It’s official — ALL 50 states are at least partially reopening as of this week.
If your sales took a dive because people were basically in lockdown, this is a big deal. If you were forced to close or had to somehow pivot operations to continue operating, this is a big deal.
Almost every business in America has been affected by you-know-what. That includes your competitors.
So, starting now, as the country reopens:
Your next few steps are going to hugely impact the long-term strength, success and rebound-ability of your business. It’s make-it or break-it time.
It’s so huge that I knew I had to sit down and talk to you about it, so I made this video.
Truly, I am invested in your future and I hope you’ll be one of the businesses that thrive.
To help, I’ve collected several reopening resources, ideas, examples and advice, such as:
- Official resources that provide best practices for reopening
- Documented examples of other businesses reopening
- How one of America’s largest companies (McDonald’s) plans on recouping lost sales
- What we’ve done here at PostcardMania to help staff feel safe so they can stop worrying and stick to producing
- A collection of reopening Q&As with real PostcardMania clients and prospects
- A very special offer to help ensure your business is one that thrives rather than simply survives this pandemic
So, where to start?
As local governments begin allowing businesses to reopen, it’s time for small business owners to get smart and serious about their own reopenings.
If you aren’t sure where to even start when it comes to developing your reopening plan, here are a few helpful links to various guidelines and resources:
- Review the CDC’s guidelines for workplace coronavirus safety
- Watch reopening webinar series hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Review the employer portion of the White House and CDC guidelines for reopening
If you’re the type that learns best by seeing real examples, we have you covered. A number of businesses have already begun to reopen across the country, so we’re going to be collecting those examples and adding them to this page.
Here are a few real reopening snapshots from around the country:
- This cosmetic dentist is scheduling patients Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while dedicating Tuesday and Thursdays behind-the-scenes activity to ensure staff and operations stay safe and healthy.
- iFresh market in Chinatown (NYC) is scanning the temperatures of incoming customers using a digital temperature scanner.
- Some airlines and businesses will start providing passengers and customers with masks. Others are asking customers to kindly wear masks and respect social distancing.
- One retailer in NYC who owns a boutique clothing store plans to only allow 3 people into her stop at a time, and plans to put the common lounge areas — like the sofas that many customers lounge on while friends try on clothes — will be put in storage.
- A manufacturer in Minnesota is partitioning spaces in his warehouse and creating one-way traffic pathways to ensure workers are social distanced at all times.
- Architects and office planners are reporting that they are nearly sold out of Plexiglas and other plastic and cloth office dividers to keep office workers separated and safe. There’s even a 3-month backlog on orders!
- Many businesses in which people gather in groups are opening at a limited capacity in order to ensure safe social distancing practices.
We believe it’s going to take some serious creativity and marketing to bounce back effectively while making people feel safe, so we started looking around to find some.
Wondering how some of America’s biggest businesses plan on recouping the sales they lost to coronavirus?
McDonald’s has a simple one — increase the marketing! They announced last week they’ll be spending about a month’s worth of marketing budget to boost sales.
McDonald’s says the move is part of a 3-part, $1 billion plan called “accelerating recovery through investment in our system.” Their experts say that this marketing boost will accelerate recovery and drive sales.
McDonald’s released full details of the plan and a video from their CEO here.
I’m elated to say that PostcardMania has already recovered our new incoming leads and sales figures — we’re already back in a normal range. Just check out these graphs:
Please know: I’m not saying this to brag.
I want to be transparent and explain exactly what we did to get our leads back up into a normal, pre-pandemic range. In fact, I wrote about it in-depth in a recent blog post about our rebounding sales.
At PostcardMania, we’ve taken these precautions to ensure staff feel safe enough to return to work:
- We installed in-duct air purifiers that reduce airborne particulates (dust, dander, pollen, etc.) and kill up to 99% of bacteria, mold and viruses
- We ordered a ton of face masks for staff who want to wear them
- We’ve purchased lots of cleaning/disinfecting items and made them easily accessible to all staff
- We’re doing regular cleanings/disinfections and deeper cleanings on weekends
- We will continue to allow those who can work from home do so until they feel 100% safe
Ultimately, it’s your decision what precautions if any you will take when you reopen. If you do elect to take certain precautions, be sure to document them to protect you and your business in the unfortunate event that a staff member or customer becomes sick. If you’re concerned about possible legal action, speak to a lawyer about protecting your business and be sure to closely review your insurance agreements.
And don’t forget —
It’s vital that you promote your reopening heavily to your customers, prospects and social media followers to ensure that you actually have customers when you reopen. We suggest:
- Sending reopening emails to your entire list multiple times a week
- Announcing your reopening multiple times on all social media channels
- Sending announcement postcards to your list so you can reach people at home
- Asking friends, followers and your list to help spread the word
We can help with your reopening promotion — in fact, we’re running specials to ensure your campaign is as affordable as possible.
