So How Do You Keep Your Business Healthy During a Pandemic?
New terms like social distancing don’t just affect how we communicate with friends and family; they affect how we do business. And this pandemic is no different. But, staying inside and closing shop doors doesn’t mean your business should go into hiding, too: What if we told you how you can give your business a new life online?
Whether you’re a technical whiz or struggling to find the home button on your iPhone, there’s no time like the present to embrace technology and boost the health of your business.
A “closed” sign doesn’t mean you can’t hit the power button! So, grab a seat and get online! We’re giving you a few tools so that you can improve your digital footprint without ever setting foot in your office.
We’ve Said It Before: The Future Is Digital
Maybe it started with Facebook. Then, suddenly, you’re booking all your flights, buying all your movie tickets, and doing all your Christmas shopping, online. You notice that every news article you read is delivered to you through an app. What do these examples all have in common? They’re all digital. And, the involve successful online businesses, too.
The rise of e-commerce is evidence that technology, whether we like it or not, has become an integral part of our lives. And while you can still be successful as a brick and mortar business in 2020, what do you do when disaster strikes?
If social distancing has taught business owners one thing, it’s to consider alternate avenues for conducting business. But, if going remote seems impossible for you, as a salon owner or even real estate agent, we’d like to share a few tips that you can incorporate in your business. No matter how diverse your industry is, we believe that making even one small change can improve your ability to go digital.
You Might Have A Website for Your Company but That Doesn’t Mean You’re Digital.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses and business owners to come up with alternate working arrangements. In an interview with Jessica Hodgson, the human resources director for Later (the visual marketing platform for Instagram, Facebook, and Pintrest, among others), told the North Delta Reporter that the rise of remote work spaces is “inevitable.“ Although remote work stations can be challenging for some business owners, Hodgson also points out that some industries will actually benefit from “going remote.” Tech companies, consulting firms, and even educational institutions can enjoy renewed vigor online.
According to Hodgson, all you need for a successful remote relationship is a laptop and some good WiFi. But most businesses require more than just a company website, and working from home (WFH), as easy as it may sound, is more challenging than one might believe. If you do decide to take your business off the grid and go online, here are a few tips on how to make WFH more effective:
Tips for Working from Home
- Set boundaries. Schedule your hours like you would for a normal workday at the office, and make sure you unplug when the time is up.
- Connect with your coworkers through messaging systems like Skype and Slack. These free, online portals are excellent tools for sharing files, meeting with coworkers and even clients, and lets you reach out to people or departments.
- Communicate your goals and keep track of your productivity. If you’re having trouble focusing at home, make sure you get in touch with key team members so you can address issues quickly. Track your progress and, if your productivity is off, talk to your team leader.
- Find a comfortable location with good lighting. You want to like the space you’re in.
- Get ready for work. And by that we mean get dressed every day so that you feel ready to work. Taking care of yourself will help you maintain a professional demeanour.
Going remote might happen quite easily for certain industries (whose work is already heavily digitized), while others will find the transitions of face-to-face to cyberspace nearly impossible. So, does that mean that those businesses should dismiss digitizing their services? No!
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to figure out how your business can go online, Jason Yormark of Business 2 Community writes, “now is the time to really think hard about how your business is investing in its online strategies.” According to Digital Health News, roughly 87% of readers believed that the COVID-19 pandemic would push companies across all sectors to adopt digital services.
So, What Do You Do If You’re Not A Tech Company?
Although e-mail marketing and online chat bots are excellent tools for keeping you connected with your target audience, we’ve researched additional techniques that specialized industries can adopt to help themselves adapt to these changing times.
Neil Paul of Digital Health makes the case that COVID-19 has given industries the “kick” that they need to come up with new solutions to offer their customers. Even healthcare is starting to evolve as general practitioners and surgeons discover that, out of necessity, many in-person consultations can be made easily available over the telephone. Forbes.com also points out that online avenues work well for education (many universities already offer distance education), or even for large-scale events.
How to Optimize Your Business Online
- Skype, Zoom, and Slack are just a few digital chat rooms you can make use of at home and at the office. Host a conference from virtually anywhere to keep in touch with colleagues or employees. Many of these subscriptions are free, too.
- Keep your stuff on a cloud! Get your head out of the clouds and start keeping your files there. Onedrive, iCloud, and even GoogleDocs let you store files and take them with you anywhere. Be prepared no matter where you set up shop with cloud access. Just make sure your server is secure and that you have an up-to-date antivirus.
- Update your website. Ensuring that your website is attractive, functional, and up to date lets your customers find everything they need to know. It’ll be the point of contact for customers and partners during periods of quarantine.
- Automate some of your services, like scheduling appointments. That way, if their appointment is cancelled, they will be able to re-schedule with you immediately. If you own a hair or nail salon, your customers can then pre-book their appointment on the spot, or when it’s convenient for them. It’ll save you the time it takes to drive to your store to pre-book appointment dates.
- Upgrade your phone system so that you can redirect calls from your business to your personal phone or set up voicemail to inform customers of any changes and how to reach you. Talk to your service provider about how to access your voicemail remotely, too.
- Get creative! Do you have a unique product or service? Turn it into a gift card on your site. As Canadians continue to stay home and self-isolate, many restaurants can still generate business by promoting their takeout and delivery services online. Or, if you’re a real estate agent, try making virtual walk-through tours, and virtual open houses, a regular feature on your site!
Start Now and Keep Going!
Digitizing your business might seem ambiguous and daunting, but we guarantee that investing time and resources into making your business remote-friendly will open many new avenues for you, your employees, and your business. Going online doesn’t mean you’re going underground; it means you’re adapting.
Stay indoors to flatten the Coronavirus curve and get online to expand your digital strategy. Contact us to learn more about how you can build your business online; we’ll help you get started on your digital journey.