The COVID-19 pandemic shook local businesses to their core. Now, as the economy gradually re-opens, small business owners are wondering how they can protect their employees, customers and themselves going forward. From safety tips for brick-and-mortar businesses to protecting your bottom line, Almost Magical Marketing shows how small business owners can prepare for a safe and profitable 2021.
How Can Small Businesses Reopen Safely?
Even after restrictions are lifted, businesses should continue following enhanced health and safety protocol including:
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces in accordance with CDC guidelines. Even with a majority of customers fully vaccinated, the public at large still expects the extra care spent on cleanliness.
- Limiting occupancy for both customers and employees; for employees that may mean having some work remotely. Managing hybrid teams has its challenges, but adopting a remote-first, results-based culture keeps everyone on the same page.
- Investing in contactless upgrades like digital menus, touchless payment, and motion-activated restroom fixtures.
- Businesses can find additional industry-specific guidance at The Hartford, including specific advice for restaurants, photo studios, hair salons, and manufacturing facilities.
Recovering Financially From the COVID-19 Pandemic
Enhanced safety measures aren’t the only way small businesses will look different in 2021. Companies are also cutting costs and adapting business models as they work towards recovery.
- This starts with reviewing financial statements to assess the damage incurred during 2020. Then, rework the budget using financial forecasting to establish a realistic recovery timeline.
- Do you need to reduce expenses in 2021? Better Business Bureau notes that outsourcing, reducing travel, and shifting towards digital marketing are three ways companies are cutting costs. Going green is another strategy; turn off equipment and lights when they’re not in use, and install dimmers and smart thermostats to cut down on energy costs.
- Infusions of liquid capital will also prove necessary for many businesses in 2021. Several COVID-19 relief programs remain open. Businesses can also apply for SBA loans and small business grants.
- Operating in the black again means increasing sales, which means marketing never really stops. Almost Magical Marketing blogs that “digital advertising is one of the best ways to reach prospects outside of your immediate sphere of influence.” That said, it’s time to revisit your social media presence and your website, and look into other avenues such as Google ads.
Protecting Your Business in a Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic led many small business owners to reevaluate their risk profile. What can you do to protect your business from liability in the wake of the pandemic?
- Businesses that follow public health guidance are largely shielded from coronavirus-related lawsuits. However, specific business protections vary by state. Research the laws in your state to understand your rights and responsibilities.
- Did your insurance provider deny your business interruption claim during the pandemic? While most business interruption policies don’t cover contagious diseases, there are other types of coverage that protect businesses from similar events.
- The pandemic also served as a wake-up call to sole proprietorships and partnerships as they faced the prospect of full liability for business losses. If you haven’t already formed an LLC for your business, don’t delay. LLCs, which are popular in Nevada mainly because of tax benefits, offer liability protection of your personal assets and avoid the double taxation of a corporation. An online formation service like ZenBusiness is a convenient and affordable resource, walking you through and completing the process quickly.
We’re on our way out of the pandemic, so ride the tide of success as more and more businesses open. Take these tips to heart and apply as many as needed. Not only can you come out of this tricky season in one piece, you can do so profitably, setting you up for a bright future.
Contributor: Amy Collett – BizWell.org
Almost Magical Marketing builds systems that deliver exactly what you need, so that you’re not overspending and bleeding your business. From branding and consulting to website creation and lead generation, we’d like to work with you! firstname.lastname@example.org