As we round the corner to warmer weather, businesses around the country are prepping for the busier summer season. But spring weather isn’t the only reason we’ve all got some pep-in-our-step. With vaccines readily available to all US adults, life is beginning to return to normal, and it seems as though the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is really behind us. From fewer limitations on social gatherings, to lifting restrictions on businesses, we’re all one step closer to getting back to normal.
For business owners, this means ramping up for the return of more customers. As a small business owner, you might be anxious about fully reopening your business—even if it means bringing in more revenue. In a recent survey, 62 percent of small business owners said they were still feeling the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, making gearing up for a busy summer more important than ever.
If you’re getting ready to reopen your business, don’t panic. We’re outlining three tips that will make reopening a breeze—and get you one step closer to business as usual. We’ve also included this reopening kit for small business owners, so you can be prepared for whatever lies ahead. In the meantime, let’s get your business back to booming with these three tips:
Prioritize Employee Safety
While increasing revenue and attracting new customers is important, keeping your team healthy should be your number one priority. Of course, social distancing is one of the easiest ways to ensure your team is safe, but we all know it’s not the easiest to maintain in a workspace. Instead, try to limit the number of employees that need to man one area at a time—for example, instead of having two clerks at your counter, consider having one at the counter, and one in your store or restaurant, encouraging customers to maintain social distancing when possible.
Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment is also a critical step in protecting your employees. Consider adding signage about washing hands and communicate to customers what measures they can take to keep employees safe. Communicating with both your team and your customers what safety measures to take will not only keep everyone healthy but will foster better relationships and garner better retention.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created a whole new layer when it comes to problem-solving and protecting your business. Take steps to ensure you’re doing everything possible to protect your employees, customers, and yourself. Be sure to stay up to date on HR policies and make sure your business stays compliant with state and federal COVID related procedures. Check out this blog on some recent COVID related HR FAQs for all things policies and procedures.
Keep Your Business Online
Like most business owners, you probably had to pivot your business model to keep your sales up during lockdowns. While getting your business back to normal in-store operations will increase your revenue, it’s important to keep those other revenue streams open too—like selling online and other hybrid options like buy online pick-up-in store and delivery. Not only will this help you keep sales up as you reopen, but many of your customers may be reluctant to return to their normal buying habits in the coming months. eCommerce sales are higher than ever before, so if you don’t have an online store, now is the time to make one. 80 percent of small businesses are not taking full advantage of available technology—make sure to get a leg up on your competition by going digital.
Adding new technology will not only increase your sales, but it’s another way to keep your employees safe, too. 88 percent of restaurant owners are considering permanently swapping to digital menus, and 76 percent will continue offering contactless payment options going forward. Not only are these swaps safer, but they make for easier ordering and checkout experiences for both your staff and your guests. Consider adding QR codes for menus, appointment scheduling, or directly linking to your online storefront.
Communicate with Your Customers
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again—quality communication is the number one way to make all things small business-related run smoother. Make sure your customers know your business is open and what changes they can expect when they visit. Leverage social media to get the word out about reopening and special announcements—like reopening promotions or a “kick-off” day where you welcome customers back. Include signage in your store, at tables, and on your website about what might have changed and what customers can do to keep themselves and your staff safe.
Not sure what to put on your signage? We’ve got you covered—download our reopening kit.
Overall, the best tip we can give is to future-proof your small business for whatever lies ahead. COVID-19 showed us just how quickly our business operations can change, so protect your business for the future by continually looking for ways to grow your business outside your brick-and-mortar store. At Beyond, supporting small business owners is our full-time job—make sure to check out all our small business resources to stay up-to-date on tips and trends, and download your reopening kit here.