• June 1, 2020

BBB: Tips for businesses during COVID-19 - Odessa American: BBB Column

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BBB: Tips for businesses during COVID-19

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Posted: Sunday, April 5, 2020 6:00 am

In this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, small businesses are wondering what they should do. Many organizations and government agencies are already moving quickly to provide economic relief. For example, the Small Business Administration is allowing small business owners to apply for low-interest loans as part of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Texas workers whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 can visit the Texas Workforce Commission to learn what benefits they are eligible for.

According to Brookings, small businesses are more vulnerable to economic downturns due to their higher credit constraints and greater sensitivity to consumer demands. Brookings also states that local businesses dependent on social interaction and foot traffic will be uniquely impacted by COVID-19. Better Business Bureau is compiling resources to help guide small business owners through this unprecedented time, including a Trust in Trying Times Report. Use these tips from your BBB as you navigate your business’ next steps:

For customer relations

Connect with customers. Communicate with your customers how your business is adapting to the changing situation while serving their needs. What are you doing to increase sanitation measures? How will you be handling and notifying customers about any temporary closures?

Use technology. Internet, apps and other technology can help cut down on face-to-face interactions, allowing you to continue meeting clients remotely and letting employees work from home. Utilize available tools to keep your business running from a distance. If your hours have changed, you’re no longer accepting walk-in traffic, or you’ve made some other change, update your online and social media accounts to say so.

For employee relations

Establish expectations. Talk with employees and HR to discuss what the expectations of working from home are. If your employees cannot work from home, discuss how you will communicate with them when they can resume working, and how their pay will be impacted.

Educate employees. For employees working from home, warn them of the potential for scams that may target them. This could include phishing scams or tech support scams.

For business relations

Maintain a positive reputation. Refrain from taking advantage of, or doing anything that appears to take advantage of, the outbreak. Maintain your prices and services, unless you are changing them to assist or benefit your clients and community.

Be transparent. Be honest with your customers about your timelines and product availability. Communicate with vendors and clients and set realistic expectations if delivery or service is impacted by the evolving situation.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is stay informed. Visit these websites for BBB’s resources:

Other helpful resources can be found at these websites:

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