Boost the Reopening Plan for Your Missouri Business with 3 Pro ‘Hacks’David Cawthon
There’s likely one word you as a small business owner or entrepreneur keep reading over and over: reopening. But how do you reopen your Missouri business the right way while coronavirus is still a concern?
We’ve got you covered with three hacks, tips and tricks to help you protect your employees (while addressing their concerns), as well as reassure customers that your business is safe and that you’re taking the necessary precautions to look out for their health and wellness to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If you want more resources related to COVID-19 (finances and funding; legal tips; leadership advice; and much, much more), head over to our regularly updated Business Resources page for the latest help for your business.
1. Have a plan
Before you execute anything, make sure you craft a plan to make sure that you’re not only following the guidelines set by your city or county and your insurance company, but also that you’re making sure that your employees and customers are safe.
Consider these questions when crafting your plan:
What are your city and/or county guidelines?
How will you follow those city and/or county guidelines?
How will you limit the number of customers in your business?
How will you promote social distancing?
What will interactions with staff and customers look like?
What’s your mask policy for workers and customers?
What needs to be sanitized and how often?
Will you continue curbside delivery, home delivery or takeout, or shift to something else?
This plan will serve you well when you open your doors to customers. Believe us: They’ll notice the measures you’re taking and that might mean all the difference with their decision to return or not. No, things won’t be normal by any stretch, but your employees and customers will thank you for everything you’re doing.
PRO TIP: Remember that this isn’t all doom and gloom. Create a funny sign to encourage customers to wear masks, wait in their cars or whatever measure you’re trying to enforce. Not only will it be memorable, but we could all use a laugh right now.
Scroll down to the Reopen, Return, Recovery section on our site and get some ideas, like a guide for retailers from Target. (There’s some good stuff in there that any business can use.)
2. Train employees
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to begin the internal phase of executing that strategy. Train your employees on the proper procedures and make sure they know how they’ll interact with customers, as well as what’s expected with cleaning and check-in procedures.
For example, employees may need to wear masks at all times, especially when preparing food, interacting with customers, etc., and they need to be mindful and work to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others during their shift.
Having PPE (personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, etc.) handy for employees isn’t enough. You must also show them the correct way to use the equipment, like fitting the mask snugly around their nose and mouth and ensuring that if gloves are used, that they’re discarded at regular intervals. Although gloves offer protection, they can also spread disease from one surface to another. Just because PPE is worn, doesn’t mean that it’s safe if the proper procedures aren’t followed.
Also, it’s important that employees know that this isn’t business as usual and that the plan you’ve put in place is for the safety of everyone. An additional part of your strategy going forward might include requiring employees to check their temperature at the beginning of every shift and go through the CDC’s list of common symptoms of COVID-19. And make sure your employees know the symptoms and the facts about how the disease spreads because, remember, some people who are infected won’t show symptoms, so the best practice to prevent the spread is to follow the guidelines.
You can access that as well as tips to protect yourself and what to do if you are sick at the CDC coronavirus site.
PRO TIP: The more ideas, the merrier. Ask your employees for new ways to make the workplace safer for them and for customers. Scroll to the Health and Safety section on our resources site for ways to prevent illness, reduce exposure and more.
3. Communicate with customers
Now that you’ve done all this work to ensure your Missouri small business is safe for your employees and customers, it’s time to show everyone what you’re doing. See, this is a PRIME marketing opportunity that you’ve already laid out. Now, leverage that and go a step further: Document some of your customer-facing safety procedures on social media and show your patrons (and potential patrons) the measures your staff is taking to make your big reopen a success that’s safe for everyone.
Share photos of your staff cleaning the facility or customers receiving your product or service from your employees who are wearing PPE. Tell your customers in a fun way on social media what your mask policy is so when they arrive, they can be ready and have a great time. (It would be a shame to turn away customers who weren’t aware of your guidelines.)
PRO TIP: You know those webinars everyone is having? Why not use the power of video to your advantage right now and host a virtual event? Customers are likely on their computers more than ever (and honestly, they’re probably looking for a diversion).
Why not use this opportunity to increase your reach and inform your customers (new and potential) about your business and what it’s doing to combat the spread. Need ideas? Scroll to the Doing Business Online Section for templates, more marketing ideas and virtual event tips.