Independent Bank is proud to sponsor the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Small Business Council.  We are having so much fun with the online format for the “Lunch in the Know” series and love that it is keeping small businesses engaged and bringing them timely and relevant information.  The topic for most recent in the series: “How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Work Environment for Employers & Employees” was a Q&A with Alan Crone, CEO of The Crone Law Firm.  Here we recap our Top Takeaways:

Business as Usual?

More and more businesses are able to open back up or operate at higher levels now that we’ve entered Phase II of our Back to Business Plan.  But with strict guidelines still in place, it isn’t exactly business as usual.  What if the guidelines impede your ability to operate and serve your customers the way you did before the pandemic?  Alan advises that it comes down to what kind of look you want for your business and what kind of reputation you want going forward.  Your customers want to feel safe, not only legally but practically as well.  What protocols can you implement that don’t just meet the bare minimums of the guidelines but offer your customers a sense of security?  And given that your normal course of business has been disrupted, how can you deliver a customer experience that is not only guideline compliant, but also adds a new element that is advantageous to your customers?  (i.e. a restaurant that not only offers food delivery, but online video classes on food preparation)

Consistency is Key

We said it last week:  There is no one size fits all answer to getting back to business.  Some businesses will require customers to wear masks; some won’t.  Some businesses will take their customers’ temperature; some won’t.  Some businesses will require customers to check in; some won’t.  The key is to develop your protocol as a company and then follow it to protect yourself.  There are always times when an exception must be made.  For instance, an employee who is protected by the American Disabilities Act may need a special accommodation made in the case of wearing face masks.  But making such an accommodation for a disability is not the same thing as being inconsistent.  If you require customers to wear masks or check in, make sure you are doing that across the board, or it could be seen as discriminatory.  Communicate your protocols not only to employees and customers, but to vendors as well.  Vendors may have their own protocols that could be different from yours, but you can ask them to agree to and sign off on following your protocols when they are working at your place of business. 


A big thank you to Alan Crone for sharing his insight with us!  We’d also like to thank our fellow sponsors Southland Casino Racing and Baptist Memorial Health Care as well as Waddell and Associates for making the Zoom meeting possible. If you missed the webinar or would like to see it again, a recorded version can be accessed on the Greater Memphis Chamber website.