Finally, some good news!
States all over the country are in various stages of reopening after more than two months of COVID-19 quarantine, including Florida. While physical distancing guidelines and the use of masks won’t be going away, this does mean that businesses of all sizes can reopen again!
But after being closed for weeks, you likely can’t just reopen your doors without doing a ton of prep. Things have changed. New health and safety policies are in place. Your physical location will likely need to go through some changes to make it ready for customers again. That’s going to be a TON of work! Here’s what you need to think about to make sure your reopening goes off without a hitch!
Housekeeping at Your Physical Location
The first thing you need to do is pretty basic: Get your physical location in shape to reopen again.
After a few months of being closed, things are likely a bit dusty in there. You’re going to need to spend some time tidying up in preparation for your customers returning. Or you can hire someone to come in and clean for you.
You should also make sure that you do an inventory count to ensure everything in your stockroom reflects the numbers you have in your system.
If you decided to save some money over the last few months by suspending utilities like internet or phone, you are definitely going to need those back up before you open your doors again!
Basically, you should do some housekeeping to make sure that everything is looking shipshape at your physical location.
Preparing Your Staff
You have in-person employees working alongside your virtual team. Policies may have to change in your workplace to accommodate the shifts brought about by COVID-19.
The health and safety of your employees are paramount. Therefore, physical distancing guidelines must remain in place. That goes for all interactions your staff have with your customers and each other. It might also be an excellent idea to make masks available to your workers. If they are handling products or merchandise, then non-latex gloves might also be a plus.
As the reopening continues, coronavirus-prevention guidelines may start to change. Keep your staff in the loop about any potential new policies that could be coming into effect.
Putting Safety Measures into Place
One reality of the post-COVID-19 business environment is that health and safety precautions will become much more important to protect your customers.
In this spirit, providing them with free hand-sanitizer at the door and front counter would be a welcome perk. If they are going to be interacting directly with you or your employees, offering free masks might be a nice touch. Don’t forget to wear a mask yourself when talking with them!
If you have a checkout counter at your business, you may want to install a plexiglass shield to protect your employees. Alongside this, make sure you have contactless payment methods available for customers, as exchanging money and passing payment terminals isn’t currently safe.
You also may need to limit the number of people in your business at one time. Figure out a rough estimate of how many people can safely fit while maintaining physical distancing guidelines, then put a notice on your door informing customers they may need to wait outside until some room has cleared.
Getting the Word Out That You’re Reopened!
Of course, there will be nobody waiting outside unless you can get the word out that your business has finally reopened!
The best way to do this is through digital marketing channels. People are spending much more online nowadays, and that will likely continue in the future. That said, they are going to be twitching to get out of the house for any reason after the last few months. So, give them a reason to head to your business!
I would suggest sending a few email newsletters to keep them informed. The first one should layout your reopening plan, so they know that things are in progress. Then, once you’ve finalized everything, send out another newsletter with the reopening date. Finally, be sure to send them a big celebratory newsletter on the big day!
The same plan should go for your social media accounts. Ensure that all of your followers know about your plans by keeping them in the loop with daily updates. You could maybe even do a series of Instagram Stories, showing you getting your physical location back up and running!
Put Your Necessary Daily Tasks on Autopilot
Reopening your physical location after a few months is going to be a time-consuming endeavor. It’s going to be difficult to handle all of the steps of getting back to work. Doing this alongside the daily tasks that keep your business running may be tricky.
For example, you can’t just forego your social media marketing while you’re getting things ready. That’s how you’re going to get the word out, remember? Content creation is likely also going to get put on the backburner. Email newsletters, website maintenance, reputation management, and more may be put off as well.
The absolute best way to get those tasks out of your hair is to offload them onto a virtual assistant. They can make sure nothing will slip through the cracks while you’re working on reopening. A VA can even help you with that part by setting you up with a project management system to keep track of everything you need to do.
Long Term Shift
Businesses are reopening. This doesn’t mean the changes we’ve gone through over the next few months will be going anywhere. Many people are speculating that the coronavirus crisis has brought about a long-term shift in the way that small businesses will operate. In other words, small business owners (even those who have physical locations) are going to need to pivot to online to be competitive.
Many small businesses have already embraced offering new online products and offerings such as webinars and online courses. Over the last few months, I’ve worked with dozens of clients to rebuild their websites and revamp their social media accounts. If you’d like some advice to improve your online workflow and build new revenue sources, I invite you to check out my free download, Pivot Your Business Online in 6 Easy Steps.
Personally, I can’t be more thrilled that our society has started to open back up. While things will be different, having some element of normality in our lives again will likely drastically drop stress levels across the board. If your stress level is still peaking, I can help by taking a ton of tasks off your to-do list! Contact me today, and we can get started figuring out how to optimize your business in the post-lockdown era!