Nowadays, going to a store or restaurant and seeing countertop acrylic sneeze guards and alcohol dispensers everywhere is the norm. COVID-19 has changed the way we live and businesses must follow suit if they want to survive.
Smaller businesses, which are holding on to just a few months of cash flow, will have to comply with extra measures not just to hold on, but hopefully grow even in the midst of the pandemic.
Turbulent times are ahead and nobody knows how long this will last. There are no easy answers, but here are some of the practical measures that you can do to keep your business afloat, and maybe even thrive, during these hard times!
Business Tips During a Pandemic
1 - Create a Three-Month Financial Plan
The typical small business has the same key expenses—office space rent, employee salaries, and utility bills. Of course, this will depend on the type of industry you are in and further expenses will depend on this. To stretch out your budget, prioritize your expenses for the next three months.
First on the list is your landlord and suppliers. Talk to them about how you are planning to spread out the costs in order to keep your business afloat. Work out compromises wherever needed, such as if you can get extensions on your invoices.
Keep in mind that as fellow business owners, they are in the same tricky situation as you are, so try to keep things fair when it comes to making payments.
Ensure that your suppliers will stay in business during this time. If your suppliers are closing, that will cause delays in your business operations as well.
Optimistically, they should already have plans to cope with pandemic arrangements in place. If not, you should use this time to seek alternatives.
Next, your office rent and your staff are most probably the biggest costs that your business has.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your company, so as much as possible, exhaust every option available to keep everyone on board for as long as possible. You may have to ask your employees to work part-time or on a freelance basis for the meantime.
If your office is too expensive, you can consider sharing it with another business, downsize to a smaller office, opt for a co-working space, or have people work remotely for the meantime.
Hopefully, in three months, we can begin to see some improvement in managing the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide. By that time, you should have a clearer picture of what the next several months will look like, and can reevaluate your financial plan accordingly.
2 - Get Assistance
Given the economic consequences of the pandemic, the government is putting together programs and funding to save business owners.
Look for stimulus packages available for the size and type of your business (with luck, you may qualify for more than just one).
3 - Adapt to the New Market
It’s likely that the business plan you had at the start of 2020 has been scattered to the winds by now. If your previous business model involved traffic to your physical store and face-to-face interactions with customers, you will have to adapt it to survive the coming months.
You will have to examine your business model as a whole and make the necessary tweaks. Some good questions to start with are the following:
- How can you adjust according to the drastic changes in consumer behavior?
- Can you start offering your products and services online?
- Are there processes or technologies that you can implement to counter or recover the loss of earnings by establishing new ways to connect with your customers?
4 - Make Your Workplace COVID-safe
Measures must be taken to manage the risk of transmission and make the workplace safe for employees, customers, contractors, and the public in general.
Depending on where you live and where your business is located, the guidelines may vary. Make sure to research the requirements for reopening safely in your area.
You will have to carry out a COVID risk assessment by taking into account the tasks or activities that will continue to take place in your business space when your staff and customers return.
Here are three types of control measures that you can implement to comply with the standards:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Depends on the type of business you have, but you will have to make your workers don PPE such as face masks and gloves. These are especially essential if you are running a restaurant or salon. Employees must be briefed on how to use these correctly and PPE dispensers should be installed in the workplace.
This includes modifying the physical environment to prevent respiratory droplets and other bodily fluids from being exchanged. Here are some things you can do:
- Putting acrylic barriers separating people sitting at shared tables
- Installing acrylic shields on countertops and cashiers
- Marking alternating seats to prevent people sitting too close
- Putting stickers on the floor marking where people should stand in line
Administrative control involves adjusting office operations to make going about daily tasks safer for everyone. This includes adjusting staff scheduling, enforcing one-way flow routes through offices, social distancing training, increased hygiene practices, and reviewing office-wide safety protocols.
Part of administrative control involves limiting the number of customers and employees inside the establishment. Those who can work remotely should take advantage of the chance to work from home, which can be achieved by using the many communication tools available online.
If the office cannot be completely empty, a skeletal workforce should be implemented, possibly in shifting schedules, to limit the number of people coming in.
Of course, there are certain tasks in which social distancing is not possible. If you can't eliminate this from the work process, you have to make this as safe as possible, which can mean making the employees involved wear more protective gear.
5 - Upgrade Staff Skills
If you are lucky enough to retain most, if not all of your employees, it's the perfect opportunity to upskill them so they can be more efficient and productive. Not only will this eliminate the need to hire more workers, but also to help them improve their personal skills.
There are plenty of resources you can find on the Internet, such as online courses, to expand their skill set. For instance, given that customer visits to your physical store will be limited, members of your sales and marketing team can take courses in digital marketing and social media to push your online store.
Grow Amidst Adversity
Are you ready to rise to the challenge and make your workplace COVID-proof? Let Displays & Holders help you out. We supply countertop acrylic sneeze guards, PPE dispensers, and other equipment that will protect your employees and your customers. Visit our website today!