Open or Closed? Business Ownership in the Time of COVID-19

Listen, there is no way to sugar coat this. As a business owner, the current crisis is the most difficult thing most of us have ever encountered in our entrepreneurial lives.

We are afraid for the future of our business.

We are afraid for the safety of our staff.

We are afraid for the safety of our loved ones.

We don’t know what to do.

I get it.

I see you.

I am you.

I own Journey Law and another business, which is an online thrift and vintage shop that I run with my daughter. I don’t know what my life will look like at the end of this mess, and I don’t know what both of my businesses will look like.

But here we are, so let’s triage what to do now.

If you are a non-essential business

In Ontario, the list of essential businesses has come out. If you are not essential, you must close at the end of the day today.

Carved out from the non-essential businesses is this:

If you are a “brick and mortar” only business, now is the time to consider if you should offer some services or products online.

Shopify is what I use for my online business, and it is very easy to get set up and there are a lot of supports for you to figure out how to get started.

You can also offer products through your social media accounts and ship them, deliver them or do a “porch pickup” at your own home.

I know that I personally am looking to support my local retailers in any way I can. This is the time for our local businesses to shine.

My friend, Karine Parthenais (aka Connexionista) is sharing a lot of information about how to pivot and showcase your brand and business. A quick strategy session with her may be the push you need. I think she might have been the brains behind my chips and salsa delivery from Mi Cocina this weekend.

If you are an essential business

You need to consider how you can operate in a way that ensures that your staff and customers are safe.

People are looking for business owners to set rules. This isn’t really your “job”, but this is where we are.

Look at doing appointment only shopping, limiting the number of people in the store, setting up flows for movement of people to limit contact, et cetera.

Talk to your team about what they need to feel safe coming to work.

This might also be a time to set aside our pride and work with our competition.

If there are two widget stores in one community, do they both need to be open for regular hours? Can the owners agree to rotate their opening hours?

Now is the time for creative solutions. It is NOT business as usual.

Our friends at Momentum Business Law have been offering a lot of tips for business owners on their Facebook page.

Whether you are essential or not, these times are bringing up issues that none of us thought we would ever have.

If you need legal advice, we can help. If you also just need to talk to another business owner, we can do that too. On the right of this blog post you will find a “start your journey” form – get started there if you need a consultation to see if we can help.

– Michele

One Comment On “Open or Closed? Business Ownership in the Time of COVID-19”

  1. As I am about to embark on my “for no reason at all” blog, I’m glad to see the medium being used for these kinds of messages.

    This is a crazy time and a lot of people are scared and unsure of what is around the corner.

    We are fortunate to have some great resources in our community and it makes my heart happy to see people going above and beyond in this time of uncertainty.

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