Setting up your business for the brave new virtual world

Many businesses have had to shut their physical doors, pivoting, where possible, to become virtual shops and studios.  But there’s more to an online business than just a website.

  1. Ensure your website is set up for secure financial transactions.
  2. Look into screen tutorials to help customers navigate any new digital features, such as website updates. Loom – A professional screen recording service, are offering cuts to their Pro plan for a limited time: https://www.loom.com/blog/coronavirus-response
  3. Shop around for pricing on your web host; many small businesses may be locked into website hosting from years past. With the increased demand to go online, costs have lowered significantly, and the transition process can save hundreds of dollars a year.
  4. Talk to your bank for the lowest transactions fees when taking online payments, although platforms like Paypal or Stripe can look attractive, they can absorb almost twice amount of the fees your business bank would charge.
  5. Where do you source your stock, your branded promotional items, your tools of trade? If the answer is overseas, then you need to factor in a significant delay in your supply line. There are correctly limited flights coming into Australia and the manufacturing in other countries, including China, is affected.
  6. Is there an alternative Australian manufacturer? Can you work with an Australian manufacturing outlet to re-tool to provide your product?
  7. What about your distribution network? Couriers and Australia Post are dealing with volumes that surpass the Christmas rush.  Make sure you re-set delivery expectations with your customers online.
  8. If you are providing a virtual experience – such as dance classes, gym sessions etc – ensure that you have good bandwidth and the right camera equipment. Work with the members of your team who are going to front the sessions, to ensure that they are comfortable on camera.
  9. Engage with potential clients wherever you can find them. Ramp up your digital presence, get expert advice on where to spend your money on social media, for the maximum return.
  10. Look into online advertising initiatives during trying times. Google have released options for small to medium businesses with free credits: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9803410?hl=en
  11. Over-service and make sure expectations are realistic and re-set frequently, if necessary. People understand delays but they need to know about them.  If an order is delayed well beyond what is reasonable, provide your customer with a small credit to spend at your online store.
  12. Take the opportunity to upskill your team, with free online courses in digital platforms. Learning platforms such as Code Academy are offering free courses to students who may have had their job hours lowered in order to upskill into digital fields: https://news.codecademy.com/learn-from-home-club/ while LinkedIn have opened up 16 free courses: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/?originalSubdomain=au