5 tips on re-opening your business

David Fuller, MBA,
Troy Media columnist.
Courtesy of Troy Media.

Over the next few days and weeks, businesses across North America and around the world are going to unshutter their doors and invite their customers back in.
Here are five things you need to consider:

Plan for changes

What’s your plan for the days before you open to get ready for your customers? What’s your plan for opening day and what are you going to do in the weeks that follow?
You are probably going to need some well-thought-through best, worst and probable scenarios to ensure you’re not overwhelmed or surprised.
Consider that perhaps your customers have changed their buying patterns; that their finances may not be the same as they were; that what might have been valuable before is valued no longer.

Engage your team

Figure out who’s coming back and who isn’t. Some of your team may have rethought their employment with you. They might think it’s better to take a vacation at the hands of taxpayers and won’t be considering the long-term employment options.
There might be others who you realize just didn’t fit in your business and you’re going to sever your relationship.
Take whoever you have left, gather them together [with social distancing, of course] and encourage them to help you generate a plan to reopen and reinvigorate your business.

Have a safety plan

People have different levels of concern and fear about COVID-19.
Some people are downright terrified they’re going to come in contact with someone else who has the virus and be exposed to certain death.
Others believe the whole event was a hoax and they have nothing to fear.
Regardless of where you sit in this spectrum, you have some customers and staff who need re-assurance that your business has safety protocols in place to reduce their risk. Ensure you do and minimize risks for everyone.

Communicate

Suppliers may be out of stock of items because their supply chain has been disrupted. Talk to them.
Your family might be confused about what’s going on with your business. Be clear and patient with these people because no matter what happens with the business, you will still have family.
As owners, we think that everyone should be on the same page as we are, including our staff, bankers, family, customers, landlords and suppliers.
But they can’t read our minds. Slow down and ensure that each of your stakeholder groups understands the requirements of the present situation.
Your customers are going to need to hear from you and you must find ways to educate them and invite them back to your business. You may think you want to cut your marketing costs, but be strategic in this process. Businesses that market well in times of recession outperform their competitors.

Help is available so take advantage

There are several government programs to support businesses. Take advantage of them. Tap into loans or grants that will ensure your viability.

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