Last week our blog offered tips on opening your small business after the Covid-19 shutdown. It’s a big subject to tackle, so this week we’re revisiting the topic.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is set to move into Phase 3 of reopening today. In somewhat of a surprise, given past decisions, Northern Virginia is starting Phase 3 at the same time as the rest of the state. This means a lot of small businesses will be reopening or expanding their operations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers a lot of helpful information for small business owners in this unprecedented situation:
Be ready to adapt to any obstacles
- Anticipate and prepare for challenges. No matter how prepared you are, you may find that some elements of reopening your business are more difficult than you expected. You may need to change directions quickly and make swift decisions to overcome obstacles.
- Check in with your employees. During your first few weeks of operating “normally” again, frequently chat with your staff and see how they’re feeling. See if there’s anything you can do to make their jobs easier or give them greater peace of mind about their health and safety.
- Know that you won’t get it perfect on day one. Mistakes may happen as you execute your reopening plan, and that’s OK. If something goes wrong, quickly acknowledge the situation and let employees and customers know how you’re making it right.
- Create formal and informal processes for getting feedback. Listening to your employees, customers, vendors and partners during this time is critical for your future success. Have one-on-one conversations, share polls on social media and send out anonymous surveys via email to encourage your stakeholders to share their thoughts.
- Analyze your sales data, customer behavior and ROI. Your numbers likely won’t bounce back right away, especially if you’ve changed your product or service offering. Keep an eye on your business analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not.
- Gauge the overall community response. Pay attention to what customers are saying about you (and your competitors) as everyone adjusts to your industry’s operational changes. Take customer suggestions seriously and always acknowledge anyone who mentions your business directly.
Respond and pivot your strategy accordingly
- Make adjustments based on the feedback you receive. Your employees and customers may be feeling apprehensive and nervous right now, so it’s more important than ever to meet their needs. Do what you can to adjust your operations in response to stakeholder feedback.
- Communicate evolving changes in a timely, transparent manner. Let people know what’s happening and why. If appropriate, give credit to the employee or customer who inspired the change so your audience knows you’re listening to them.
- Continue mapping out your road back to normal. Normalcy is not going to happen overnight. In fact, “normal” for you moving forward may look very different from what it looked like pre-pandemic. Your journey back to the volume of customers you had before may take time, but all your business can do is keep learning, growing and evolving as new information becomes available.
Moving into Phase 3 and greater reopening can be a challenge for small businesses. We hope these tips from the U.S Chamber of Commerce help. If you need advice with any of your processes or procedures, reach out to us here at VersaTel Solutions, we are happy to help.