The COVID-19 outbreak struck the entire world, leaving a considerable impact. Everyone, from the white-collar people to the street vendors, was affected adversely, not depending upon the different lifestyles they used to have. This article is a guide to understand various problems which may be faced, & various questions on how to reopen your small business safely after Covid-19.
However, the worst hit were the small businesses. The rich had their resources to back them up, and the very poor had the government’s support. For the middle class owning the majority of small businesses in India, the Covid-19 proved to be a very traumatic event.
What happened has already happened, and it cannot be undone. So let us shift our focus towards working out the possible solutions to the problem that is in front of us and making the best of the resources which have with us.
Let us first start by looking at the problems that you may face while trying to reopen your business:
Loss of Inventory: Due to shutdowns for months, you may have faced a lot of damage to your inventory.
Textiles may be damaged by rodents, restaurants affected by insects, electronics damaged due to not being maintained properly, stocks becoming outdated, and the list goes on.
Loss of Customers: There was a shutdown of shops due to lockdowns, but your customers still needed the services which you used to provide. As a result, those customers shifted towards safer and more reliable alternatives for their needs.
For example, people who used to search in different shops to find a new dress, now they browse various websites and get their dresses delivered at home. The same situation applies to the sale of other products such as electronics, hardware, etc.
Loss of staff: Most of the support staff in the small businesses are daily-wage workers or very low salaried employees.
As a result of the lockdowns, most businesses were forced to release their support staff. These people, who were left jobless, have found other sources of income, and now they may or may not want to come back to their previous jobs.
Steps to Reopen your Business
In order to successfully reopen your business after the lockdown, it will be a great idea to start with a step-by-step strategy. This will help you to save time and make the best of the situations out there. Let us look at these steps one by one:
1. Regulations from Local Authorities
The outbreak was not evenly spread in every state and in every city, and hence the relief from the lockdowns is also not the same.
The states where there is still a significant number of Covid-19 cases are not allowing for every shop to be open, whereas, in places where there is an excellent relief from new Covid-19 cases, the authorities have relieved the restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen themselves gradually.
Getting accurate information about what are the current orders from your local authority can be a tough task as these types of news are prone to rumours. It is suggested to rely on verified sources only. You may refer to the local authority’s website to find accurate information.
2. Assessing the Damage
Go to your business place and assess the damage. If you have a shop, see how much stock has defected and which things you need to manage before reopening.
If you have an office, take a look at furniture, documents and other resources.
3. Reaching Out to Your Staff
As discussed earlier, your employees and support staff may have left the job and found other income sources. You need to reach out to them and find their replacements if required.
Also, you may need to set different working hours for different staff if you have a lot of people working for you. This is to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
4. Measures against COVID-19
Even when you are reopening, there is still a risk for the spread of the virus. To avoid this from happening, you need to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines.
If you have a shop,
- Place sanitizer dispensers at the entrance to ensure that everyone entering your shop is not carrying the virus.
- Also, ensure social distancing by allowing only a limited number of customers at any time.
If you have an office,
- Make sure that it is properly sanitized, and the visitors sanitize their hands before entering.
- Also, prevent entry without a face mask.
- Always use temperature measuring equipment to ensure that the person entering is not suffering from Covid-19 or other infectious diseases.
- Having a limited number of staff in your business place can also be a good idea if you can manage to work at alternate hours.
Post-covid situations need special consideration regarding both the front-end and back-end operations in a business. These include regulations from local authorities, inventory renewal, staff management, and adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.
What will be your starting point when you reopen your business? Kindly let us know in the comments below.
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