Accessibility is a huge thing for so many people – but for business owners operating in older buildings and facilities, they may not be front of mind. Making your business accessible opens your business to more customers, and it better serves the members of your community. It should be a top priority for your business – and it doesn’t have to be hard! Here are some ways to make your small business more accessible
What Does ‘Accessibility’ Mean?
Accessibility, framed another way – the ability to access something, refers to how a user or person with a disability can use, benefit, or otherwise interact with a space, system, tool that someone without a disability can.
One example of an accessibility tool is electronic readers that help people with vision impairments use the computer and internet by reading the text aloud to the user.
For most small businesses it’s less technological than that and more about the physical space.
When it comes to actual legal requirements and what not, this all comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a Federal civil rights law made to stop the exclusion of people with disabilities from everyday things like shopping at a store, enjoying a meal, going to movie theaters, etc. These first went into effect in 1992, 30 years ago.
But your business can do more than just the required minimum!
How to Make Your Business Accessible
Train Your Staff
Training your staff with accessibility in mind can look like a few different things. Ensure they are ready and able to interact with customers who are deaf and blind. Being able to read documents to customers who may not be able to see the documents and being able to pass notes with those who are hard of hearing or deaf can make your customers experience much better.
Train your staff on the right way to approach and ask if a customer needs assistance, not to assume.
Allow Service Animals
Service animals are incredibly well trained companions that help people with numerous disabilities go about their day safely and independently. Saying no to service animals in effect bans that customer from accessing your business. They can’t simply hitch their guide dog outside and shop. Allow service animals in your business.
Use Asphalt In Construction
Well paved asphalt parking lots, walkways, etc. make for a sturdy, smooth, and stable surface for people to use. If your business currently has a rocky, gravel lot or busted up surfaces it’s time to repair it and make everything easier for everyone. Smooth asphalt is ideal for customers who use wheelchairs, canes, and crutches to navigate.
If you need help here you know who to call!
Make a More Accessible Office
Customers aren’t the only people who can benefit from an accessible office. Build your office with accessibility in mind, have desks that work at adjustable heights, make sure there’s enough room to maneuver between desks, tables, chairs, walls, and other furniture for those who have mobility troubles. Also, allow work from home makes your business more accessible to workers with a variety of wide-ranging disabilities.
Plan Your Retail Space With Wide Open Areas
If you haven’t opened up your business just yet, see if you have time to plan your retail space better. Disabilities come in many different forms and manany of them can also benefit from physical access. Things like walkways, ramps instead of stairs, wider doors all can make for a more accessible retail space. We know space is expensive but if you plan for it from the get-go it’ll be easier to take advantage of the spacious design.
Listen and Be Open to Suggestions from People Who Have Disabilities
Even after your business has taken all these steps so far – don’t rest on your work. Always be willing and open to listening to suggestions from your guests with disabilities and what would make their experience better. Seek out feedback and ways your business can improve.
Ready to install fresh asphalt and make for a smooth, stable usable surface for your customers and employees? Give Sunrise Asphalt a call today!