As parts of the country navigate reopening during quarantine, many business owners are contemplating how to get back on their feet. The unpredictable nature of the virus means “business as usual” isn’t an option. If you hope to succeed during the pandemic, you’ll need to re-evaluate operations and adapt. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Consider your community’s new needs. As people have adjusted to a pandemic lifestyle, their needs have changed. Before you can meet your community’s needs, you’ll need to evaluate and understand what those are. Economic fallout has raised concerns about loss of income, travel restrictions, compounded health issues, and uncertainty in the market.
Your customers want reassurance that you’re there for them. Ask about your community’s needs and listen closely to the answers.
Appraise your business assets. Take stock of company assets to see how they can be leveraged to meet customer needs. Decide what’s relevant, what can be let go, and what can be adapted.
For example, if you’re making workplace renovations, consider renting a dumpster. These are affordable — in some areas, rental rates are as low as $250 a week — and come with no-contact delivery and pickup.
Look for savings opportunities everywhere you can. When looking at vehicles for your fleet, consider manual transmissions. They’re cheaper than automatics and less expensive to insure and repair. You could even train employees to “drive stick” in a fun team-building workshop.
Restructure your workforce. You’ll need to re-evaluate how best to deploy your employees, taking into account their health, safety, and productivity. By communicating clearly with them during the process, you’ll be in a better position to understand their capabilities, concerns, and needs — information crucial in devising a plan to move forward responsibly.
If possible, you might prioritize working remotely, particularly in areas where the pandemic is raging. Provide remote workers with the resources they need, such as equipment and technology, health insurance, and home warranties to keep the home front operating smoothly.
Develop a ‘bounce-back’ plan. An action plan can help your business bounce back into the market. Evaluate your resources, workforce, market trends, and your ability to adapt to the new business climate. Then set realistic short- and long-term goals, and outline measures to achieve them.
You’ll probably need to devise several strategies to address fluctuating demand. Preparing now will put you in a position to make responsive pivots and savvy decisions that move your business forward.
Diversify your sales channels. If you operate a solely brick-and-mortar enterprise, you’re limiting your service and sales options. Not everyone is comfortable making in-person visits, especially in busy shops where it’s difficult to social distance.
By branching out to e-commerce, you can diversify your sales channels and reach new markets. Use social media and your website to let your customers know you now offer services online.
Reassess company policies. Discern whether company policies still align with workforce needs around paid leave, vacation time, child care, and health insurance. A pandemic is no time to skimp on your workers’ health, safety, and welfare.
Make sure your company has a way to monitor employees’ mental and physical health. Track virus cases in the workplace, and keep employees in the loop concerning results.
Also implement measures to reduce infection on the job. Provide protective masks and gloves, and stock up on antibacterial hand soap and disinfectant wipes. Station FDA-safe hand sanitizer throughout your facility.
Invest in long-term initiatives. Don’t settle for “just” getting your business up and running; explore long-term initiatives you can sustain into the future and strategies that take your services/products to the next level.
If you were initiating projects before quarantine, re-evaluate their effectiveness now. New measures more in line with current circumstances might offer a greater chance of helping your company grow.
Operating a business (like everything else) during a pandemic is a challenge. But by adapting your policies, taking care of your workforce, and using the ingenuity that helped you set up your business in the first place, you can position your company to take back 2020.