How to reopen your small business successfully after lockdown

How to reopen your small business successfully after lockdown

The time has come for many small business owners, (or will in May) to reopen those doors once again! Your clients and customers are hopefully flocking to rectify their lockdown haircut or to savour that first pint at the pub.

Here are our tips for those early days in getting up and running to make sure everything goes without a hitch over the next few weeks.

How to protect employees at work

Your employees, some of whom may be feeling a bit nervous about returning to work will need to feel adequately protected, so you'll need to have systems in place to keep them safe, healthy and enthusiastic.

Given that you don’t want staff turning up to work with Covid-19 symptoms, you may want to introduce a more flexible sickness policy or extending the existing policy to all staff, part-time and hourly workers included.

Communicating with your staff is really important - as is training. Talk to your staff and let them know about changes and keep checking in with them to make sure they’re happy. Make them feel that any concerns are easy to air.

Hopefully you will have worked out your contingency plan for when a staff member comes down with Covid-19 – you’ll need guidance for staff on how they should report it so you can alert staff members who may need to quarantine and what criteria need to be met for employees to come back to work.

How to protect your customers

Now we know that most people are desperate to get back to the hairdressers, the gym, and the pub, but it’s still important that you have a plan and your customers know what to expect when they visit. Is it bookings only? Are you accepting walk-ins? Are you serving a different menu? Does everyone need to wear a mask? How are you doing track and trace? You get the gist.

If you’re a busy restaurant or café you may decide you need a dedicated staff member looking after customers as they arrive.

Keep your clients and customers in the know

Are you continuing to communicate regularly with your customers following your reopening? You should let them know what has changed and what they should expect from their next visit. Also remind them whether you’re continuing to do takeaway or delivery and pickup options.

Keep investing in your digital, delivery and collection services

Covid-19 has left a lasting impact on small businesses. If you pivoted to offering products and services via delivery, collection or online, consider whether you will keep these services in place as your business reopens.

Business may continue to be reduced for some time as you operate at a reduced capacity. Continuing to offer collection or delivery services can give you a second stream of revenue to boost takings whilst your “brick and mortar” revenue recovers.

Reaching out to other small businesses in your area to team up in offering some special offers/package deals is another great way of encouraging people to return.

Continuing to invest in your website and social media would be a wise move right now. If we’ve learnt anything in the last 12 months it must be that digital is key.

Ensure your staff rota is up to the job

If you’re staggering appointments or table bookings or have different opening hours from usual, you’ll need to ensure your rota is set up to roster staff accordingly. Depending on staff numbers you may want to set up staff bubbles, who you roster together, to limit the amount of interaction between them.

An online rota tool can help keep staff planning a breeze, helping you do your rotas in minutes leaving you to do all the other important stuff to make your reopening a great success. Check out our tips on how to grow your business with rota management software.

Good luck everyone!