As a business owner, you know that running your own company can be unpredictable at times. Unexpected shutdowns can occur for various reasons, whether due to inclement weather, power outages, or even global pandemics. And as they can catch you by surprise, it is important to have a plan so you can keep things running as smoothly as possible.
In this guide, we’ll explore some key strategies and best practices for navigating unexpected shutdowns so you can stay prepared and keep your business thriving no matter what comes your way.
What to Do When a Business is Shut Down by the Government
It can be a confusing and stressful time for businesses when they are forced to close. But you must stay in control.
First, stay calm and collected. Difficult, right? While your initial thought is to panic, you must remember that this shutdown is likely to be temporary. So, keep a positive mind and focus on making your next steps.
Next, reach out to your employees and let them know what is happening. They must be kept in the loop so they can be prepared for the temporary shutdown. Be sure to communicate any changes in pay or benefits during this time.
Finally, don’t forget to contact your customers to let them know about the shutdown. Many customers will be understanding and willing to work with you during this difficult time.
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Taking Advantage of Government Assistance
There are many different types of government assistance that your business can take advantage of during uncertain times. For example, employee retention credit has emerged as a critical measure for businesses to retain their employees during unprecedented times.
This credit is designed to provide financial support to employers who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and are struggling to keep their workforce together. This has helped many businesses keep their heads above water.
Other government assistance programs may also be available to help your business weather the storm, including:
- The Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll;
- The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. This provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million that can be used to cover operating expenses that cannot be met due to the disaster;
- The SBA Express Bridge Loans, which allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly; and
- The SBA Debt Relief program, which provides relief for existing SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and Microloans.
Communicate With Customers
Without customers, your business is unable to go from strength to strength. So, when you are forced to close your doors, you must keep them in the loop.
Here are a few tips for communicating with customers during an unforeseen shutdown:
This is the easiest way to reach all of your customers at once. In the announcement, let them know why you’re shutting down, how long you expect to be closed, and what steps you’ll take to protect their health and safety upon their return.
2. Put up a sign on your door or window.
If you have a physical location, put up a sign letting customers know that you’re closed and why. This is especially important if you don’t have an online presence.
3. Give customer service instructions.
If you have a customer service team, make sure they’re prepared to answer questions about your closure. They must be aware of the information they need to share, as well as how they should handle any complaints or concerns.
If you have an online presence, make sure your website and social media platforms are updated with the latest information about your closure. This will help customers easily find the latest news about your business.
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Create a Plan for Reopening
When we have finally come out on the other side, you need to create a plan for reopening. Here are a few things to consider:
- When will you reopen? Make sure to check local and state guidelines before making a decision.
- What changes will you need to make to your business in order to comply with new safety guidelines? This could include anything from installing hand sanitizer stations to reconfiguring your space to allow for social distancing.
- How will you communicate your reopening plans to employees and customers? It’s important to be clear and concise in your messaging.
- What challenges do you anticipate during the reopening process? Make a list of any potential issues that may arise and think of ways to combat them before they become a more significant issue.
Navigating unforeseen shutdowns can be a difficult and stressful process for business owners. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you should be able to navigate the situation efficiently and successfully.
From understanding your legal rights to procedure planning and communication strategies, being prepared is key when it comes to navigating unforeseen shutdowns as a business owner.