After a few long months, states have begun to allow small businesses to reopen their doors and serve in-store customers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many business owners are eager to get back to work, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the market and the safety of operating a business during a health crisis. Small business owners need to be prepared to reopen and effectively manage their business to not only keep staff and customers safe but to ensure the financial health of their company.
Whether your business has already held its grand reopening or is gearing up to reopen in the coming weeks, keep these strategies in mind for the safest, most successful return to the market.
Customers and staff alike are rightfully cautious about their health and safety as businesses reopen. As the owner, it’s up to you to implement and enforce policies and communicate with visitors to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable in your store.
- Arrange your business for social distancing: Does your store have lots of shelves, clothing racks or employee desks arranged close together? Rearrange your space to promote as much distance between staff and customers as possible.
- Implement new policies: Check your state or local government’s mandates regarding business operations during COVID-19 and implement new policies that meet their requirements. You may need to limit the number of in-store visitors at one time, alter policies for trying on clothing, require facial coverings in store or adapt your business offerings to allow for safer staff-customer interactions.
- Hang clear signage: Erect signage outside and throughout your store to remind both your staff and customers of your new policies. Make these signs as clear and easy-to-see as possible, so there is no confusion about the changes.
- Communicate with staff and customers: Hold a staff meeting to discuss your business’s new policies and procedures and allow staff to ask questions or share concerns. Also communicate the changes with your customers on as many marketing channels as possible, including social media, email and even direct mail postcards or letters.
With new policies in place to keep your customers safe, you’ll also need to focus on strategies to maximize your business’s cash flow and return to stable revenue. Given the possibility of a future recession, now is the time to ensure your financials are in order and seek funding as necessary.
- Reduce costs: Pay close attention to where your business’s money is going. Are there ways you can reduce overhead or minimize spending in certain areas? What costs are absolutely essential to keeping your business operational? The key here is to maximize your cash flow and start saving to ensure your business has legs in the event of a recession. Make note, however, if your business is the recipient of an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you will have certain expenses, like payroll, to account for when applying for loan forgiveness. Employee reduction to reduce costs is not likely going to be a viable option for you.
- Invest in marketing: Although businesses will need to cut costs, marketing ensures that you’re attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. Examine low-cost marketing efforts such as search engine optimization, search ads, social media and even an in-house blog to get your name out there and expand your market presence. Also pay attention to your business’s messaging. Consumer attitudes are shifting, and it’s important to position your brand positively for the best response.
- Seek new forms of capital: It’s likely that you’ll need to bridge gaps in revenue caused by months-long shutdowns or reduced foot traffic during the health crisis. Consider ways you can inject new capital into your business to get it back on the right track. The U.S. Small Business Administration is still administering loans, or you could try to leverage other financing sources like Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS) or local grants.
If you need assistance capitalizing your business as you recover from the financial effects of COVID-19, Tenet Financial Group is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can help recapitalize your business, so you can maintain stability.