How is Owning a Business Going to be Different After COVID-19?

Owning a business will be quite different as the economy reopens.  Employees and customers will be required to practice social distancing.  Employees should don a facemask and gloves when possible.  Furthermore, a protective shield should be positioned between cashiers and customers to prevent the transmission of the virus.  These are just a couple of examples of how business owners will have to adjust in the aftermath of COVID-19’s first wave.

Embrace the Shift Toward Digital Business

Business owners who have not yet opened an online store should consider doing so as soon as possible.  It is quite possible a second wave of the virus will move through the United States and beyond, discouraging customers from patronizing local businesses.

Some people will avoid traditional brick-and-mortar businesses even if a second wave does not emerge simply because they fear contracting the virus as the first wave lessens.  Business owners who invest the time and capital necessary to create an online store will enjoy a considerable uptick in business.

Employee Training is a Must

Businesses with employees who prioritize personal safety as well as customer safety will be more attractive to potential customers.  This is not to say every single public-facing employee has to wear a facemask and gloves at all times.  However, employees should be trained to practice social distancing, maintaining at least six feet of space between fellow employees and customers.  Businesses with open floor plans should pivot toward cubicles in which it is possible to social distance with tall cubicle barriers between employees.

Furthermore, employees should be trained to get into the habit of avoiding touching their face to mitigate the spread of the virus.  It will also help to encourage employees who interact with the public throughout the day to wear a face covering and gloves as such protection makes customers more comfortable inside the establishment.  Finally, employees should be trained to wash their hands with regularity.  Those who touch money and interact with the public should use hand sanitizer throughout their shift if it is not practical to repeatedly wash one’s hands.

Ongoing Employee Health Monitoring

The last thing a business owner needs during the return to work is an employee contracting the virus and spreading it to his or her fellow co-workers.  Every business owner needs a plan to monitor employee health.  Take some time to think about how you would handle an instance in which an employee tests positive for coronavirus.  Protocols must be in place to manage and isolate employees who test positive so he or she does not transmit the virus to co-workers and customers.  Above all, encourage employees to remain at home if they feel ill.

Additional Funding Might be Necessary to Keep Your Business Afloat

Savvy business owners understand it is better to take on debt in order to keep the doors open rather than go out of business.  Unless your business had an abundance of cash-on-hand prior to the coronavirus outbreak, you will likely need government financing or a loan to kick-start your business.

Business loans and microloans are available through the SBA.  Short-term financing is also available through Economic Injury Disaster Loans.  However, funding is limited so be sure to request it as soon as possible.  As a last resort, consider adding a business partner to infuse capital into your enterprise.  If necessary, rely on a business credit card or line of credit to keep your company operating during this challenging time.

The Elmore County Economic Development Authority is on Your Side

It is the goal of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority (ECEDA) and our partners to help Elmore County businesses reopen successfully. Our website provides up to date resources to ensure our businesses can prepare and safely reopen while protecting their employees and customers. As we move forward in the weeks ahead, ECEDA and our partners will continue to assist our businesses in interpreting the provisions of May 21, 2020, amended Safer At Home Order and any new orders released, so that Elmore County businesses can operate in a compliant manner. For more information contact the Elmore County Economic Development Authority by calling (334) 472-8504, emailing, or filling out our online contact form.