Going Remote with Your Business
Have you ever thought about going remote with your business?
Businesses that are already set up to be remote or virtual are really fortunate during this time of “social distancing.” Some of these services have taken a hit because their clients and customers are struggling financially. Others, like delivery services, survival, or online vendors, are actually doing better during this time.
But a lot of businesses, big and small, have had to shut down until we can get ahead of this virus. They’re either brick and mortar businesses like restaurants, bars, businesses that gather big groups of people like wedding and event planners, churches or services that are hands-on like massage therapists, and hairstylists.
In many places now, all “non-essential” businesses are required to close.
How can these businesses transition to remote businesses, at least in the short run? The truth is that what we’re going through right now may change how businesses operate even after our “shelter at home” is over. So, for many businesses, it’s important to start getting creative about how to transition to a remote business. I wish I had all the answers for you about how to do this, but I don’t.
However, I’ve seen a lot of creativity and people finding ways to adapt already.
So, let me just share what I’ve seen and some ideas to get you thinking: Lean Into Technology Technology has been and will be major in helping businesses transition. I teach digital marketing and I use a ton of technology in my own businesses, from virtual seminars that I hold on Zoom to creating podcasts, creating targeted ads on social media.
But I understand that this is totally new for a lot of businesses. Here’s what some are doing: Many yoga studios, martial arts studios, and fitness centers are now holding classes virtually. Some are doing YouTube videos while others are holding classes on platforms like Zoom so participants can see each other and feel connected. One gym I heard of is offering special 45-minute exercise classes for kids on Zoom so the kids can see each other. They limit each class to eight kids and even give the children time to interact with one another.
Therapists are using video calls to connect with their patients, many of whom are having a very tough time right now. Some therapists are even using conference calls or video platforms for their group counseling sessions. One of the best ideas that many small businesses are using is online gift cards. An advertising firm in Virginia put together a website that guides people to local restaurants and breweries that are struggling. To keep these businesses afloat, the site encourages people to buy e-gift cards from these businesses to use in the future.
A company that does home reorganization now offers its service virtually. Clients show them the spaces they need to be organized via Skype. The service then forwards a game plan and walks the client through the process. I’m encouraging realtors to hold virtual open houses and virtual buyer and seller seminars.
Honestly, this is even more effective than a traditional open house because registrants are required to put in their contact information to register, so the agents can keep their information and put it in their CRM to market to the registrants later. I’ve seen several beauticians offering online tutorials on things like “How to Cut Your Bangs.”
At the end of the video, they offer customers discounted e-gift cards to use when they’re able to visit the shop again. This is very important, we need to Go to Them. We have to go where our customers are. Many restaurants are doing take-out and delivery that had never done this before.
Some smaller restaurants are partnering with other small restaurants so they can afford to offer delivery. Several local retailers (like florists, shoe repair) are using online ordering and “curbside” delivery. A beauty salon in New York now delivers custom hair color kits to their clients and does video call consultations. Since many of their clients went to the Hamptons to wait this out, the salon opened a pop-up salon in that area, allowing only five customers in at any one time.
And my all-time favorite, Pay It Forward
One big thing you can do right now is to pay it forward and offer help to your community. It may not bring money in right this second, but it will build your reputation and keep you connected with your community. A few distilleries are actually switching to produce hand sanitizer rather than liquor.
Not only are they providing something that is really needed right now, but they’re building a ton of goodwill. A bike-sharing company in New York that had to shut down is now allowing people who deliver food free use of their bikes. Musical groups and performers are offering things like concerts, plays, and poetry readings online for free.
Some are teaching virtual classes to kids for free as well. I’ve put together virtual support your local business shopping day where I’m interviewing about 15 local businesses via Facebook Live and I’m letting them promote their product or service.
I’ve also set up an online workout regime with licensed trainers and coordinated virtual activities for the community like paint night, storytime, hair braiding, and martini making, we’re calling it quarantinis!
I hope this has given you some ideas.
Remember, get creative and plan to thrive, not just survive as we go forward.
Going Remote with Your Business
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