Since the U.S. economy began reopening earlier this summer, about 86 percent of small businesses have reopened either fully (52 percent) or partially (34 percent) — according to July’s Coronavirus Impact Poll from MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Moreover, about 65 percent of U.S. small businesses are stocking up on additional supplies and inventory, updating their websites and social media pages, and improving their ecommerce presence as they actively prepare for future coronavirus-induced closures.
If you’re getting ready to reopen your small business to the public, a good marketing plan will be essential to attracting new and former customers, safeguarding your business against future closures, and keeping everyone safe and healthy in the process. To explore three tips that will help you to reopen your small business as safely and cost-effectively as possible, read on!
1. Boost Your Online Presence.
As you get ready to reopen your small business after closing due to COVID-19, it’s important to boost your online presence and update everything from your ecommerce store and social media profile to your business website and online business listings. If you work with Konnen Design, for instance, you could even create a new website, blog, e-newsletter, or ecommerce store — helping you to boost your online presence and announce the reopening of your small business.
When announcing your reopening online, be sure to share your new or updated business hours, the different changes or upgrades you’ve made to protect your customers and employees from the coronavirus, and the steps you’ll continue to take to keep your physical location as clean and sanitary as possible. If your payment methods or processes have changed, you should also share this information with the public. Customers may have questions about the reopening of your small business, so make sure you’re responding to emails and social media messages in a timely manner.
2. Make Physical Changes.
In addition to improving your online presence during COVID-19, you may need to adapt the physical layout of your brick-and-mortar location in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. A few physical changes may include:
- Adding coronavirus signage to your windows and/or doors.
- Installing physical barriers between cashiers and their customers.
- Rearranging furniture and workstations to allow for social distancing.
- Upgrading your HVAC system to improve ventilation and air quality.
- Installing additional handwashing stations.
If all or some of your employees will work from home after your business reopens to the public, you’ll also want to ensure that their tech devices are protected from potential cybersecurity threats. Talk to your remote staff about the importance of internet safety — and make sure they’re not sharing any work devices with their children. Additionally, remote workers should encrypt their home’s WiFi connection and install antivirus software on their computers.
3. Look for Funding.
While each of the above upgrades will help your small business to grow and thrive as you get ready to reopen amid COVID-19, you’ll need to be prepared for the high cost of making these upgrades. If you’re struggling to stay afloat and can’t afford to pay for these improvements without funding, you could look into grants and financing options — such as the ZenBusiness Grant Program, Small Business Administration (SBA) Express Bridge Loan, or SBA Main Street Business Lending Program.
If you’re a minority, other possible grant options may be available to you through the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, or National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Female business owners, however, may qualify for financial assistance through Hello Alice, the Red Backpack Fund, and Doonie Fund.
A Final Word.
By boosting your online presence, making a few important changes to your physical location, and obtaining the funding you need to reopen your small business as safely as possible, you’ll attract new and existing customers — while keeping everyone safe and healthy in the process. However, plans can quickly change in the age of COVID-19 — and it’s important to prepare for several outcomes and remain as flexible as possible throughout the remainder of the pandemic.