Lessons From Entrepreneurs Who Have Done It

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many slot joker online businesses to temporarily suspend operations, either voluntarily out of concern for the health of customers and employees or as a result of state mandates. Although the novel coronavirus pandemic persists and, in some cases, even appears resurgent, many businesses have determined that it’s time to reopen and adapt to the new normal.

Businesses are reopening after COVID-19 shutdown.
Many states have relaxed restrictions to allow businesses to resume economic activity. Georgia, for example, became one of the first states in the nation to begin a reopening process, lifting restrictions as early as April. Other states waited a bit longer before announcing partial reopenings of their nonessential businesses, but by mid-May, every state in the U.S. had eased coronavirus-related restrictions at least a little bit.

Many business owners seized the opportunity to resume business, despite concerns about COVID-19 and social distancing, due to an equally pressing financial situation. Others have kept their doors closed, whether by choice or because they still fall under lingering restrictions in their home states. As retail businesses, fitness centers, nail salons and barbershops begin showing signs of life again, the question for many small business owners is how to reopen with public health and safety in mind.

For entrepreneurs preparing to reopen in the near future, it is important to craft a reopening plan that follows state guidance and respects remaining restrictions.

If you’re nervous about reopening, consider the following advice from the real-world experiences of small business owners who have already done it. Use their tips to establish safety protocols that protect employee and customer alike.

  1. Focus on nonoperational elements of your business prior to reopening.
    While you’re waiting for the right time to reopen your business, there is plenty you can do to improve your chances of a nimble recovery. For example, cutting extraneous expenses or working on your digital marketing strategy could pay off down the line when your day-to-day attention returns to keeping your business running. Look for creative ways to make the rest of your shutdown productive.

“My best advice is to not let this time go unused,” said Werner Furstenberg, owner and president of Creative Shade Solutions. “Update your website, plan your marketing, get your offices or business locations thoroughly cleaned, organize your computer files. Even if you can’t run business as usual, there is plenty that can be done online, and much that can be done to make your business a safe and healthy place for all employees and customers.”

  1. Establish workplace safety policies and train your team to follow them.
    One of the most important things to do is make sure your employees are all on the same page when it comes to new workplace safety policies designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for your employees, and offer specific training on the policies you’ve put in place.

“In addition to reinforcing good hygiene practices recommended by the CDC with our team members, we have also adopted the CDC recommendation for a detailed health screening and temperature check prior to each employee shift,” said Daniel DeLeon, owner of Grumpy’s Restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. “We have even extended this to all of our vendors, delivery and maintenance personnel.”

Consider taking these measures:

Require employees to wear masks or face coverings, even if not required by law in your state.
Provide sanitation stations throughout the workplace.
Require employees to wear gloves and regularly sanitize them.
Increase the frequency of cleaning for all your facilities.
Require social distancing measures for all employees and customers.
If possible, establish outdoor spaces for customers (such as outdoor dining areas) and curbside pickup options.

  1. Explain the safety measures to your customers.
    Don’t be afraid to let your customers know about the measures you’ve adopted. It’s not just a marketing strategy, but a genuine way to show that you prioritize the well-being of your team and your customers. While reopening your business is important, nothing should trump public health.

“Be vocal and let your guests see the efforts you have in place to protect them and your employees,” said Brenda Cantrell, brand ambassador for retail chain Unclaimed Baggage. “Demonstrate the procedures you’ve put into place in pictures and video on social media. Taking that extra step to tell your story and own the procedures you’ve put in place will help balance these extra precautions with a positive experience at the place of business.”

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