April 1, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on the lives of citizens, government officials, and business owners alike. Many business owners around the world have been pushed to switch to remote work, reevaluate their business plans, and seek a new “normal” as they prepare for the future. With no definite end in sight for the pandemic, many have begun to consider going digital as a way to keep their businesses afloat. Companies able to leverage technology and pivot their businesses to withstand current economic hardships will find themselves not only able to survive these uncertain times, but also see their business come out even stronger than before.
Go Digital – E-commerce, Transforming Your Business
Over the next few months, we’ll see the pivotal effects of companies digitally transforming their workplaces and business models, from small businesses to major corporations alike. Ask yourself: is it possible to take your product or service online? Can you come up with a creative way to repackage your idea for the digital consumer? Plenty of modern businesses can be transitioned seamlessly to an online store through an e-commerce or video conferencing solutions.
With the need to reach customers in new ways, this may be the perfect time to get an e-commerce store up and running in an agile manner! In fact, according to an analysis of Commerce Department retail data by Digital Commerce 360, online sales have grown by over 12% year over year since 2010. Digital transformation can mean a variety of solutions depending on the business and it’s operating model. For example, a fitness instructor may try selling digital fitness and meal plans, or a restaurant could look into offering online cooking classes with common ingredients people tend to already have at home. There are so many great ways to transform a simple idea into an online store to help bring in more revenue.
This isn’t going to be forever, and as things slowly change back to normal, having more than just a brick and mortar store will only help businesses come out of this more diverse than before!
Digital Is Important – Connect With Your Customers
If a consumer wants to learn about a product or company, the first place they’re going to check is online. In fact, 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, with 47% of those consumers visiting the company website according to KPMG’s 2017 Global Consumer Report. Whether your company’s solution is picked or not may depend on its online presence, so having a good digital footprint will give your business the upper hand. A quick online search should give new customers all the information they need to know about your brand.
Additionally, being active on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a great way to share your company’s voice. Having a well-curated social media strategy will make your company more relatable and give you more opportunities to connect with potential customers. According to the GlobalWebIndex, 1 in 4 social media users are following brands from which they might make a purchase. Make posts to showcase your product or service and create a plan to put out at least one piece of content each week. There are plenty of great, and free, services that companies can use to create original and engaging content.
Making posts that ask questions and allow your audience to interact with your brand will help your followers engage with your content and make them more likely to share it with their friends as well. Having a strong digital presence is a combination of social media strategy, a well-designed website, and good marketing – all qualities essential to growing and maintaining a strong business in disadvantaged economic times.
Use Time To Your Advantage – Educate Yourself and Stick To A Plan
One of the best investments you can make is an investment in yourself and your team. With so many working from home, more time can be set aside for improving one’s skill sets and growing your business. The time you would have spent on your daily commute can now be reallocated to reading the latest industry publications or taking an online course to learn a new skill. Another benefit of having extra time is that you’ll have an increased ability to test out new business ideas without daily distractions.
If you are planning to pivot your business to survive during these unprecedented times, it is important that you stick with your decision long enough to give it a viable testing period. If your tests tend to have daily pivots you will run the risk of having no accurate data to back your trials. If you decide that pivoting your business is your best plan of action at this time, then:
- Move swiftly
- Put your energy into amplifying what your business excels at
- Be open about any transition with your employees and investors
- Accept feedback from your partners and customers.
The daily hours you are reclaiming by working remotely, with the addition of a lot of hard work and dedication from your team, may just help you come out of this stronger than you came in. True entrepreneurs know that change is inevitable and work evolves with it.