New SCORE checklist helps businesses prepare to reopen

Sunday Chronicle interview by Michael D Bates

Three months after the coronavirus pandemic pretty much shut down the economy, Citrus County is starting to reopen. 

Retaurants, retail stores, salons and other businesses are emerging into a new/old world and each entity has its own special ways to handle getting back in the swing while still protecting the health of customers and employees.

"We're seeing some of the tourist-related industry and some of the restaurant industry beginning to open up and that's a good thing but they need to (open) in a careful, appropriate and safe process" says Jim Green, workshop Chairman for Nature Coast, FL SCORE.

Realizing that, SCORE has released a reopenning checklist to help small-business owners determine what customers expect, how to talk with employees about it and put supply chains in place to keep the business running smoothly after the doors reopen.

"But there is not a one size fits all approach for small business owners because they are all in a different place right now" Green said.  "It's not enough to turn the key and resume business as before.  That's the reason for the checklist" he said. "It allows each business sector to look at their own situation and use the tool that will work for them".

For example, restauranteurs might think the way to attract customers initially is to offer discounts but a report from the North Central Florida District of SCORE showed most patrons aren't as interested in discounts as they are for a safe, clean and welcoming environment.  The SCORE checklist helps you take federal, state and local health authority guidelines as well as your store's finnances into account when making you business decisions.

Here are some factors a smal business owner needs to consider in making its reopening plan.  How your business model may need to change to stay competitive:

  • What types of sales are needed to break even and when can you expect to be profitable again
  • Where to access the financing you may need to retrofit or adapt your business
  • How to maintain a safe environment for everyone who enters your store
  • Any accomodations your employees may need to return to work
  • How to make shoppers feel comfortable coming into the store
  • How to market your reopening to build awareness and demand

For example, retail businness ownders will have to assess their current situration and determine both short and long term solutions.  Would it make sense to shift to online selling at first?  Maybe offering specials or gift cards is the way to go for now.  In other words, how can you adapt your normal operations to keep you business going?

For more information, please see below and/or call us at 352.249.1236

Retail Store checklist, click here Retail Checklist

Restaurant checklist, click here Restaurant Checklist