The pandemic has shut many doors of small businesses across the United States. In fact, around 35 percent of small businesses that operated before the onset of COVID-19 are still closed a year later, and about three percent of these SMEs will ever reopen.
But with the current decrease of the number of positive cases around LA County, one can only hope to reopen their doors to abandoned patrons. And when the time comes, it’s best to be prepared.
Learn how small businesses can successfully reopen—and reopen strong—after the pandemic.
Create a Safe Work Environment
Although the pandemic may have already died down at this time, it’s still important to prioritize everyone’s safety. The last thing you want is to witness another reinfection within the workplace only as it’s beginning to get back to normal again.
President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan suggests that small businesses may soon have to mandate employee vaccines. Before anything else, business owners should be able to explain why they require vaccinations before returning to work. Enforcing paid time offs to get jabbed is also a great way to encourage this policy.
Prepping the workplace
Businesses should ensure topmost safety within the workplace. This may include propping hand sanitizers in conspicuous places, considering open-office designs, or enforcing employee capacity policies.
The past year has changed how small businesses operate. You see digital transformations—brick-and-mortar stores offering delivery and retailers transitioning to e-commerce. Small businesses have thrived today through these new strategies, which is why there is a need to carry them onto the post-COVID era.
These digital strategies are some of the most common, effective approaches that SMEs can apply in their future business operations:
- Ecommerce: Online retail purchases are expected to skyrocket from 14.1 to 22 percent in 2023. Retailers should hop on this trend if they want to edge out of the competition.
- Remote work: More than ever, small businesses have embraced remote work and have reported increased productivity levels. If it has worked for SMEs, then there’s no reason to get rid of this setup post-pandemic.
- Cybersecurity: With the rise of remote work comes a myriad of IT vulnerabilities for businesses. SMEs must strengthen their IT infrastructure as they bring back their operations in the future.
Reinvent Your Branding with Custom Packaging
Branding and marketing go hand in hand. With many businesses planning to reopen their doors in the future, every business owner should step up their game to beat competitors to it. This means reviewing and revamping their business goals and overall branding, and one way of doing so is by recreating the product packaging.
Now that online shopping and deliveries are on the rise, there’s also an increasing need to focus on the product packaging.
Getting custom packaging for your small business is a smart move as it personalizes the buyer’s journey. Simply plastering the brand logo to the box or wrapper can instantly make a product look professional and trustworthy.
It also pays to rethink the material used for packaging. For example, millennials are more likely to purchase from eco-conscious brands, so using paper or carton packaging would be most effective.
Seek Government Support
A lot of small businesses throughout LA County have continued to experience financial struggles since the pandemic started. Good thing there are government grants and assistance programs they can avail to ease this burden.
Some of these government grants include the Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, which helps Californian businesses to overcome economic damage brought by the COVID-19 health crisis. There is even an LA County Free PPE program for all small businesses and non-profit organizations in the area.
Communicate the Change
Of course, SME owners need to let their loyal and potential customers know about the reopening and the changes that they can expect. Businesses need all the support to get back on track and come back with a bang.
More importantly, they need to communicate the change with their employees. Whether or not these are returning employees or new ones, everyone on board should be aware of new processes or business goals from the get-go.
Focus on Employee Growth
Unemployment rates soared when the health crisis hit. Plus, those who are fortunate enough to regain their employment with the same company have experienced a dreadful plateau in their career growth.
To come back strong, SME owners should be able to address this by providing opportunities for employees to strengthen their current skillset. Investing in employee career growth will benefit the individual and the entire company in the long run.
The Future is Bright for SMEs
While many small businesses are expected never to recover again, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel for some. The key is to exhaust all available resources, embrace new processes, and strengthen employee and customer relationships even more.