Business and Yelp listings to reflect your correct opening hours.
Adjust Your Business Model
The most successful businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have been those who have been innovative and adaptable. They quickly adjusted their business models on the fly and figured out what their customers needed and how to best accommodate them. Is there something people are missing that your business can provide? Can you diversify and offer additional products or services?
Restaurants have adjusted by providing curbside pickup and contactless delivery. Hair salons are providing take-home DIY hair color kits and gyms have begun to offer live-streamed fitness classes that people can do from their living rooms. Photographers are offering porch photo sessions where they photograph clients on their front steps, while maintaining a safe distance. If you haven’t already, you need start thinking outside the box now for how to best serve your clients. Their needs have changed, and they may continue to change for quite some time. Once restrictions are lifted, you will only have a short window to reclaim your customers, so make sure you are ready.
At SBG Funding, we recognize that these are unprecedented times and we are here to help however we can. The situation is constantly evolving and navigating it can be complex and overwhelming. That’s why we’ll be adding new information and resources for small business owners impacted by the pandemic on our COVID-19 Resource Center as soon as it becomes available.
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