Masks are the new "no smoking" for small businesses


Main Street Small Business

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Message from Chris Brogan

The whole situation of quarantine and COVID-19 has impacted small businesses even more than large ones because it's not like someone has huge cash reserves so you can deal with the shutdown for months at a time. And now, as different areas go into different versions of the reopening, we are seeing signs that it may not be going as well as we wanted it to. This post is on what to do with the whole mask wearing situation. As such, you might view it as a political problem, but I am a businessman. This is income.

Masks are a feature of income and branding

At this point, if you open your business and have an anti-mask position, you inform your customers and prospects of what you think of their public safety. It goes further. If you run a business with multiple employees, everyone must be on the same wavelength with this. Example: I went to my local gas station and the pump was not accepting payment (handy during a pandemic), so I had to go back. Each local customer wore a mask, and like magic – they wore their mask correctly.

The employees, however, were a mixed bag. Three people were wearing their mask just to the right. Two wore chin straps. This gives me the impression that these people, who were responsible for restocking the shelves, were free to breathe everywhere the items I thought I would pick up while getting my gas. Curiously, I just paid for the fuel. Could you blame me?

Your income comes out every time your employee "just can't handle it".

The training is only part of the picture

Look, you can order your employees to comply, but we both know that when the day is long, people will do what they want. It cannot be a facet of your future operations. The cleaning and resetting of business premises between a certain number of customers will become (more or less, it is already written) rules of the trade route. Places like restaurants and grocery stores have already set up their systems. And unfortunately, you can see them being ignored on each visit.

It has to be part of the culture. It has to be like smoking in the late 80s. Just before that time, smoking was a reasonably optional thing in restaurants and offices and in all kinds of places. And then, as laws and social norms took over, that changed. Masks and cleaning protocols are new non-smokers.

Nobody wants more rules (but you want money, right?)

Again. It is not a political statement. This is a statement of income. You lose money if people don't trust you. You lose confidence if you post the rules that have been put in place for your health. Health is key to the success of a business. You do not agree?

And in case you want to project your "brand" to ignore the rules and live without fear, I can point you to dozens of articles showing you the mortality rates associated with these choices. Just like smoking. And again, I love money. Dead customers spend much less on your products and services.

Train often. Check often. Use little words.

Make it easy. You don't have to teach your staff to be biohazard engineers. You have to educate people on the right way to use a spray and paper towel, the right time to wear gloves, the right way to wear masks, and that sort of thing. And then you have to strengthen it every turn. Until we hear the opposite.

There is money in this board. And to flaunt it, and do without a mask, is to make yourself the bandito in this situation. And we don't want it.

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