The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way businesses operate – if they’re able to operate at all. As many states lift stay-at-home orders and consumers begin reentering their semi-normal lives, businesses have to prepare for a reopening.
While resuming business as usual sounds like a dream right now, it’s important to be realistic: It’s going to present its own set of challenges. Consumers will likely be more cautious, many states have released ordinances where people can’t leave home without face masks, and businesses are going to be under scrutiny over their cleanliness and disinfecting practices.
So, how can you prepare to reopen your business and what do you need to do? Here are three major things to start thinking about now.
1. Create a 30/60/90-Day Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan was likely strongly impacted by COVID-19 and the surrounding events, and you probably had to pivot, put on hold, or maybe even halt it altogether. Now that we’re talking about reopening, it’s important to create an adjusted marketing plan that accounts for the evolving situation we’re all in. A 30/60/90-day plan is a perfect solution. Outline what’s going to be important right now, a month from now, and up to three months from now so you can have some flexibility in your plan. Make sure to include how you’re going to communicate to customers and any deals or promotions you’ll be offering.
We put together a short guide that walks through just how to do this and what’s going to be important to include in each plan. Plus, it includes a free template to help you start planning. Download it here.
2. Establish New Business Operations & Get Your Team Onboard
Consumers are now used to seeing what businesses are doing to keep employees and customers safe. If your business doesn’t have a protocol around this in place, now’s the time to create one. Think about where and how often you’ll disinfect if you have a storefront, what personal protective equipment you’ll provide to team members, and more – following CDC guidelines.
The next step here is going to be ensuring that your staff is trained and adhering to these guidelines at all times. You can have the best-outlined plan in the world, but if your people aren’t following it to the letter, you can put your customers, your team, and your business at risk. Make sure they understand the importance of the plan, get their buy-in, and create a way to keep each other accountable.
3. Communicate What You’re Doing to Customers
Establishing open and transparent lines of communication with your customers is going to be key. Make sure they know what you and your team are doing to keep everyone safe, what services you’re offering (are you still offering curbside pick-up or delivery as well as in-store shopping now?), and how they can support your business as we enter this time of reopening.
This is also a great time to ask your most loyal customers what they’d like to see from you, where they most enjoy getting communications from you, and when they think they’ll be comfortable to do business with you again. This can help you with your planning and show them that you care.
Now, more than ever, it’s going to be important to stay attuned to what consumers want and need. The first priority is safety – for your team, your customers, and your business – but this can be an exciting time to return to supporting our favorite local businesses.