Many businesses were forced to close shop temporarily or permanently at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the shelter-at-home rules and the prospect of bankruptcy if they remained open. Not a few restaurants folded up, which were landmarks of their community. They’ve laid off their long-time workers and focused on volunteering during the shutdown.
The good news is that the health industry seems to understand the virus better now, and we have a clearer picture of how people could be infected. Shutdowns have been lifted in many areas, and businesses have been allowed to operate once more. If you are considering reopening your small business, you can start by looking at these things:
Do you still have enough funds?
Before you do anything else, this should be your first question. Do you have access to capital and buffer resources that you would need to revive your operations? Once you reopen, you will be creating an expectation among your customers. If your products and services were in demand before, chances are that you’ll quickly regain customers.
You should have enough capital to run your small business until you actually “earn” (net profit) because you can’t just decide to re-close shop when money is low. The Small Business Administration released a list of funding and loan options for businesses affected by the coronavirus shelter-at-home regulations.
Do you still have employees on your payroll?
If closure was temporary for your business, you might still have a handful of employees on standby, just waiting for you to reopen. Once you’re ready to prepare your business for reopening, meet with them and present a concrete plan. Your plan should include health and safety measures for your employees, social distancing guidelines, and other regulations that would fit the “new normal” way of doing things under the pandemic.
If you don’t have employees currently, determine how many you need to prepare your business for reopening and how many more to add once you’ve opened. Create a hiring plan. Hiring your former employees is recommended so that you don’t have to train them. If you need to hire new workers, you can get a third-party recruitment agency to take care of shortlisting qualified candidates.
Depending on the nature and location of your business, you may get immigrant applicants, too. To make sure that they or you won’t get in trouble with authorities, work with an immigration attorney to ensure their proper documentation.
Is your previous supply chain still manageable?
You need to adopt a different mindset now. Logistics was a lot easier before the pandemic because you had an efficient supply chain in place. The problem with those suppliers is that they’re expensive. Back then, you had no problem because you were earning enough to hire them. You had a profit to show.
But now, things have changed. The shutdowns and shelter-at-home regulations resulted in negative returns, so hiring the same suppliers may no longer be plausible. Find new companies you can trust based on the essential attributes you’re looking for in suppliers: accurate, efficient, timely, affordable, honest, easy to work with.
With enough capital, trusted employees, and suppliers, you can look forward to reopening your business successfully. Expect to face a different challenge in this new phase of your life as an employer. But with foresight, courage, and proactiveness, you can get your business back on track in no time.