Tips to help you plan ahead

  1. Get involved early – attend the pre-construction meetings or other public meetings.
    • Open the lines of communication to voice your concerns and wishes. 
    • Attend public hearings and meetings, fill out comment forms, communicate with the City or developers—these are the best opportunities to contribute your ideas or express your concerns.
    • The project manager may be the best advocate for your business community throughout the construction planning process, so be sure to note their contact information so you can reach out when needed.
  2. Prepare a business continuity plan - create and evaluate several financial scenarios for your business and plan accordingly. 
  3. Cut down on your expenses - reduce inventory and consider leaving an open position vacant if you anticipate a slow-down during construction.
  4. Revise your budget – with construction comes the inevitable dust and noise, so revise your budget to include increased cleaning expenses and general upkeep during construction.
  5. Keep customers informed - maintain current contact information for your customers to keep them informed of important updates like access, hours, sales or specials. 
    • Utilize your company website and social media to communicate to your customers. 
    • Prepare a script for employees to share a consistent and positive message when customers ask about directions and construction. Remember, construction usually means improved amenities, access, sidewalks, roads, etc.!
  6. Consider real time updates or microblogging to post deals and specials to keep customers’ minds on your store.
  7. Make sure your customers know how to navigate the construction areas and still access your business. Notify them months in advance so they are prepared for the change.
  8. Consider diversifying - add easy products or services that are simple to learn and require little investment to your current offerings.
  9.  Form alliances  - partner with the other affected businesses; there is strength in numbers! 
    • Negotiate with the landlord to provide assistance/reduced rent or reduced common area charges during construction. 
    • Collobarate with other affected businesses and create a marketing coalition to pool resources to do joint promotions. Examples: (i) build a group website with coupons, (ii) coordinate sales days, (iii) pool funds to buy larger ads.
  10. Build a cash reserve - secure a line of credit or restructure existing debt.
  11. Take advantage of the construction – if you were planning improvements, take advantage of the timing and schedule your construction improvements at the same time (façade improvements, remodeling inside your building, upgrading appliances, etc.).
  12. Get assistance - research whether grants, incentives, or low interest loans are available for marketing or renovations.
    • Consider applying with the Empowerment Zone  for a marketing and promotional loan.
  13. Consider operational changes – if possible change or extend hours of operation to take advantage of time when construction crews are gone for the day.
  14. Consider offering delivery options if possible so customers don’t even have to worry.
  15. Create customer loyalty – promote customer rewards programs such as a “frequent buyer” or  “Hard Hat” discount club. 
  16. Create and distribute detour route maps with coupons and send them in mailings, emails, website and social media.
  17. Consider beautifying and upgrading your business’s back door entrance to act as an alternative if access to your front door is hindered by construction.
  18. Make sure temporary signs are very clear – a clear, direct, and easy-to-read sign can go a long way in helping reduce confusion with your customers.
  19. Create friendly rapport with construction crews -- they are potential clients!
  20. Make sure to communicate your concerns to supervisors and project leaders to get the best results. Get to know the Construction Managers!