2020 was a troubling year for economies and businesses around the world. For the first time, business owners were forced to face the concept of temporarily shutting down all business for the sake of health and safety on a worldwide scale. If you want your business to survive temporary shutdowns, you will need to know how to come out of one swinging, ready to serve your target market. Here are five tips from serial entrepreneur Jason Kulpa that can help you accomplish that goal:
1. Re-Hire Your Team
One of the most challenging actions you will take when you shut down your company is letting your team go. You spent a lot of time and money putting the band together, but you can’t afford to keep them on with operations halted. You need to let them go.
That means the first step to re-opening your business is to re-hire your team. Contact them and see who is still available to work for you. Be prepared to replace those who have moved on, as even the most loyal employees will seek greener pastures when bills start piling up. If you shut down your business due to a country-wide or global catastrophe, see what government support structures are there to help you get your employees back in their seats.
2. Take a Look at Your Business Model
Most business models, quite sensibly, assume that your business will not experience some form of an extended shutdown. They do not account for restarting the company, recapturing an audience, or being absent from the market if/when it shifts. That means the business model you had when you temporarily shuttered the company may not be relevant when opening it up again.
Before you re-launch the business, take a look at your business model. See whether or not it remains viable, and if not, what you need to survive until you can complete a pivot. Do not hesitate to overhaul the entire company if you deem it necessary.
3. Think About Your Vendors and Customers
So you have found the opportunity and means to reopen your business. That is excellent news, but unfortunately, the rest of the world may not have caught up to your good fortune. Your vendors and customers may not be in a position to support your company for one reason or another. For example, some vendors may have shut down or not be able to open yet, while swathes of your consumer base may remain unemployed and unwilling to purchase what they used to.
When you reopen your business, take a look at who is re-entering the market with you. Suppose your current target market remains in the lurch. In that case, you may want to consider pivoting to a different market, or more drastically, delaying your return until your target market is ready to come back with you. If your current supply structure remains in shambles, consider opening up new relations with other vendors or manufacturers so you can get the ball rolling. It may seem cold, but those are the kinds of decisions you need to make to successfully reopen your business.
4. Look for Help
Even in the best of situations, reopening a business will not be easy. No company is meant to be shuttered for any amount of time, and even a brief pause in operations can send a successful company tumbling down. Do your research before you restart your company. Take a look at any and all programs aimed at helping a company get back on its feet. Don’t focus on country-wide programs either. Your local community may have programs in place, such as rent forgiveness for businesses, so see if you can avail of that help.
5. Trim the Fat
One of the best mindsets to adapt when reopening your business is to consider it a startup or entrepreneurial endeavor. You need a trim and efficient business; something entirely focused on sales. That will let you get back on your feet faster and will be better for the company in the long run.
Before reopening those doors, take a look at your company and see what parts you can cut out. You do not need to be too harsh though, as cutting out too many parts can limit the amount of revenue you can generate. However, do not hesitate to eliminate entire product lines, for instance, if you deem them ultimately unnecessary.
Whether it is due to a recession or a global pandemic, reopening a business is challenging. However, it is far from impossible. You just need to approach the situation from the right angle.
About Jason Kulpa:
Jason Kulpa is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of UE.co, San Diego’s Fastest Growing Business multi-year award winner, and a Certified Great Place to Work multi-year winner. Mr. Kulpa is a San Diego’s two-time winner of the Most Admired CEO Award of the San Diego Business Journal and also a semi-finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award. Under Mr. Kulpa’s leadership, in 2018, his teams volunteered at over 24 events and worked side-by-side to improve the San Diego community. They hosted a gala dinner benefiting individuals with autism, cheered on Special Olympic athletes as they broke their records on the track, and brought school supplies and cold-weather gear to students impacted by homelessness. Jason’s mission is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion for special needs causes.