7 Tips to Reopening Your Business After COVID-19
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease up across the country, many businesses are asking the question: “How do I restart and rebuild my business?”
From the people I talk with as they seek the concierge services and strategies we provide, there’s a lot of confusion about how to best proceed.
Some of the people I’ve heard from are business owners exploring how they can use promotional products that Wearable Imaging offers as they seek to remind people they are set to re-open. Many of these people believe re-opening is good for them but aren’t sure how to best move forward with the restrictions in place.
Others I’ve heard from share that they are hesitant to re-open given all that is going on. Between COVID-19, limitations placed on re-opening and the riots, they understandably are experiencing some concerns and we’ve looked at some ways to ease the transition from closed to re-opening – often looking how to change their business to one that is more predominantly conducted online.
And of course, there were still others reaching out and sharing that they don’t know which direction to head – open, re-open or pivot to an online business.
If you’ve had any of these concerns, know that you are not alone. Also know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Even at our home base in Orange County, business owners have different concerns and strategies for how they want to handle re-opening.
Because one thing I have found over the years providing concierge service is that while there are threads of similarity in these types of issues, each business is unique and the way it best services it’s goals and the needs of its clients is unique too.
One thing we have all learned over the last few months is that we best position ourselves to thrive when we find ways to adapt, and the same goes for your business.
I know for me, even though there are huge differences in what’s happening in the world right now than what I’ve experienced in the past, I am pulling from my past areas of struggle and success to navigate these times. Doing so let me tap into what has helped our company be resilient in the past and apply those now – in life and in business.
Here are some tips I’ve used. I hope they can help you successfully prepare to get back to work.
- Assess Your Finances. No matter how big your business is, chances are, the pandemic had an impact on your business. I know it did for us. I looked for different ways to serve our clients more deeply and looked for where we could find and negotiate resources to help the businesses we serve. For some, trying to continue business has had financial implications. Maybe you needed to lay off or furlough employees. Or perhaps you had to temporarily or permanently close brick-and-mortar locations. Or you found that your clients just weren’t spending as much as they had been, or supplies were harder or more expensive to obtain. Naturally, all this can affect your bottom line. Or you were able to keep going relying on loans and other financial assistance programs. Whatever the scenario you faced, re-opening is a great time to review your financial statements, compare them to last year’s and determine exactly where you are right now and where you want to go. Doing so will best prepare you for creating your strategy for reopening.
- Revisit Your Business Plan/Model. There is a “new normal” emerging. And with it is a great time to revisit your Business Plan/Model. I know I have. While I have not needed to change from brick-and-mortar to online, many of my clients have. But I nonetheless looked to clarify our goals and objectives while assessing where we could better serve our clients. That’s because given the new normal, many of my clients have pivoted to new areas or new ways of service and they are seeking promotional products that serve those pivoted areas. For instance, many businesses have relied heavily on online sales over the past few months to supplement what they lost from in-person traffic. They recognize that because of the loss of in-person contact, something physical becomes even more important. But the type of promotional product they now need has changed. They now are seeking items that can be used front and center to keep them top of mind. In addition, some businesses will continue the online store just because even after they have officially re-opened. And even expand online sales based on the new norm of buyer behaviors. All of this supports taking a look at the results you have been getting while maintaining a predominant online presence, assess what your competition is doing, ask your clients what they would like, and tweak your business plan/model to make it work for you.
- Re-vitalize Your Spending Budget. You are likely going to incur a variety of costs as you reopen – from rehiring employees, to increased marketing budgets and replenishing inventory levels. Creating a spending budget for reopening is a smart way to anticipate what amounts to ‘re-start-up’ costs. This will help you evaluate what your business will require and give you advance time to prepare for how to manage finances as you move forward with reopening. But don’t stop there. Factor in costs that move you from merely re-opening to re-vitalizing. Look for where you can incorporate ‘must-have’s into branding opportunities. For instance, many stores are allowed to re-open as long as they keep social distancing requirements in-check and require masks. Why not have social distancing signage and masks with your logo on it? That way, you are increasing awareness while emblazoning your business’ logo where people are sure to look. Then, send them home with something functional Like the Touch Tool that they will use so you are always right there with them. Looking to move past re-opening into re-vitalizing is a way to get ahead of the game.
- Consider Funding Assistance. Once you’ve evaluated your finances, revised your business plan and developed a new budget to reopen your business, you may find that you will need some financial assistance to rebuild. While the two Small Business Administration Programs – the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans – are available, they are limited and offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. There are other funding options – small business loans, lines of credit and more – that can be used. You may want to sit down with your financial advisor to determine which is best for you.
- Communicate With Your Clients. Your clients are the backbone to your business, so make sure that you update them on a regular basis. Let them know when you are opening, what they can expect and any additional information that is important. Above all, thank them for being loyal customers and speak to ways that you will be able to continue to serve them in the future. But don’t stop there. Since my business didn’t close, client communication didn’t stop. Whether you were in a holding pattern, were put on pause or have continued to be open as we are, client connection is going to be even more important when all states re-open. Look for more ways to keep this going … and for clients to remember you as the connection source. Doing so will keep you not only front and center but the go-to for doing business. Send them a personal thank you note along with some branded swag with your logo.
- Establish a Timeline. Identify your priorities and put together a realistic timeline for when you can reopen – everything from the timeline to rehire employees, provide any personal protection equipment training or customer distancing boundaries, ensure you have the amount and type of inventory to handle the influx of business and finally what you need to have ready when you will officially reopen. Track your progress and make adjustments if needed. Just like I experienced quite a bit while playing Golf for a living, anticipate everything and you’ll be better prepared for anything.
- Develop a Contingency Plan. The scope of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent riots took us all by surprise. While many are advocating to put a contingency plan in place after you’ve had a chance to settle back into the swing of things to make sure you are prepared if and when the next crisis occurs, I would advocate you do something more. Instead of preparing only for the worse, prepare for victory. How can you take what you learned from what happened and turn that into something in your business that moves you closer and closer to championship status? Sure - rethink your plans for liquid assets, how to pivot if another work-from-home scenario presents itself, other streams of income that could help mitigate your losses and more. But don’t settle for a give-up mentality. Look for where you can make strides in client connection now that will stand not only the test of time – but the test of another pandemic or worse. Because when you think like a winner, more of the world of opportunity opens up to you.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. And through it, we have seen even more closely how important maintaining a winning strategy is. Now is the time to reopen and strategize about the future. I’d love to help you do just that. Give us a call at 949-888-7837 or email us at email@example.com and I will be happy to set up a complimentary strategy session with you.
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- Category: Business Building
- Tags: covid-19, small business, business planning, business reopening, business re-opening, promotional products in Orange County California