As it swept across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic forced small business owners to examine how safe their storefronts were and implement features to protect the health and safety of their employees and customers. Now, with the world in a state of uncertainty and heightened caution, business owners are looking at keeping these features in place full time.
If you’re starting your own independent business or franchise after COVID-19, it’s in your best interest to think ahead about health and safety before you build.
Install features for health
When COVID-19 hit, many franchise owners weren’t prepared with features that enhanced the health and safety of their patrons. Now, customers are actively looking for these features and have come to expect an added level of security while shopping. Incorporating these features into your new business during construction can save you time and money down the road.
Think about things that can make the customer and employee experience safer and easier. Things like contactless payment options, automatic hand soap dispensers and foot-operated door openers minimize the number of things people need to touch in your store. Plexiglass barriers between cash registers and service desks can reduce the potential germ spread between employees and customers. Even adding a few strategically placed hand sanitizer stations can go a long way in improving the sanitation of your physical location.
Adding just a few of these seemingly small features can make customers and employees feel safer and more comfortable visiting your store while the threat of illness is in the back of their minds. And, building them into your location from the very beginning means you’ll be prepared if something like this pandemic ever occurs again.
Integrate safety into your operations
In addition to installing physical safety features into your store, it’s also a good idea to implement operations protocols for your employees’ health and safety. Thinking ahead on things like work-from-home procedures and cleaning protocols will mean you’re prepared if illness strikes.
Create a cleaning schedule for your store that includes the daily sanitation of frequently touched surfaces, as well as deep cleaning procedures that occur on a routine basis. Consider who’s responsible for enacting these protocols and how you can verify their completion.
Additionally, think about how you might minimize the number of people in your physical location each day. Having more people in one place increases the risk for illness. Are there employees who can work from home full or part time? Create a policy and technological foundation that allows this to happen more easily.
You should also think about how you’ll handle employee illness. If someone on your staff gets sick in general or is potentially exposed to COVID-19, what will your sick leave and quarantine policy be? Make sure you communicate these things to your staff, so they know what’s expected of them.
Finally, prepare your business on the financial side. Incorporate a cash reserve into your business plan and budget to ensure you have something to fall back on if a new wave or future illness causes economic disruption.
Preparing for a post-pandemic world
Building a small business or franchise in a post-COVID-19 world means planning for the unexpected. Being prepared even before you open can help you navigate uncertain waters more easily and with far less disruption.
Of course, operating your small business requires adequate financing. Tenet Financial Group offers numerous financing options to get your franchise off the ground, help address hardships during the course of business, and even grow and expand as you succeed. Our Senior Consultants are ready to field your questions and present viable options based on your unique funding needs. Send us an email or call (888) 901-3335, Option 9 to reach them via phone.