COVID-19

A Post First-Wave Planner for Small Businesses

3. Communications

  • Communicate with customers, suppliers and government recovery officials at the local, regional and state levels to identify potential challenges associated with reopening your business.
  • Set up an alert notification system so you can communicate to employees, stakeholders and clients via a variety of channels as you resume operations.
  • Contact employees and let them know the status of your business and their return to work. If you have a lot of employees, use a phone/texting tree (managers call their direct reports) to get the word out. If you don’t have a communication tree, put one in place so you are ready in the future to communicate quickly and efficiently with employees and don’t have to do all the calling/texting yourself.
  • Establish a policy and procedure for dealing with employees who may show signs of infection. Make sure public health officials and family members are notified if an employee becomes ill and cannot return to work during a quarantine period.
  • Establish an easily accessible database of information about the company that key employees can access in case of another disruption. This should include company background information, critical documents, key contacts, passwords and other information necessary to keep the business operating during and after a crisis.
  • Set up a Private Group on Facebook and ask employees to request to join the group so you can keep them up-to-date throughout the recovery process.
  • Ensure stakeholders know where to look for the most recent updates about your business. Social media is an excellent tool for keeping these audiences informed.
  • Provide regular updates about how your business is recovering and how things are returning to normal. Keep in mind that there may be a second wave in the future. Prepare your stakeholders and employees for that eventuality.
  • Share all information in an honest, timely and consistent manner.
  • If you have relationships with local reporters, provide them with an update about your business. Resist the temptation, however, to send out a broadcast “we’re open for business again” press release. The media is already inundated with these.
  • Improve your plan as needed and regularly update the information. Make sure you are compassionate and empathetic as possible in your communications. While things may be returning to normal for you, others are still in crisis or various stages of recovery and grief.

Resources:

Tech giants like Google, Zoom and Microsoft have been providing limited-time access to conferencing and collaboration tools for business.

Founder Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed accelerator, introduced free webinars that encourage the continuation of education while practicing social distancing.

Facebook announced during the initial wave they would offer $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits to small businesses. See what the status of this and other programs are as you prepare to open again.

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