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Best Practices to Reopen Our Businesses

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Best Practices to Reopen Our Businesses
Whew, this is unbelievable! Who would have ever thought that 10 weeks ago we would be thinking of reopening our business after the pandemic shock we, as business owners and entrepreneurs, have experienced. Well, the time is here and now. What next, we ask? The idea of reopening under the new normal is somewhat of a shock to all of us and calls for a high level of readjustment. With the uncertainty in where this pandemic is leading us, we also wonder how to reinvigorate our businesses and the drastic changes that come with it. 

When we look at the best practices to reopen our businesses, we must consider not only the fear that the pandemic has caused our customers and employees, but also how to get around these feelings and progress to the new normalcy of growing our businesses. How do we do that?

For one, we must consider the safety and well-being of our customers and employees. There is news and information about social distancing, wearing masks, and maintaining cleanliness and safety in our homes and businesses. These deal with the personal health factors we need to manage well.

There are other factors involved in our businesses. We know that maintaining a clean and healthy business environment is important for our personal safety and those of our employees and customers. The big questions are: How do we run a business under these conditions? How do we reconnect with our existing customers and gain new customers? Planning and communication are key to a successful restart, and reconnecting is the key business factor. Not only with your existing customers, but also with your employees, your suppliers, and other stakeholders such as your landlords, tenants, and funders as well. Just as you connected with them at the start of the pandemic to seek forbearance of credit terms up and down the supply chain, as well as taking advantage of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, we must look at regaining their confidence that we are back in business full-time. We can take advantage of what we learned on how we maintained or connections by using the Internet during the lockdown. This takes the form of telecommuting, relying on services such as take-out and delivery, shipping services, etc. The possibilities are great. 

For one, look at how social media has played a major role in our connectivity. Increasing your presence on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can add value to your presence by enhancing existing connections, and connecting with new customers through special offerings can increase the attraction to existing and potential customers. These social media connections seem obvious and should work well in the post-pandemic world. Also, look at enhancing your website with new offerings and personalized to the target audience you are seeking. Because of the power of technology these days, there is a guarantee that a Google search or a scroll through Facebook can contribute to making the people in your network feel a sense of security. But let’s not forget the traditional ways we have connected before that people consider the established normal that we are all seeking to get back into in some way. 

We’re curious what tips you have for reopening your business! Have you grown on social media lately? Did you allocate more money toward SEO and advertising? Reach out to us and let us know how you are using your presence to regain trust during this phase. It might result in another marketing opportunity for you and your small business! To reach out to us, please call at (412) 396-1633 or email us at duqsbdc@duq.edu. 

The Duquesne University SBDC provides free business consulting for entrepreneurs in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Click here to request free consulting, or contact the SBDC for additional help and information. 

Douglas Harding brings over 35 years of managing international business development activities for various multinational heavy industrial manufacturing companies, including a new venture within PPG Industries. Having traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, Douglas has a deep intuitive understanding of business interactions in diverse cultural settings and has been able to bridge the culture gap to lead new business activities in many international industrial markets.
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Doug Harding
Business Consultant

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