The coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has made regular social life difficult for people all around the world, and business owners have had to take on some of the most difficult challenges. Many state and local governments have put restrictions in place aimed at lessening the impact of the virus, and in some cases these have forced businesses to close at least temporarily. But maybe you really want to keep your business open and make sure you can keep paying your bills. There are ways to do this while still keeping you and your customers safe.
Consider Safety Measures For Your Store
Some states have required the stores of what they deem nonessential businesses to close, but if your business is permitted to keep the store open there are things you can do there. You may need to consider limiting the occupancy of it to a limited number of customers at a time. You may also want to require them to wear face masks and gloves if they’ll be doing business in close quarters, and perhaps even have markers for where they can stand while checking out. Other steps could include the following:
- Constantly sanitizing your store with disinfectant spray
- Having protective shields at the register
- Limiting store hours
These measures certainly limit sales and the profits you might otherwise make, but they do allow you to stay open.
Consider Seeking Financial Assistance
It may take a little while for some areas of the country to get back to normal while others may open up more quickly. But the government and financial institutions understand that this is temporary and that businesses do need financial relief in the meantime. For those reasons, the government has come out with loan packages in addition to the recent bill that was passed in order to help businesses get through this phase.
Depending on the requirements your business meets, these loans can be forgivable if you are in a prolonged period of hardship and need additional time to repay them. They also come with very low or no interest rates. In addition to government loans, there are other options for small business loans offered by private lenders that you may be able to qualify for and may help your business.
Consider Changing Your Business Model Or Adapting It If Possible
COVID-19 can affect how you do business in more ways than one. If you aren’t able to keep a physical store open and meet safety guidelines, you should look at online and delivery options. You might also consider offering curbside pickup for your products where customers don’t even have to leave their vehicles to receive them. Basically, there are other ways to stay in business even without doing it in-store.
Be Empathetic Towards Employees If You Have To Furlough Or Lay Off
Probably the most painful decisions any business owner has to make are when they have to cut working hours or even lay off employees. The best way to try and avoid painful cuts is to let employees know ahead of time that business has been slow and that the possibility of hour reductions, pay cuts and layoffs exists.
Let them know that you will do everything in your power to prevent that from happening because you value their work. One other way you can help them is to treat laying them off like a furlough and re-hire them as soon as business picks back up. But always use a gentle hand when making these decisions.
In conclusion, COVID-19 is a serious matter and mitigation does have to be implemented, especially in the workplace. But if you’re willing to adapt and make sacrifices in your business, you can get through it and perhaps find new ideas that can grow your business even stronger in the future.
Interesting related article: “What is the coronavirus?“