6 Steps to Prepare for Reopening Your Business
#1 Start with a plan
Make a list of your current business processes and procedures that will require modification before opening and create a written plan of action for each. Several points of the plan should be referenced in advertising efforts to show you are serious about customer and employee safety. Call it your COVID-19 Safety Plan, or something similar, then review and revise as necessary. Create a project punch list that includes new protocols, safety procedures, social distancing, and marketing. Discuss the plan with your staff to ensure every point is understood.
#2 Respect Social Distancing
By now, you may have been to a store that has placed stickers on the floor indicating where to stand, saw signs that read “No more than ten people inside at one time”, noticed some doors are marked entry and exit only, and have seen plastic shields in front of checkout counters. You should consider similar procedures. Start gathering necessary supplies and signage to accommodate your COVID-19 plan. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including eye protection, facemasks, and gloves, may be required. If you do not have any, begin shopping now.
#3 Customer Interaction
-How can you make it easier for your clients to schedule appointments or make purchases online?
-Review your inventory of business supplies and add relevant items in anticipation of changes (based on your plan). For example, will hand sanitizer and hand cleaning stations be needed or expected by your customers?
-Consider whether you need to rearrange your store, check-out locations, seating, foot-traffic patterns, restroom policies, dressing rooms, etc. as you prepare to keep staff, consumers, and yourself safe.
-Curbside pickup locations should be clearly marked, fast, and easily accessible. Even though your doors may be open, people may still be cautious and will appreciate these conveniences.
-Create professional looking flyers and signs NOW! There are many options (both professionally or hand-made), and your Chamber team can help you find quick, easy solutions.
#4 Create a New Cleaning Schedule
-Consumers will notice if your business is clean, organized, and safe to enter. Revise your cleaning / sanitation plan and have all the necessary items needed to ensure the ongoing safety of everyone who enters your business. Create a formal cleaning / sanitizing schedule and add it to your daily calendar; make sure your staff is fully aware and able to comply to the new procedures. Include inspection times and checklists for quality control.
-Keep cleaning supplies visible to your clients and customers. Have a goal of always smelling fresh and recently cleaned.
Provide easily accessible disinfectant wipes.
-Consider having a professional company do a regularly scheduled deep-clean bacterial cleaning.
-Post your cleaning plan so that it’s visible for everyone who enters to see the steps you’re taking to ensure ongoing safety.
#5 Advertise your COVID-19 Safety Plan
-As businesses begin to reopen, consumers will look for companies sharing their COVID-19 Safety Plan. Big franchises, as well as other small businesses that have remained open, have executed this very well, and for some, it has increased their revenue. When you begin to advertise that you’re again open for business, follow it up with your plan and protocols. Consumers will take notice and know they are entering a safe environment.
-Update your Chamber listing, website, all social media accounts, and any other advertising channels, so your COVID-19 plan is easily found.
-Make videos showcasing your COVID-19 Plan in action.
Have flyers or other materials listing items available for delivery or curbside pickup.
-Ask customers for online reviews and let them know you’ll appreciate them mentioning your businesses’ cleanliness.
-Have fun with this process. Show pictures of you and your staff cleaning, smiling, and happy to be open again.
-Plan a GRAND REOPENING EVENT and make it fun!
#6 Respect The Process
The process of reopening will continuously be revised as our leaders evaluate the current environment. Many people are ready for business as usual, but many others will remain cautious (some overly so) for quite some time. If you cater your plan to the cautious, all consumers will respect your new procedures.
The lack of a COVID-19 Safety Plan will undoubtedly cause a loss of some consumers. The faster we adhere to safety protocols, the quicker we can get back to our “new normal”.
Your Chamber Team is Ready To Help!
Your Chamber team is ready to help whenever you need us. We are offering regular updates, as new information is released, virtual content to assist with marketing, one-on-one coaching and consulting, business planning, and so much more.