With Covid-19 vaccines rolling out and more and more states moving into later reopening phases, it might be time to start thinking about a plan for reopening your small business in 2021. You may have moved fully online, limited capacity in your brick and mortar business, or found other ways of pivoting during the pandemic. Whatever the state of your current operations, there’s important considerations to keep in mind for the eventual full reopening of your business.
Keep reading for five major things to do on your journey to reopening your business to full capacity.
1. Assure customers that you are taking actions to protect their health and safety.
Customers won’t want to do business with you if they don’t feel like you’re protecting them and doing what you can to ensure their safety. Check on the local guidelines in your area to inform your decision on which preventative measures to take for your business. Ask sick employees to stay home, ask employees and customers to wear masks or other protective gear, and consider limiting the amount of people who can enter your business until it’s 100% safe.
Bottom line: let your customers know that you care about their health and safety, and they’ll be more likely to patronize your business while you ramp up to a full opening.
Don’t forget to update them anytime your policies change! You can do that on social media with posts like these ones:
Click one to create your own!
2. Don’t forget your employees! Assure them that you are taking actions to protect them.
Protecting your customers is important, but don’t forget about your employees! Consider limiting or adjusting break times/locations, provide protective equipment, and remain flexible around work/life balance. Some employees may still have a lack of childcare or in-person learning, they may be grieving a lost loved one, or they may be facing another challenge coming out of the pandemic. We recommend that you be mindful and empathetic of your employee’s personal experiences while reopening. Showing that you’re willing to adjust schedules or time off with your employees will go a long way.
3. Follow appropriate guidelines for your area and start slow.
Restrictions are being lifted (and reinstated) all over the world, but this does not mean that you can go 100% back to pre-pandemic times right out of the gate. Make sure to follow the guidelines for your location for reopenings and social distancing, and try to be agile, as restrictions may loosen and tighten until things are fully under control.
Regardless of restrictions and phases of reopening, you may find that you’re just not ready to open your business up to the capacity you expected right away. New challenges have emerged from this past year: you may have lost employees, vendors, your physical location, or a large segment of your customers. Consider starting slower or smaller.
What does this mean in practice? You may need to lower your product or menu offerings, bring on a smaller staff, or limit your hours at first. It’s smart to start slower and ramp up when it’s possible than to start too big in the beginning.
4. Create social media content to get the word out about your reopening.
As you approach the reopening of your business and the various stages of Covid-19 restrictions in your area, it’s a smart idea to update your customers and followers every time you make a change. Put some of our pre-made templates to work for you on social media:
Click one to create your own!
5. Manage expectations: don’t expect things to go back to exactly as they were.
Reopening your business in any capacity following a global disaster will be challenging. You’ll need to adapt to unexpected obstacles and new challenges that come along with reopening your business. Remember to walk, not run, and be flexible when issues (inevitably) arise.
It may also be smart to adjust expectations of your reopening for yourself, your employees, and your customers. We’ve been through a major global crisis, which means that many aspects of our societies have changed over the past year. We can’t expect things to go back to exactly how they were before the pandemic. Your business may need to take on new opportunities, a new structure, or different markets. You may have gone fully virtual, started offering curbside pickup, or adopted a different “pivot” during the pandemic. You may even be facing the challenge of re-entering the community with a completely new business model. Whatever it may be, consider that our new normal will likely take a hybrid approach of the old ways and the new. Set expectations for your employees and customers that you’ll still be open for takeout, you’ll still offer video tours, or your website will always be up to date with the latest products post-pandemic.
Check out the Small Business Coronavirus Reopening Guide from the US Chamber of Commerce for additional information and resources around opening your small business after Covid-19.