PLAN-demic: How to Plan Your Business Comeback
No one has a crystal ball to see when businesses will start to open up again, but smart business owners and marketers are already planning for what lies ahead. If you wait until you get the go-ahead to open up to start to plan your business comeback, you may find all your competitors racing past you at the starting line.
As you make the shift from survival mode to comeback mode, take a look at these tips which we’ve pulled together to help you hit your mark, get set, and go.
1. Stay in Touch with Your Employees
No business thrives without a dedicated workforce who bring their skills and passion to the job every day. You have probably already been keeping your whole team up to date on your own company’s situation, and as you prepare for your comeback, you need to confirm your concern for them. Be transparent with all developments and let them know your plans as they come into shape.
2. Plan for Interaction with Your Customers
All brick-and-mortar businesses are likely to face new requirements when they reopen. While you definitely need to stay up to date on what your state, county, and city ask of you, you also need to make sure your employees are fully informed. Your staff may have to wear masks and gloves for a while, they may have to practice social distancing, and you may have other requirements you insist on for your customers’ health and safety. Put your expectations in writing to make sure everyone’s operating on the same page.
3. Get Your Finances in Order
If your business has been closed for a matter of weeks or even months, your balance sheet may not be in the best of health. Before you re-open, take a long, measured look at your financials to determine how to approach the new normal. You may need to apply for a business loan to pay bills that have been piling up or to replace inventory. You also need to estimate just how much business you expect to do immediately if, for example, you have to limit the number of customers who enter your establishment and you experience hitches in your cash flow. Working with your banker and your accountant can help you make wise decisions while you have time to consider all your options.
I asked John Hawkins from Grove, Mueller & Swank what the most important financial things were to consider for businesses looking to reopen, he simply stated, “Know how much cash you have to operate with right now and then forecast how much cash you need to operate smoothly for the next 2-3 months.” John stressed the importance of rolling out operations in a conservative manner. “Many businesses have received some form of federal or state funding to assist with paying employees, but it is essential to look at those dollars strategically and not burn through it if you do not need to.” Finally, John made a point of staying in close communication with your CPA or bank in order to stay up to date on any new loan programs or changes to loan regulations.
4. Plan to Remain Flexible
Even when your local governments okay opening up again, you may not want to leap feet first into the fray. Check with your insurance company for guidance, especially if customers or clients enter your workplace. Social distancing guidelines are likely to remain in effect in many locations, so you may want to allow staff to continue to work from home — a situation which requires a great deal of trust between employer and employee. If you can create contingency plans now, you will provide yourself with more options once it is time for your comeback.
We believe in the ability of our community to bounce back from tough times and to adapt to new environments, so we are optimistic about the future for our region. If you are ready to pivot and adapt as you begin your comeback, you should find your business in a position of leadership again.