How to Make Social Distancing Work For Your Business
September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020
As of May 28, 2021, the Paycheck Protection Program has run out of funding. You can learn more about the PPP with our COVID-19 resource hub.
Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we do business. Implementing social distancing rules and ensuring any of your employees, customers, and other patrons are at least six feet apart is an absolute must to keep coronavirus from spreading.
But social distancing hasnâ€™t been easy for small businesses; many have had to change their business model to keep moving forward during these uncertain times, and with the potential of another coronavirus spike come the fall, many business owners are continuing to find ways to change their business marketing and practices to reach potential customers, sell their products or services, and drive revenueâ€”and to do it all safely.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can keep your team and customers safe and continue to grow your business during the pandemicâ€”no matter what kind of product or services youâ€™re providing.
Letâ€™s take a look at five strategies you can use to make social distancing work for your business:
The first way to make social distancing work for your business? Remove the need to socially distance from the equation.
Or, in other words, shift your operations from in-person, face-to-face interactions to the digital space.
There are so many ways to connect with your customers and grow your business onlineâ€”pandemic or not. Some digital strategies you can use to continue moving your business forward and driving revenue during these challenging times include:
While just about any business can move their operations online (at least partially), there are some that either want or need to continue operating in person. And for those businesses, shifting operations outdoors is a great way to adhere to the CDCâ€™s social distancing guidelines, keep your customers and team safe (current guidance suggests that COVID is less likely to spread outdoors), and continue moving your business forward.
So, what does moving your operations outside look like? It depends on your business. If you own a restaurant, you might move your tables outside (and six feet apart) so people can dine safely outdoors and offer curbside pickup so customers picking up takeout orders donâ€™t have to physically go inside your restaurant. If you own a clothing boutique, you could move your racks on the sidewalk outside your storefront customers can browse safely and with plenty of space.
The point is, implementing social distancing measures can be easier outdoors, when youâ€™re not confined to a small spaceâ€”so, if you can move your business operations outside, itâ€™s definitely something to consider.
If the only way you can work with your customers is to have them physically inside your place of business, itâ€™s extremely important to make sure thereâ€™s enough space for everyoneâ€”customers and employees alikeâ€”to safely social distance.
Scheduling customer appointments ahead of time gives you a level of control over the foot traffic in your business. So, instead of having customers stop by whenever they feel like it during business hours, you can use an online scheduling app like Calend.ly to schedule customer visits in 30-minute or one-hour time slots. Itâ€™s a win-win; your customers know that when they come to shop or engage with your business, theyâ€™re not going to have to deal with any crowdsâ€”and, as a business owner, you know that there will never be more customers at your business than youâ€™re comfortable with.
If youâ€™re conducting business in person, there are plenty of ways to socially distance. But keeping your distance gets tricky when itâ€™s time for your customers to pay; thereâ€™s really no way to grab someoneâ€™s credit card or cash payment from six feet away.
Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s so important to offer contactless payment options to your customers. Setting up self-checkouts or allowing your customers to pay using digital payment options (like PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay) is a great way to collect payment from your customers when theyâ€™re at your businessâ€”without having to get too close or make contact.
If social distancing makes it hard for your customers to come to you, why not bring your business to your customers?
There are so many ways to bring your products, services, and the experience of working with your business to your customersâ€”without them having to come to you or meet in-person. For example, you might take online orders from your customers and offer delivery services that bring those orders straight to their door. Or, if you decide to shift your business model towards e-commerce, you can offer fast and easy shipping (services like Shippo and ShippingEasy are great options for small businesses looking for affordable shipping options).
Thereâ€™s no denying that the coronavirus pandemicâ€”and the new normal weâ€™re living through as a result of COVID-19â€”has changed the way we do business. But even though social distancing is changing the business landscape, you can still connect with your customers and move your business forward; all it takes is a new approach. And with these strategies, you have everything you need to make social distancing work for your businessâ€”and keep things moving forward.
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