5 Things to Consider When Reopening Your Business After COVID
COVID-19 has rocked the very foundations of our globe, leaving everyone from world leaders to small business owners reeling. With so many unknowns the idea of opening our businesses again brings a tremendous mix of worry, eagerness, and cautiousness.
Among the most perplexing challenges we face is answering the following questions:
How can business owners rebound from the effects of COVID and what is business after COVID going to look like?
While no one knows the answers to these questions, are a few things to consider as you get your business slowly back to full operations.
Bring Your Employees Back Only When It’s Safe to Do So
On the surface, it hardly seems like it would be a problem for your employees to resume their job duties. However, there is a good chance that some of your workers have experienced the effects of COVID-19 either directly or indirectly, and may be hesitant to return to their positions.
To further complicate matters, some people may be reluctant to give up the unemployment benefits, including the $600 per month they are currently receiving in government stimulus funds.
The abrupt work stoppage caused by COVID-19 presents you and numerous other business owners with workforce questions you may have never contemplated before. Two that are among the most important are these:
Is it still necessary for all of your staff to do their jobs at your physical location or can some, if not all of them be equally productive as remote workers?
If you did transition to a largely remote workforce, how would that alter the customer experience for your company?
If your employees are to come back on-site, it is your responsibility to make the environment safe and sanitary for both them and your customers. This may involve health screenings, social distancing protocols and unique procedures to follow should someone become ill due to COVID-19 at the workplace. Furthermore, you will need to explore insurance and employment-related issues pertaining to coronavirus-related healthcare, sick leave and potential legal liability.
As a business owner, one way to make your case for employees to come back to work is to communicate how you plan to provide a safe and sanitary environment. It may also be helpful to bring up the advantages of the workers’ compensation and health insurance benefits that full-time employment at your company most likely offers. Stimulus funds will soon end, but these perks you provide to full-time employees will not.
Remote staff members present their own issues. For instance, you will probably need to determine what technology will be necessary for their office job to be converted into an at-home one. Also, you should consider putting monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure that the quality and quantity of the work your at-home workers produce remains consistently up to your standards.
Finally, a myriad of other regulatory and legal questions must be addressed, including ensuring that communication continues to flow smoothly among all stakeholders, that your company’s unique brand is protected, and, most importantly, that sensitive company and customer information remains confidential .
Pivot Your Business Model to Adjust to the New Circumstances
Like it or not, the pandemic may have brought permanent changes in the fabric of our lives, and some of these may affect the way you run your business, sell your products and interact with your employees.
As you contemplate reopening your business to the public, you may wish to ask yourself the following questions:
• What parts of your past business model will most likely continue to work in the present environment?
• Do you anticipate that new health and social distancing concerns will impact your physical environment or product sales behaviors?
• What resources will you need to cultivate to be nimble when the time comes for reopening?
• Will you need any new equipment, including sanitization devices or PPE? If so, where will you get it and by what date?
[bullet] Is there a new or modified product or service you could offer to accommodate your customers better? For example, if you previously offered a high-profile service, perhaps now is the time to create a micro version of that service to accommodate customers who are scaling back on budgets.
One thing that seems apparent is that no one, neither workers nor customers, is likely to walk through your doors or shop with you online if they do not feel safe doing so.
While many things will be out of your control, you can positively affect your success by making decisions proactively according to your unique products, customers, workers, and business needs.
Start to Interview New Vendors and Brands Operating Despite COVID-19
The reality is that not all businesses will survive the rough seas of the pandemic, potentially including one or more of the links in your supply chain. Before your company re-opens, you may wish to make it a point to scan the landscape for replacements in case one or more of your vendors are no longer there for you when you need them.
Furthermore, the ways in which you pay your contractors and provide goods to your customers may change. With money as tight as it looks to be in the near term, some businesses may demand payment on delivery, requiring that you have significant amounts of capital on hand.
Buyers may be unwilling or unable to come to you when purchasing goods and services due to physical distance limitations or travel restrictions. Instead of turning them away, your best bet may beto accommodate them by shipping items directly to them.
While adding a layer of flexibility in how your business operates will hopefully result in satisfied vendors and customers, you may incur additional costs that you should be prepared to absorb.
Look to Where You Can Cut Costs and Scale Back
Intuitively, it might seem like a no-brainer to pinch pennies wherever you can as you ponder getting back to business. However, pruning too much from your business model could rob you of the right products and features needed to furnish you with resiliency and success.
For that reason, it may pay to take a long look at your books. If you do, consider placing your emphasis more on what must be preserved than what can be cut. Consider focussing on the absolute necessities, instead of being overwhelmed by analyzing your entire list of expenditures. There may be a more efficient way to manage your operations and scale back, but it makes sense to take your time as you seek to make this decision and review all opportunities.
Enlisting the expertise of a financial consultant might also help you to keep your sanity throughout this challenging process of discernment.
Ask For Help -And Explore All of Your Options
Getting back on your feet after the tumultuous times we all have experienced is by no means an easy feat, but the good news is that you do not have to do it alone. Although there will be stiff competition for many of the available resources, there may be numerous opportunities to get assistance for your business as it recoverys.
The opportunities for help that have been receiving the most publicity in recent weeks are the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. While these are worth pursuing, there are other options as well.
State governments, for instance, are working hard to buttress the small businesses that function as their backbone. Local communities and chambers of commerce are also contributing funds and expertise. Business mentors and consultants are thriving during this time as business owners seek advice and guidance.
As you view your many options, do not forget about the availability of monies through non-traditional funding sources such as Expansion Capital Group. Our company consists of a team of dedicated professionals who are entrepreneurs themselves.
As such, we understand that each business has its own unique set of assets and challenges. With that information in hand, Expansion Capital Group’s dedicated team is committed to helping each company with whom it works to grow and recover in these difficult times.
Because Expansion Capital Group is not a traditional bank, it is not bound by the red tape and bureaucratic tangles that can often turn applying for funds into a time-consuming and confusing nightmare for busy entrepreneurs.
When you partner with us, you can expect a fast, transparent, and customized application process and friendly, knowledgeable service from people who understand the ins and outs of daily company operations.
In these uncertain times, you need a rock-solid ally on your side who can answer all of your questions and provide you with the timely information you need as you work toward resilience and recovery.
At Expansion Capital Group, we are dedicated to furnishing our business partners with the foundation of funding that will be a vital stepping-stone as they rebound from the coronavirus crisis.