As winter creeps closer, daily COVID-19 case numbers continue to climb higher. This week alone the United States hat hit record highs of over 100,000 COVID-19 cases per day. At the beginning of lockdown consumer spending fell 30% from pre-pandemic levels. Small businesses have been able to recover some of their lost revenue from the spring lockdown, but overall consumer spending is still down 5%. It may not be until next spring or summer that we begin to return to pre-COVID metrics. Compared to the initial drop, a 5% decrease in consumer spending does not sound bad, but this translates to billions of dollars that small businesses across the nation are missing out on. COVID-19 will continue to affect businesses and business owners across the nation for the foreseeable future.
A new administration and a promising vaccine from Pfizer indicate that some relief could be on the horizon. While we are looking forward to the future, we still have to gear up for a safe & successful holiday spending season. Shopping will be different this year no doubt, but families still want to purchase gifts for their loved ones. How can you cope with such a fluid situation?
My Legal Valet has compiled a helpful checklist of items and ideas business owners can utilize as they adjust to this “new normal”.
Personal Protective Equipment
Most of us have become accustomed to wearing our masks and asking our patrons to do the same. But what do you do when someone arrives at your door without a mask? Turning them away can cost your business the revenue it needs to stay afloat. On the other hand, asking a patron to pull their shirt collar over their nose is a solution that does not fully protect your employees or other patrons from aerosol droplets indoors. Instead, consider offering disposable masks to your customers to bring them indoors safely! Plan ahead, and make sure that you have enough cleaning supplies and PPE to keep your business running through flu season.
Enforcing and Assigning “Safety Tasks”
COVID-19 restrictions and the necessary extra cleanings may be daunting or cumbersome (especially after 8 months of extra paperwork!). To mitigate stress, consider assigning the role of “social distancing coordinator” or “COVID task manager” to specific employees on an as-needed basis. If you haven’t already, consider creating an extra task sheet for your COVID-specific cleanings and assign one person to preside over this job. Providing organization and an efficient standard work are key to successfully complying with changing restrictions and government mandates.
Global supply chains have stabilized in the last few months since the initial lock downs. However, this homeostasis may not be maintained for much longer. It’s important to evaluate and address any issues in your supply chain and the emergency preparedness plans of your suppliers. For example, if you’re ordering premium third-wave coffee from Guatemala, you want to know what their COVID cases are like, their nation’s response, and neighboring countries that your beans will have to travel through. You want to consider contingency plans and alternative suppliers to ensure you have always have a fresh roast or full shelves to offer your customers.
Make the most of online tools
Online orders, curbside pick-up, and third-party delivery drivers have become a staple in 2020. These features will only grow in popularity as the temperatures drop. Holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and consumers will be looking to spend more than they have all spring and summer. To drive customer engagement, consider offering online exclusive deals, or invest into revamping your website. If you’re unsure where to start, My Legal Valet offers business consultations and other add-on services that can help you make sense of your marketing plans and have a prosperous holiday season.
It’s time to get creative! There are plenty of ways cost-effective ways to improve your employee’s morale and get them excited to be back at work. Consider adding a “spirit week” to your business. Employees and customers alike can dress up in different themes for fun activities and small prizes. Start a corny joke competition and see who can come up with the funniest joke! Most importantly, give your employees the kindness and understanding we all need in this ever-evolving and challenging climate.