The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything that humanity has ever witnessed since the Spanish Flu. Over a hundred years beyond the Spanish Flu. We are grappling with the effects of this new virus, particularly on the economy. Now more than ever, more business owners realize they need to shift their businesses online during this coronavirus crisis.
However, there are still things you can do as a business owner to get ideas in order. During the coronavirus, an online business is the only thing that can function. Business owners can still fulfill client orders and communicate with them online. After all, there is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure supporting you through it. It includes the internet, social media, payment channels, apps, etc., which can all work to your advantage in these testing times.
Another important thing you need to realize is that most people will be staying home during the coronavirus. Hence, they’ll have more time to check into their social media accounts and use the internet than ever before. You need to capitalize on this and shift your business online during the Coronavirus crisis. With the best of intentions and a little know-how, you can do this.
Create a Website
The first thing you need to do is to create a website. This task is easier than you think. There are several hosting websites online such as Hostgator, GoDaddy, WordPress, and other services like Squarespace. They can help you set up a website in no time. These website hosting platforms also have special offers on some packages that you can use to your advantage. They even have plug-ins included for beautifying a site, adding extra options, payment apps, and social media handles. As a result, you’ll be able to deck out your entire site in a few minutes. You could spend some time perfecting the settings later, but setting up a website is of paramount importance.
You need to put in the basics for your website: example, the layout of how to communicate with your customers and what services you will provide. You can also help customers by setting out a procedure of how they can order or receive your services.
These things will help to shift your business online temporarily during the Coronavirus crisis. It won’t be the most glamorous setup, but it’ll work. You’ll be able to make do with this bare-bones setup for a while.
Set Up or Strengthen Your Social Media Account
It’s hard to imagine businesses functioning without social media. However, if you don’t have an account on social media, then this is the best time to make one. During the coronavirus, online businesses need a robust social media presence.
You should take care of the usual suspects first and make an account on Facebook and Instagram. The best part about the former is that it can lead to the latter. If you make a Facebook account, it can be automatically linked to your Instagram account. You won’t have to create a new account.
These two handles will help you communicate with your customers. They already have in-built messaging protocols, and you won’t need to set those up. Just by posting regularly and informing your customers of different updates, you can make do. In some cases, a social media handle is even better than a website. It’s much more effective and much more inclusive than a website. By using a few hashtags and posting a few pictures, you can accomplish a lot more.
As time passes, you can set up further accounts to try and gauge audiences. Who knows, perhaps your audience likes to engage through Snapchat or Pinterest? However, as always, it’s better first to set it up.
Establish Clear Communication Channels
Communication, as always, works both ways. You need to give out clear instructions to communicate with your customers and employees. With customers, social media channels will do. Use Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, or Instagram DMs to talk to them. It’s a reliable system that has all the necessary options you need to establish a communications channel.
As for your employees, if you don’t have a communications channel set up, that’s a problem. You need to have a few things sorted. The first is the way you will communicate with your employees, whether it’s through email, Slack, Voxer, Teamwork, or any other messaging app. Once you have that down, your next step should be to set up an online communications channel for transferring files or work orders.
You can do this with either G Suite from Google or Microsoft Office 365. There are free versions for both, and they’re pretty handy for collaborative assignments and work orders. You can see your work pan out in real-time. Plus, with Google, you can use all the apps in one suite, including Google Drive or Gmail, or Photos, etc. There are also Microsoft Office alternatives like Google Docs and Google Sheets.
This way, even if your employees don’t have a full-featured laptop or desktop at home, they can still work. All they need is a basic computer and an internet connection. They may not even need a stable Wi-Fi connection. If they have a data plan, that’s enough for the essential transfer of documents and some images.
Establish an Online Payment Channel
Payment is one of the most essential tips. You need to have a specific online payment channel established. This channel is how your customers will be able to pay you. Assuming you already have one created, you can still use that. However, if you still work with either cash or in-person card payments, that needs to change. You can use either one of the hundreds of apps out there for payments. These include PayPal, Venmo, Payoneer, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc. All these can help you to set up temporary payment channels for yourself. They’re also easy to use and only require the installation of an app.
If that is inconvenient for you, you can use a Fintech app or mobile wallet app that your customers are fond of using. As a last resort, you can ask them to deposit their cash in a bank account. That is the last resort since it requires verification of deposit through receipts. That can get annoying for customers after a while.
Using these few tips, you can prepare to shift your business online during the Coronavirus crisis.
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