Many small businesses have been hard hit by COVID-19. It’s not clear yet how long the pandemic will last, but when it passes, you’ll want to be ready for that much-awaited turn of the economic tide. Here are some actions you can take now to be prepared to reset and restart your business in the post-COVID world.
Review Customer Lists
Customer lists are invaluable for many businesses. They make repeat business possible, but only if they’re up-to-date. Make sure your lists have the business-critical information you need for each of your customers, including the customer’s name, address, mobile number and email address, and verify the accuracy of that information. Also eliminate duplicate records which could otherwise lead to duplicate marketing efforts on your part and impair your ability to service your customers effectively.
This might also be a good time to check in with your customers. Ask about their future needs and see if you can help them out in any way.
Connect With Suppliers
As you’re restarting operations, you’ll need suppliers that are ready, too. Check with your current vendors to determine their availability in the weeks and months ahead. Some may not reopen at the same time you do. Others may be unable to guarantee timely delivery of the products or services you require. Stay in touch and up-to-date while also preparing for supply chain contingencies. Reach out to new vendors, as primary suppliers may be unavailable.
Communicate With Employees
Make regular employee communications a priority during this difficult and uncertain time. Keep employees informed of company developments. Notify them of your plans to reopen or scale up operations as that time draws near, and when you expect to bring them back.
Identify effective ways to communicate with employees when they are working from home. You can keep the lines of communication open using email and the phone, and videoconferencing can provide valuable face-to-face time with your entire team and the opportunity for group discussion and Q&A. For those that are required to stay home, but cannot work from home, regular contact can help them to stay in touch and up to date with any developments and plans to reopen.
Reopening Your Building
As you prepare to reopen your building, develop a list of services that need to be completed by third parties, who may be restricted from accessing the site while property is shut down. Schedule services that need to be addressed once it is safe to do so.
Identify Opportunities To Protect Your Business
As you prepare to reopen your business, look for opportunities for new or revised controls that can help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the weeks ahead. For example, if you will be reopening to the public again, what protective measures for employees and customers will you need? And if you will be changing or expanding aspects of your business operations, for example, a restaurant’s increasing demand for a delivery option, consider risks associated with those expanding operations, for example, formal fleet safety practices to keep your employees safer on the road.
Take a Detailed Property Inventory
Now is a good time to review your business assets and make sure they are insured to their full replacement value. This essential step will help ensure that your commercial property policy is up to date should your property become damaged due to a covered loss, such as fire, theft or vandalism.
Your inventory should list all property your business relies upon to operate, such as land, buildings, equipment, furniture, fixtures, signage and specialty items that are unique to your operation. For each item, provide a description, its estimated value, the serial number and purchase date. While you’re at it, also assess your current inventory and how future inventory may be impacted by changes in supply chain.
These challenging times are testing small and large businesses around the globe. By preparing now for when operations pick back up, you can help your business remain viable and resilient.