If you're a small business owner that shuttered your doors throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, just know that you're not alone. This is all new territory for millions around the country and the world; how to keep business going, how to service customers, and the while keeping each other safe.
Whether you have been mandated to shutdown a physical location or office, been laid off and are venturing to start your own business, working from home and looking for new customers, or gearing up to reopen your brick and mortar as soon as possible, it goes without saying that your routine will not be going back to normal. The new normal is in - from masks, hand sanitizer to curbside pick up and plastic partitions - it's important set a precedent around safety and abide by new research around Coronavirus as it updates in real time.
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you prepare to welcome customers:
Show customers you're taking their safety seriously:
Make it known that you have rules and are up to date on what's going on around Coronavirus research. When we thought the virus was more contagious on surfaces, it was so important to wipe down every surface. Now that we know it's equally (or more so) viral in the air; it's necessary to rethink the whole space and environment in which you conduct business.
Whatever type of business you choose - erring on the side of caution portrays care and consideration to your customers as well as to yourself and your loved ones. In a scenario like a global pandemic, you as the business owner are at risk reopening just as your customers are to come into contact with you.
Set up expectations everywhere you can:
As it's been reported on, not everyone wants to take precaution around Coronavirus. So much so that it's been instructed by the CDC to not enforce mask rules to avoid conflict. All we'll say is do what you have to do to keep yourself safe! For small businesses who are working one-on-one, it's easier to manage expectations and set the guidelines for appointments and sessions, versus a small business owner who runs a shop. And of course; if you can work from home or meet with clients online, the risk becomes obsolete. Add your guidelines to your website, periodically showcase them via social media posts, and if you are working with clients individually or in group settings, share in advance so that people can prepare.
Minimize face to face exposure:
For those small businesses or one-person businesses who rely on face-to-face meetings, appointments, classes or ongoing sessions - see where you can cut out close contact exposure. For instance, scheduling a next appointment or comparing calendars: push customers to do any of that back and forth through an online scheduling tool that showcases your availability. You do not need to do this in person. Not sure what tool is best for you? Here are some great tools with free options: Hubspot Meetings Tool, Calendar, Setmore, Bounce House, SimplyBook:, Square, Calendly, Acuity. Learn more about scheduling tools here!
Additionally, make checkout as easy as possible. Consider hardware point of sales tools for a quick credit card swipe, or invoicing through the computer or phone directly to payout. Here are some excellent POS tools that won't break the bank: PayPal, Stripe, Bounce House, Square, Shopify, ShopKeep, Intuit QuickBooks, Vend, Revel System. Get a full breakdown of affordable point of sales systems here!
Build cleaning into your schedule:
Cleaning is your new favorite chore. Make sure to make time for sanitation, as well as providing cleaning supplies and materials to your staff, offer sanitizer to customers, take temperatures every day, and keep the most trafficked surfaces spotless like doorknobs and light switches.
Reimagine the experience:
And finally, since nothing about living through a global pandemic is normal, recognize that it's very possible what you used to do cannot be done today. How can you reimagine the experience between your business and your existing and new customers so that everyone is comfortable? What can you do outside? What can you do remotely? How much can you achieve in a day with added time for cleaning? What can you achieve in a day with limited capacity restrictions? How can you set up space differently? You might find that these creative ideas are worth continuing or adding to your business experience long after the pandemic has passed. Learn more about how to expand your business offerings online.
Is it go time yet? Here at