Businesses that have survived the initial shock of COVID-19 may be considering reopening after lockdown is eased- but how should they gain customers trust and operate in a whole new business environment? With economic decline and strict social distancing measures to adhere to, there are bound to be challenges for small business owners to overcome. To navigate you through this process we spoke to Javier Bello, marketing expert at UENI, who provides an easy step-by step guide on how to reopen your small business post lockdown.
Tips On How To Reopen Your Small Business
#1 - Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
As an employer, you are legally required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations act to protect your employees, and others, from harm. To ensure the safety of your workplace, you should carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with HSE Guidance. Keeping track of your risk assessment records will show you are a responsible employer who identifies hazards, assesses the risks and controls the spread of the virus. By sharing the results of the risk assessment, you can gain your teams and customers trust that you are operating in a sanitary, safe environment.
#2- Market yourself online before reopening
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, digital adoption has reached new heights. Marketing your small business online will create brand awareness and allow for communication with customers, which will quickly recover your small business. Building a website, sharing on social media and implementing a SEO strategy is a must. To help you with this, check out our useful resource on how to promote your small business online. By working on this, you can ensure that your website stands out from the competition with a better position on Google searches.
#3 - Implement hygiene procedures
Good hygiene will keep your employees and customers healthy, ensuring your business continues to run. You should provide hand sanitiser around the workplace and frequently disinfect surfaces that have been touched regularly. Single use paper towels or electrical dryers should be used in the washrooms and tissues should be provided for all workers. Hand wash must always be accessible and cleaning aids, such as cloths or mops, must be germ-free before use. Your employees should be briefed of these new hygiene procedures beforehand, and the new rules should be clearly displayed in your workplace.
#4 - Adapt to working from home
The coronavirus outbreak means many will have been working from home for the first time. If this has proven successful for your small business, why not continue? Discuss with your team whether working from home has been effective for them, and if they would like to continue. If so, make sure they have remote access to all the necessary equipment and work systems to keep your small business running effectively. Always maintain clear communication so that your team understands the business targets and objectives for each month.
#5 - Maintain 2m social distancing
Coronavirus is spread from person to person when someone coughs or sneezes. To reduce this spread, the government guidance has been to maintain a 2m social distancing. This means that your small business must use clear indicators to mark areas and help people keep a 2m distance, put up signs to remind workers and visitors to social distance from each other and arrange one-way traffic systems through stores. The less people in close contact, the lower the transmission risk.
#6 - Manage the transmission risk where people cannot be 2m apart
If your work is essential but it is not possible for people to maintain a 2m distance, you should do everything in your power to reduce the transmission risk. This includes setting up screens or barriers to separate people, staggering shifts, implementing back-to-back working and considering whether certain activities are essential for the business to operate. In more confined spaces, all employees and customers should wear PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect themselves, and others, from the virus.
#7 - Communicate effectively
As well as communicating with your employees, effective communication with your customers and suppliers is key. With your suppliers, discuss if they are available and outline the new measures you are putting in place regarding deliveries. With customers, keep them updated about your plans to reopen your small business, highlight your hygiene measures and let them know about any new procedures such as pre-booking or contactless payments.