It’s been a long time coming, but the nation is now finally turning off the pause button since the rise of COVID-19. In fact, there are already vetted COVID-19 vaccines heading into the general population in the very near future as well since the initial breakout. However, as great as this reality may be, you are still going to need to take the right precautions when it comes to reopening your business. People are still going to be anxious, uncertain, and uneasy about getting back to normality after this life-altering experience, and that can hurt your bottom-line if you do not reopen correctly.
Overall, as we slowly start reopening since the pandemic, there is a significant amount of methodologies to take into consideration to make the process as successful and safe as possible for everyone involved. With that being said, no matter what industry you are in, here are the top post-pandemic principles you should know to ensure that you will be able to address all health concerns, build customer confidence, and give your business the best chances of prospering again.
First and foremost, you can't successfully reopen post COVID if you are unsure what the laws and regulations are. Make sure to do your due diligence and get familiar with the new rules set in place for the state you are in, such as mandatory mask wearing, certain chemicals that must be used for cleaning, etc. This also includes going over all the COVID health laws and staying updated continuously to ensure you understand your employee's rights so you can deliver the accurate details to them before reopening.
Tip: Government agencies and public health organizations are the best places to discover accurate, updated information that is reliable for your businesses. For more local details, make sure to check out the state by state reopening guide for information about what processes you need to follow.
You might find that the research part is going to take some time, but it is necessary to set you up for this next step. Once you finish your reading and research, then now you will need to sit down and plan. Plan out what you are going to do to make your business COVID-friendly and attract customers to come back to you once you reopen again. This includes creating or updating documentation, such as:
· your disease outbreak response plan
· remote working regulations (if applicable),
· general hygiene practices like the CDC indicates
· cleaning product changes
· personal protective equipment (PPE) reinforcements
· employee health monitoring processes
· security protocols, especially if you are going to be using more technology to provoke less hand-on interaction
Yes, the above planning bullets are all pinnacle to go over and make tight to mold to the new societal norm. But don’t forget to take a look at your business before and after implementing these new procedures. Analyze your business from a broader scope and look at what it needs to improve, and what your long-term goals are. Crunch some numbers, figure out budget costs when you open your doors again and do some deep dives into areas where you can improve in costs and operations. You want to know what the bare minimum dollar amount is going to be to get back up and running because then you can plan around that accordingly to survive.
Tip: If you find that your budget lacks to reopen, check into the federal and state financial aid resources out there, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, the Employee Retention Tax Credit under the CARES Act, and the Disaster Assistance Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
After the planning is done, you need to establish clear communication with employees before reopening. Ensure that there is no confusion, ambiguity, or gaps when it comes to reopening safety and the new procedures integrated into the daily routine. Furthermore, let them be open about any concerns they have and clearly discuss the protocols you created to keep them protected as well. Once you have nailed down this with your employees and are all on the same page, either through emails, phone calls, or virtual meetings, you can move onto addressing your customers.
Whether it be through email marketing, flyers, ads, to social media postings, make sure you communicate with your customers and targeted audience on your plans to reopen. But don't just stop there; list out all of the new processes you added to keep them as safe as possible and how they can be confident they will remain healthy when shopping or collaborating with you. Remember, people are still going to be nervous about going out post COVID, so easing their minds right from the start can entice them to shop with you again once you open your doors.
Tip: Some great ways to get customers back is by adding in automation/hand-free equipment, limiting the number of people in at once, having sanitizing wipes or solutions accessible, and installing protective coverings and barriers to improve safety and promote distancing. Though not mandatory, you can always do temperature checks for each employee or guest entering the facility or building too.
Do your old marketing ads coincide with the current customer attitudes? Chances are, probably not. People close together, hugging, and anything that resembles "anti-social distancing" might lure people away rather than pull them in like it used to. Instead, chance up your imagery to reflect what people are prioritizing the most in this time period, and that is safety and precautions. Think about switching up your images to be more directed with that message, at least for now.
You can implement all the safety software and cutting-edge processes you want, but without proactively setting up reminders and reiterating your statements of putting safety first, it can make your efforts a wash. Not to mention that there are some locations with mandated signage and display posters on current COVID-19 precautions taken. To make sure you are following the laws, check in with your local public health authority to see what the best practice or protocol is to cover all your bases.
COVID-19 was and still is something that no one wants to deal with. It has shaken just about everyone's lives across the states and resulted in record high unemployment rates to boot. But when there is a rise, there is bound to be an end sooner or later. Luckily, we are at the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that light at the end of the tunnel is getting slightly brighter, enough to where more and more businesses are confidently opening back up again.
Overall, change and transformation are all in the name of business. So, take advantage of these eight tips as a way for you to stay on track post COVID, and ensure that you checked off all the right boxes the moment you turn your signs on again. Sure, you will need to conform to the “new normal” in order to continue your business growth during turbulent times, but doing so is going to give you that extra push and competitive edge to stay afloat now and well into the future. Remember, COVID-19 may have made things harder, but with the right guidance, willingness to transform, knowing the regulations, and prioritizing communication, you are giving your business the best chance of surviving.