Back to business
Whether you’re a corporate executive or entrepreneur, almost all businesses were impacted by the covid-19 epidemic that swept across the United States in 2020.
Unless your industry is healthcare, grocery/essential retail or online shipping, it is very likely that your business slowed significantly during the first half of the year. In some cases, local or state governments mandated business closures and other guidelines that restricted your operations. In other cases, customers and clients simply opted out, choosing instead to stay in the relative safety of their homes.
There are some businesses that won’t make it through this crisis, but yours is not one of them. So now is the time to do everything you can to (re)jumpstart your business and return to (the new) normal. Here are some critical first steps.
- Start with your employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a smaller business with four team members or if you’re overseeing a corporate staff of hundreds. Employees are the core of your business. Your staff wants to know what you are doing to help ensure their safety once operations resume. Will there be additional sanitation? What about ongoing use of social distancing and personal protective equipment? Developing and sharing your plan with your team—and allowing them to contribute to that plan—will increase your team’s confidence in you. This will reduce the likelihood that they will leave your organization, which often happens during times of uncertainty. Communicate often, provide support and flexibility and good employees can be your best brand ambassadors.
- Keep staff and customers safe. Until there’s a vaccine, experts say there will likely be a level of coronavirus in the community. This means it’s critical to have a solid plan for keeping employees and customers safe. Turn to resources like the CDC’s guidelines for businesses and workplaces, which offers information regarding ongoing cleaning and disinfection as well as staff safety. Incorporate the appropriate measures in your workplace and be sure to frequently communicate these efforts to employees, customers and other stakeholders.
- Communicate (and promote) to customers. Your clients and customers are just people, with all the concerns shared by many of us. So as it relates to your business, their priorities likely include their health/safety and your ability to meet their business needs, in that order. If your business interacts with customers onsite, be sure to communicate your commitment to ongoing safety practices before they arrive. Be proactive in letting them know that you’re open for business and that you have a well-defined plan to minimize health risks. You may want to include additional promotional information to help encourage a return to pre-COVID customer volumes. Some customers may need a bit of an incentive to resume business activity as soon as you would like.
- Understand how government programs impact your business. COVID-19 has had a wide sweeping impact on companies across the country. From changes in Workers Compensation, to increases in unemployment and the CARES Act, state and federal agencies have made changes that may impact you as an employer and/or business owner. Be sure to do your homework on how these changes may impact your business.
- Stay current regarding COVID-19. You’re already an expert in your business. Now is the time to become well-versed regarding coronavirus and its potential impact on our community. There will surely be ongoing developments for next few years, hopefully to include the development of a vaccine. These developments may directly affect your employees, your customers and your business—not to mention your family. Be sure you are knowledgeable about this worldwide health crisis.
Whatever this new normal is, you’ll want to successfully navigate it to keep your business and your career on track.