Masks Are a Feature of Revenue and Branding

The whole COVID-19 phenomenon has impacted small businesses much more than the big companies because it’s not like SMMEs have massive reserves of cash around so that you could deal with shutting down for months at a time. And now, as different businesses have gone into different versions of reopening, we are seeing signs that maybe this is not going as well as we wanted it to, either.

If you open your business and have an flexible stance towards face masks, you are instructing your customers and prospects as to how you feel about their public safety. This goes a layer deeper. If you run a business with multiple employees, everyone must be on the same page with this matter. Example: I went to my local fuel station in Midrand and I had to go inside the shop to pay for my fuel. Every customer in the place had a mask on, and magically – they were wearing their masks correctly.

The employees, however, were a mixed bag. Three people had their masks on just right. Two were wearing chin guards. This gives me the sense that these people, who oversee the restocking of the shelves, were at liberty to breathe all over the items I was thinking about picking up while getting my fuel. Predictably, I just paid for the fuel. Would you blame me?

Your revenue walks out the door every time your employee “just can’t deal with it.”

Training is Only Part of the Picture

You can order your employees to comply, but we both know that when the day gets long, people are going to do what they want to do. This cannot be a facet of your operations going forward. Cleaning and protocols around resetting places of business in between certain numbers of customers will become (more or less, this is already being written in) rules of the business road. Places like restaurants and grocery stores have already set their systems up. And sadly, you get to watch them be ignored every few visits.

This must become part of the culture. It must be like smoking was a few decades ago. Right before that time, smoking was a reasonably optional thing inside restaurants and offices and all kinds of places. And then, as laws and social norms took over together, this changed. Masks and cleaning protocols are the new no-smoking. 

Nobody Wants More Rules (But You Want Money, Don’t You?)

Again. This is not a political statement. It is a revenue statement. You lose money if people do not trust you. You lose trust if you flaunt the rules which have been put in place for your health. Health is a key part of business success. Do you not agree?

And in case you want to project your “brand” to be about ignoring the rules and living fearlessly, I can point you to several dozen articles showing you the death rates associated with those choices, especially overseas. Just like smoking. I know you love money. Dead customers spend far less on your products and services.

Train Often. Check Often. Use Small Words.

Make this easy. You do not have to teach your staff to be biohazard engineers. You must educate people on the right way to use a spray bottle and a paper towel, the right time to wear gloves, the right way to wear masks, and that sort of thing. And then you must reinforce it at all turns.

Until we hear otherwise, Keep the Mask on, the right way

Sifiso Ndwandwe

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