Running a business from home requires commitment, passion, planning, and in the COVID-19 era – several additional precautions.
Whether you’re running your business online or conducting business in your home, here’s what you need to know about operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Inspect any new property before buying
If you’re expanding your business and buying a new home to accommodate your operational needs, don’t skip any steps in the home buying process. Remember that everything takes extra time right now. For example, get your home inspected during the buying process and make sure all systems are in working order. Sometimes construction crews and contractors make mistakes and some of those mistakes could cost you your business license if they go unnoticed.
If you catch any problems before your purchase goes through, the seller will have to fix those issues. You don’t want to be the one who has to fix any problems. Trying to fix a problem will prove challenging due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Even if you’re considered an ‘essential business,’ restrictions still apply
Depending on where you live, if there is another round of lockdowns or stay-at-home orders, your state may declare certain businesses ‘essential.’ These businesses will be allowed to operate while others will be forced to close down. If you’re deemed essential and allowed to operate, that doesn’t make you exempt from following restrictions imposed by the state or federal government.
For example, if you’re a chiropractor working out of your home, your business will probably be considered essential since it’s a form of medical care. Even though you’ll be allowed to continue seeing clients, you’ll need to follow current mandates for social distancing. This means you might need to schedule a buffer in-between appointments rather than allowing your next client to arrive early and wait inside your home.
If you’re not considered an essential business, you won’t be able to continue operating during a lockdown or under stay-at-home orders, so just be prepared to handle all possible scenarios.
- Consider starting a business that serves your community
You may have had plans to start a specific business, but take a moment to consider starting a business that will support your local community. For example, in Houston, Texas, restaurants are still only allowed to operate at a reduced capacity. This puts a heavier demand on curbside, takeout, and online ordering options.
Consider starting a business that would support your local restaurants and make the curbside pickup process easier and available to everyone. For instance, if you live in a small town, you could start a delivery service for vulnerable people and people without transportation so they can get fresh, hot meals delivered to their door.
See how you can fulfill the needs of your local community. You’ll probably end up doing more business this way than by starting a random business you’re not all that inspired by in the first place.
- Focus on lead generation even during lockdown
If your business gets shut down during another lockdown, continue your lead generation efforts and don’t stop nurturing your leads. If we end up in another lockdown, even if it lasts for a long time, it won’t last forever. People will still be using the internet and you can’t afford to stop your lead generation efforts.
The leads you collect during a lockdown will still be valuable when the lockdown is lifted and everyone is allowed to return to business as usual. Provided you spend time nurturing your leads, you won’t have to worry about losing potential customers just because you can’t operate your business.
- Reach out to other businesses
If your business is struggling, reach out to other businesses who also may be struggling to see if you can create a partnership to support each other. You might be able to combine services or work as a virtual partnership somehow.
For example, say you’re a local coffee shop and business is down because of low capacity requirements. There might be a donut shop experiencing the same thing. If you combine your businesses into one building, you’ll both have a much lower overhead and you’ll probably end up with more sales.
We’re all riding out the pandemic
Remember that no matter how challenging it is to start and run a business in the COVID-19 era, we’re all riding out the pandemic together. Things will take more time and business will be slow, but don’t give up on your dreams or your business goals.