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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 29 June 2020
  • Robin Sawyer

Short- and Long-Term Planning for Your Business During COVID-19

As small businesses continue to reopen and assess the effects of COVID-19 on daily operations, consider where yours fits into this new landscape. Whether you need to rethink your yearly revenue goal, make a pivot or just figure out how to make it through the next month, having a solid business plan can help you navigate the current economic terrain.

Identify your new needs and essential functions.
Your customers might want or need different things from you now than they did six months ago — and your needs may be different too.

  • Look for gaps in how your business in functioning right now. For example, if your business relies on suppliers, contact them to ensure they are still able to provide everything you need, and if they cannot, make a plan to find new or temporary suppliers.
  • Before bringing back employees, the CDC recommends that you assess which business operations are essential and which ones you can put on hold in the short term.
    Store owner hangs

Consider a PPP loan.
If you have employees who you need to rehire, a Paycheck Protection Program loan could be a good avenue to explore. These loans are available to small business owners who need help with things like covering rent and rehiring their employees but do not have the immediate funds to do so.

  • Assess whether this loan is right for your business. The loans come with restrictions that have been shifting constantly since the implementation of the program, so it is important that you evaluate where it will fit into the business.
  • Think about the spending changes you will have to make to repay the loan and whether you are able to work repayment into your business plan.

Continue to evolve your scheduling and leave policies.
Once you have your employees back, it is important that you are tuned in to their needs during what will likely be a difficult time returning to work. Follow CDC recommendations to give them flexibility through your policies.

  • Putting a plan in place along with these guidelines can be beneficial. It will help ensure that you are prepared in case your employees need to take leave.
  • Cross training your essential staff can alleviate this strain so that you will not need to worry about operations if certain employees cannot come to work.

Do not forget about social distancing.
It is still important to continue social distancing as both employees and customers come back to your business. You want patrons to feel safe when they show up to support you, and you want your employees to feel safe coming into work.

  • Hold honest discussions with your staff about what everyone feels comfortable with.
  • Try getting creative with how you bring social distancing into your business in ways that work for you.

Meet customer needs online.
With reduced occupancy and, possibly, broken supply chains, it can be beneficial to meet your customers where they already are.

  • Try going online. Selling some of your product from a website, running promotions on social media, or allowing people to shop online and pick up in-store are all ways you could pivot.
  • Be as visible as possible so that your business stands out from the crowd of others who have opened their doors again.

While reworking your business plan can feel like a lot to take on, remember that nothing has to be set in stone. Start by identifying steps you can take in the short term to reopen in phases, and let those goals lead you to develop a more robust long-term action plan to help ensure your business’s success over time. Keep in mind that you may need to rethink operations a few times over the coming months as things continue to change, and use that flexibility to your advantage. Along the way, remember that The UPS store will always be here to help you navigate these changes with services designed especially for small business owners.

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