The new normal: Taking your business online. Are you ready?
4 min read

Longing for pastries from your favorite bakery (that has currently shut shop)? What if it were online?

With the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly engulfing the entire world, small and big businesses around the globe have been thrown aback. The catastrophe is overwhelming, and the aftermath is going to be worse still. Once things slightly start coming back on track, each business will scour for their individual space and will try to hit the market hard, grabbing every opportunity for revival. Hence, it is imperative that your business remains on track during this crisis, maintains continuity, and seamlessly moves on to the world after.

And how can you do that? By embracing the ‘new normal’, the virtual world.  

While several organizations have been forced to work remotely, and are still struggling in their game (learn how you can work from home effectively), others have just boomed, taking full advantage of the crisis. Several CPG and pharmaceutical companies have moved online with their businesses. So have smaller players like brick-and-mortar boutique stores, dance studios, and restaurants, thus catering to a steady stream of consumers.

Since each organization’s functioning and requirements are unique, the way they use the online medium also differs. Here are some tips to get you going with the new, pandemic-no-bar way of working.

 

Get online, if you haven’t already

If you had been contemplating about bringing your business online, now is the best time to do so. As people are locked up in their homes, they tend to spend more time online rather than watch television. Get yourself started by creating a website (with content that holds weight). And by building your brand on popular social media platforms.

 

Use the best collaboration tools

Organizations are using all kinds of collaboration tools such as Teams, Slack, Skype, etc. for daily virtual meetings. This helps in increasing team intimacy and keeping everyone in good spirits. A Guardian report says that on March 23 (the day UK went into a lockdown), Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times across the world as against 56,000 times a day, two months ago.

 

Reach out to others in the industry

Leverage your virtual tools to reach out to others in your domain or industry. Segments like travel and tourism, and the fashion and luxury segment, have seen a radical decline. They can benefit by supporting each other (through an industry-wide contingency plan) and understanding how they can utilize their technology and resources in the best possible way. For example, a few high-end luxury brands are making vital medical wear (like scrubs and gowns), and others are following suit.

 

Hold on to your clients

Here, communicating proactively is the key. Like with everything else in life, remote working also comes with its own gaps, which should be bridged regularly by maintaining a connect with your customers. Periodic virtual meetings and regular one-on-one video chats go a long way in reaching out to your clients and assures them that you are very much there. Inform them of the situation at your end, whether you need to close shop, or reduce your workhours. Provide your services and solutions remotely and let them know about the steps you are taking to mitigate risk and keep day-to-day working seamless.

Use social media to the fullest. Live stream a prototype, a product launch, and invite questions just the way you would anyway do. Webinars and events are also a good idea; they prove your domain expertise and strengthen your clients’ belief in your capabilities.

 

Upskill and upgrade

With zero commuting time and limited outdoor movement, people are utilizing the saved hours to improve their skillsets. Take the example of online course provider Coursera, which has seen 10 million new users in March itself. Several such course providers are offering free or heavily discounted learning content, and this is the best opportunity to set a path for your employees to upskill themselves.

You can also conduct virtual in-house trainings and expert talk sessions to enable people to upgrade to the latest technologies or the ones that are in high demand during this crisis. This way (even if the demand in certain sectors remains stagnant), your organization will be better equipped with newer and most popular market trends in other segments. Who knows, within a few months, you might even be able to offer advanced solutions to customers (even in other domains)!

 

Be there. Get heard!

Last, but not the least, get yourself heard and seen online at the right places. Media consumption is now sky high, and innovative ways to advertise as well as create meaningful, value-added content will help a lot in the long run. Build fresh content and revise SEO strategies regularly to rank higher in search engines. As shared earlier, live stream your offerings and solutions via popular social platforms and conduct webinars/events to showcase your skillset. You can also run domain-specific quiz and contests online to keep your audience engaged and ensure high brand recall.

 

Do keep checking our blog space for more perspective on the current market scenario, trending technological insights, and thought leadership articles.