How to Reopen Your Small Business Post-Coronavirus Lockdowns
States across the U.S. are starting to lift lockdowns. If you’re a small business owner, you may be somewhat anxious to reopen your business to walk-in traffic and get revenue flowing again. That’s backed up by a recent survey of our own OnDeck customers, 50% of which thought that lifting lockdown restrictions were the right decision, but 59% said in order to make that happen, they were planning to put into place stringent hygiene and social distancing measures until they felt more confident that coronavirus is under control.
If you’re working towards reopening your business as lockdown restrictions are lifted, here are some tips on how to make your business reopening go as smoothly as possible. (note: businesses should always follow guidelines from the CDC, federal government, and their state government regarding specific hygiene protocols and reopening measures).
Put a Plan in Place to Keep Your Customers Safe
If you take the above steps to protect your employees, you’re already making progress on protecting your customers. However, if your business depends on high foot traffic from customers, you may need to go beyond PPE and stringent cleaning to make your location safe for visitors.
First, review your local, state, and federal guidelines on new capacity limits for your business location – in many places, these are now capped at below 50% of your normal capacity. Depending on your state’s guidance, you may also decide to go above and beyond to ensure social distancing in your location.
Based upon your new location capacity, you will likely have to rearrange your physical location. This can include setting up one-way only aisles in your stores, as many grocery stores have done, removing half of your restaurant tables, and marking spots 6 feet apart in checkout lines to avoid crowding. You may also want to install plastic guards at checkout areas or between restaurant tables to minimize contact between your customers and employees. To ensure customers are following your guidelines, you may want to consider dedicating one staff member to monitoring capacity in your location.
Similar to the PPE requirements for your employees, you may also want to consider requiring your customers to wear a mask or face covering while in your location. In many states, this may actually be required by law. If budget allows, you could even offer masks to your customers. You may also want to request that customers avoid visiting your location if they are experiencing any symptoms.
Communicate with Your Customers Regularly About Reopening and Other Changes
Your business has likely changed drastically in the last 6 weeks to adapt to the new normal. Communicate with your customers regularly to reassure them that you are still open for business, as well as share with them new your health and safety protocols. If you have an email marketing platform in place, you may want to consider starting a weekly email to customers highlighting any changes in your business. If you do not, check out our guide to setting up an email marketing program. If you have social media pages set up for your business, you can share this information to your followers there too.
You can use these regular communications with your customers to remind them of any services or products you’re offering as well. For example, if you put into place delivery, pickup, or virtual services during lockdowns, remind your customers of these options.
Economy on the Rebound
- 65% of consumers say they will make an unplanned purchase in the next 12 months to treat themselves*
- 52% of consumers have tried a new restaurant and 49% have tried a new retailer since the pandemic began*
- 73% of consumers that plan on doing a home improvement project in the next 12 months also plan on buying new furniture**
*Valassis Research Study June 2020 **GFK Home Improvement Study August 2020.