COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, has disrupted almost every facet of operations for small businesses throughout the United States, one reason being because of the mandatory quarantine and lockdowns put in place by government authorities. As of 2018, small businesses employed 58.9 million people in America, making up 47.5% of the employment in the United States.
The mandatory quarantine and lockdown orders limit the amount of business that can be done, thus affecting company revenues and subjecting small businesses to significant adversity. Many of these businesses have adjusted to statewide regulations by adapting a roadside approach to their operations.
However, some have not been able to adopt this approach, such as dine-in restaurants whose takeout revenues are only a minor portion of their total income, forcing them to close temporarily and remain uncertain about the appropriate time to reopen.
As of July
A majority of regions in New York State have moved into either Phase 3 or Phase 4 of reopening efforts. This means that businesses excluding movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, and shopping malls, are able to operate under the regulations set in place by the State. However, re-attracting customers is a challenge for many small businesses, as individuals are still uneasy due to COVID-19.
Below, we've outlined tips from the US Chamber of Commerce on how small businesses can re-attract customers during this time.
Tip 1: Establish plans and contingencies for maintaining safety in the workplace
routinely sanitize throughout hours of operation
create pathways to avoid unnecessary contact between customers and staff
limit number of customers in store at any given time
Tip 2: Communicate reopening across multiple channels
routinely update information about operating hours and policies
have this information posted on the storefront as well as online (Yelp, Google, social media, etc.)
Tip 3: Be flexible to customer needs and priorities
be open to suggestions
try different ways of operating, such as incorporating curbside pickup, and assess whether it is efficient
make hand sanitizer stations readily available for use if customers inquire
Tip 4: Embrace new technologies to support safety plans
limit the amount of physical cash being tendered by incorporating virtual payment forms, such as paying online before pickup and Apple Pay
allow customers to make appointments and ask questions about products through online interfaces
Tip 5: Set the right tone by being compassionate during this time of adjustment
set aside certain times for seniors and immunocompromised persons
be kind, polite, and helpful to customers
For more information on Reopening New York State: https://forward.ny.gov
For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses: https://www.mainstreet.org/blogs/national-main-street-center/2020/04/09/new-report-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-small-busines