The CEO of my other company, DirectMail2.0 – Brad Kugler recently surveyed business owners on his Facebook page, asking this:
“Honest question for any restaurant managers and owners out there; Operating at the max of 25% capacity will be more or less costly than remaining closed? Will your landlords allow you to pay 25% of rent? Yes, a step in the right direction but wondering if more harm than good on the risk-reward scale…”
Here’s a response from Omar Hamid, the owner of 9th Bar Coffee, a café in a Dunedin, FL, a small beach-town suburb of Tampa Bay.
“We’ve had to get creative. But we’ve been fine. There will be a bit of natural selection. The strong will survive. We have had zero seating anywhere and we have had to constantly kick people off the property for lingering. Now we got outdoor seating and 25% indoor. The bigger question is will people even be willing to occupy a restaurant at 25%. I think they’ve gotten used to take out and it’s going to be a while till people want to be close to others.”
Seeing this post inspired me to ask YOU what your reopening plans were.
So, I asked — how are PostcardMania clients and prospects like you coping with the pandemic?
At the end of April, we surveyed PostcardMania’s clients and prospects to ask a few simple questions with regards to coronavirus and COVID-19:
Are you opening?
Have you been open the whole time?
What industry are you in?
What are your plans?
We received a number of responses from you, and they span the entire spectrum. Here’s a quick breakdown of the responses:
- 70% said they never closed
- of those that never closed, 29% said business had been affected
- 30% said that they had been forced to close — and every single business that has closed conveyed that they have some form of a plan to reopen in the works
- 2% of you told me you’re working on a marketing strategy, such as postcards, website development or social media updates
One thing was abundantly clear though:
You are a resilient and overwhelmingly positive bunch of business owners!
Nothing could possibly demonstrate this more perfectly than featuring your responses in your own words. Again —
These are real business owners and their real replies. We haven’t changed anything other than fixing up a typo or grammar mistake here or there (understandable given the strain most business owners are under!).
Here’s a Montessori preschool that remained open for the children of essential workers. The best part is they’re already seeing an influx in the number of enrollments for the month of May.
Are you opening? Yes
Have you been open the whole time? Yes
What industry are you in? School/Education – Montessori Pre School
What are your plans? Month of March, I just had 9 kids in the school, but I wanted to stay open, for the kids, the parents and also for my business. I knew if I close, it would be real difficult to get back and running again. Most parents were very gracious, I recommended if they were not attending if they could at least make a payment of 1/3rd of what their tuition was, it would help me keep the business going. They did, and every bit helped.
I was sending emails with updates, sending homework and photos to the children at home. I kept up my Facebook page so the parents knew all was well with the school and that it wasn’t really that bad in our neck of the woods.
The attendance is still low, but it is much better for the month of May. All throughout we kept in code with what the CDC recommended.
This business services business has been hustling! Not only did they stay open the entire time, but they’ve also been focusing on upping their marketing to further increase new leads and sales.
Are you opening? Been open the whole time
Have you been open the whole time? Yes
What industry are you in? Confidential business sales, acquisitions and valuations
What are your plans? A postcard campaign in line with state opening and we’ve been recording and soon-to-launch podcast series for buyers and then one for sellers
This Ohio Realtor has seen business slowdown somewhat — but is already planning her rebound with a coordinated campaign that includes targeted direct mail and coordinated online ads.
Are you opening? Yes (essential in Ohio)
Have you been open the whole time? Yes (things have slowed down)
What industry are you in? Realtors
What are your plans? Our plan is to keep checking in on our clients and make sure they are OK. We are hoping financial issues will not lead to foreclosures. While people may not be working, they have also saved money by not driving as much, not having occasions to blow money (birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings), and certainly less eating out. So, there are positives. Many people are able to work from home. We are hoping for a quick recovery and are ready for an influx of business when it comes.
I have special postcards ordered without typical pushy real estate ads. They are clever and I am betting they will bring us some new business. I have targeted sellers in my best areas.
Good economies sell homes, but so do bad ones. That is why Realtors are essential. When life changes, people may need to move.
A Special Offer Exclusively for You:
We’re heartened by these moves and hope to see our economy and life get back to normal sooner rather than later!
So much so that we’re offering something special to every single one of you:
“We’re Back Open!” postcard campaigns with big savings.
Let your customers know that you’re back open the second you’re ready to open the door.
It’s simple — if you order and print postcards now, all you have to do is call us up when you’re ready to open and we will mail them out for you and optimize delivery for your opening date.
We will hold your cards until you’re ready to mail!
Prepare your business for growth the moment quarantines end — and beat your competition!
Here’s how it works:
- Choose your design
- We customize it announcing you’re back open
- We print your full-color glossy postcards and store them for you
- The moment your business is open again, let us know to mail your postcards!
We are here to help you however we can.
If you need any help resurging your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800-628-1804. Our marketing consultants are trained to advise you on how to get your business back on the rails during this difficult time.
Or, you can always email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published as part of our complete Small Business Owner’s COVID Survival Guide.