While many things came to a screeching halt during the pandemic, floods, fires, mold and plumbing issues certainly did not.

Unlike so many businesses that have been hard hit by the country shutting down, I am forever grateful to our amazing franchisees across Restoration 1 and bluefrog Plumbing + Drain who have been on the front lines in Central Texas and throughout the country with their service professionals doing important necessary work just as before. To be clear, they are doing so with a heightened awareness for keeping their teams and their customers safe. 

So for businesses that are just now starting to reopen, here are four best practices from two essential business networks that have been operating all along.

Safety should always be the first priority. 

The single, most important goal for business owners and operators should be to prioritize the safety of employees and customers. No matter what type of business you are operating, the focus needs to be on stringent health and sanitation guidelines. This starts with making sure employees have access to necessary supplies and personal protective equipment as well as training and education about proper sanitation and safe practices. For our franchisees entering homes and businesses, they are required to wear gloves and masks and in many cases biohazard suits. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain we also rolled out video/virtual options to support customers who do not want individuals in their home.

Communicate often during unprecedented times.

Effective communication during any crisis is crucial to maintaining customer trust. We know this all too well when dealing with a homeowner who has just had a flood or a fire at their house. They want information, assurances and a game plan. The same can be said during a pandemic. Business leaders need to respond quickly and communicate frequently with both employees and customers about implemented changes and how it will affect them. 

Innovate to strengthen your business now and into the future.

The pandemic has changed the world as we know it. And businesses that learn to adapt and innovate during these challenging circumstances are the ones that will come out ahead. It’s clear that no matter the trajectory of the pandemic, a heightened focus on sanitation will forever be important.

At Restoration 1, we recently unveiled our “Keep It Clean” program to address the growing demand for disinfecting and cleaning services. The program directly addresses a recent national survey, which said 82% of Americans are more concerned with cleaning tools and protocol in public spaces since the coronavirus, and 76% will hold businesses accountable for how they clean their public spaces.

While this change is a direct response to COVID-19, it will remain part of our business model permanently.

Double down on long term goals. 

As business leaders scramble to adapt to the effects of the pandemic, it’s easy to focus on triaging problems in the present while losing sight of long-term goals. We were in the midst of talking to private equity firms to invest in our businesses when the pandemic hit the U.S. With so much economic uncertainty it would have made sense to halt those conversations. However, we decided to keep pushing through, focusing on the long-term growth vision for Restoration 1 and bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, and we secured a multi-million-dollar deal with MPK Equity Partners and Princeton Equity Group, setting us up for a stronger future for both brands. During a crisis, maintaining a forward vision is critical. 

To everyone, I can only say that I hope current challenges out there will pass. I remain eternally optimistic that our world will come back even stronger from this and look forward to the day when all businesses are open at full capacity. Together we will find a way forward and do so with renewed appreciation.