Summer Seasonal Businesses: How to Open Productively During COVID-19

The warmth and excitement of the summer months offer increased outdoor foot traffic, tourism, and spending habits that make many of its seasonal businesses profitable. However, with most customers staying indoors this season, it can be intimidating to open your doors– even detrimental, if not done well.

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Luckily, there are several steps you can take to ensure you’re opening your business productively during the coronavirus. Whether you’re a food truck or hotel owner, fishing guide, or landscaper, here are some tips for you to enter the 2020 summer season successfully.

Train staff on safety precautions

The majority of Americans understand that masks, social distancing, plexiglass, and regular hand washing are the keys to avoiding coronavirus spread. However, there are other precautions and more in-depth information that your staff should understand in order to create the safest environment for your business.

The World Health Organization has provided free training sessions that you’re encouraged to have staff view before coming to work. The CDC has also provided information for business owners to educate themselves on how to prepare their businesses and protect employees’ health. The extra time spent training will help you be sure that before you open your doors, you, your staff, and your business are ready for a healthy and safe season.

Communicate with customers

Once you’ve dedicated the time and money to ensure your staff is being safe, communicate that to your customers. In these times of uncertainty, the more information you can provide about what you’re doing to keep everyone safe will help customers trust your services. This will not only differentiate you from competitors and draw in more traffic, but it will also create a long-lasting customer-first brand message that will likely make your customers loyal in the years to come.

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Minimize in-person customer interaction

Although it can be harder for certain industries than others, it’s important for both your customers’ safety and that of your staff to minimize close interaction as much as possible. If you’re in food service, you can use an online ordering system and contactless pickup. Or, if you’re a hotel manager, you could set up plexiglass at your front desk with a small window for payment.

If you’re a tour guide, consider increasing the number of groups but decreasing their size so you can stay socially distant while still providing a valuable and more intimate experience for customers. Get creative so you can be safe while still successful.

Manage your cash flow

It’s important for all businesses to stick to a business budget, but this is especially true for seasonal businesses that have so little time to make up their annual revenue. Before opening, clarify your financial standing and inventory, as well as how much revenue you expect to bring in, to ensure you can manage your cash flow once you open.

Maintain a conservative budget throughout the entire season and utilize small business mobile banking so you can view your finances quickly and adjust your budget accordingly. It’s important to be able to keep a pulse on your money so you can better understand your business’s foot traffic and sales this year compared to last year’s.

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