We have been in a long-standing battle with COVID-19 as an economy. With many counties and states cautiously lifting lockdown restrictions on businesses, the real question remains, “Are your customers ready to start doing business with you?”

As business owners and stakeholders, there is an urgent need to plan business operations keeping COVID-19 safety measures in place for a long time. To proceed as if COVID-19 isn’t going to change how consumers behave is doing a disservice to your own business. Now is the time to be strategic.

We are all making certain assumptions based on the limited consumer behavior data we have seen over the past 2.5 months, such as customers are excited to return to normalcy or that shopping priorities will resume back to pre-COVID time. However, the truth is that the behavior has already altered.

In research conducted by Magid, an LA-based Market Research firm, they published key data pointing towards post-COVID consumer behavior predictions:

Customers won’t dine out in the next 6 months    43%

Customers won’t attend a sporting event in the next 6 months    66%

Customers won’t return to their gyms   36%


However, as astonishing as some of those numbers may be, here is a keynote to consider. The money these consumers are saving could ultimately contribute to their purchasing power elsewhere.  Therefore, SMBs can position themselves for a better economic future by preparing a revenue recovery runway, to help support those new revenue streams and goals of consumers.

Adjust Product Offerings to Accommodate

If you have a storefront, assess your environment and identify opportunities that may cause hesitation and reluctance from your customers for a prolonged period. Work through those opportunities and find solutions that will lend to the safety of your customers as well as employees.

Many restaurant businesses are showing great adaptation to the current reality and making services such as “grab and go,” family packs for food, curbside pick-up, home deliveries, etc.

Plan Activation and Consumer Acquisition Events

Businesses have adapted to restrictions with curbside pickups, drive-thru, and delivery businesses. It’s imperative to strategically plan business models that work with your county or state guidelines. As you shift, put time and effort into informing your customers of these changes.

Magid research showed that customers are not sure which business to trust when it comes to post-pandemic gatherings, etc. There is too much uncertainty and they are relying on local news platforms to inform them. Therefore, it is an optimal time to partner with local news to inform customers and also at the same time acquire new customers crucial to your success.

As compared to last year, our own research shows that Southern California News Group’s online audience for May 2020 was up 45% in page views and up 73% in unique visitors as readers continue to dial into coronavirus related news.  With an online audience reaching over 17 million unique visitors each month and paid circulation to over 450,000 each Sunday, this is a great platform for local businesses to capture new customers as well as to conduct brand awareness campaigns.

Communicate With Your Employees

Your employees are your first customers. Along with providing adequate personal protective equipment for each employee, businesses must familiarize employees with new technologies, policies, and CDC guidelines.

Establishing a seamless flow of communication and creating a workflow that can be replicated and followed easily will ensure smooth business conduct. As this may be new and unfamiliar terrain for your business, your employees are also maneuvering through these changes with you. Therefore, it is crucial to clarify new roles and responsibilities and retrain all employees on new policies and procedures throughout the company.

Utilize Technology to Aid Businesses Wherever Possible

We are in the most innovative time of the century with technological advancements taking place rapidly.

This is a great time to invest in technology that relieves pressure on business, especially as we find ourselves with less staff. Note that investing in good technology is good but not necessary. Assess the needs of your business and ask yourself,  “What would I like to be automated or assisted by technology? Is it Sales? Customer relationship? Business Processes?” and start researching for your industry. The right technology can not only sustain but GROW your business, especially during uncertain times.

Businesses must always look into the areas that really impact their customer and business relationship, and work actively to transform and provide smooth and exciting experiences. As businesses move into the reopening phase, they need to be open to trying new things, not afraid of failing, and ready to pivot until they can figure out a system that works best for them and their customers.