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Small Businesses That Can Go Digital During The Lockdown

09 April 2020 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

SME's that can go digital

The spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 as it has been named has disrupted more industries than we can count. Supply chains are almost at a standstill in many parts of the world and businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking at ways to remain productive in a time of nationwide lockdowns and safety concerns.

While big businesses may have the luxury of access to capital to absorb the blow or focus on other income streams, small businesses will need to think outside the box. Many companies that are traditionally built on face to face encounters will need to pivot to a new approach and leverage the technological advances of the internet to make up for the gap left by removing face to face communication.

Having had a look at how innovative business owners are taking the lockdowns on the chin, here are a few industries that have leveraged the internet to remain in business even if they have to stay in their homes.

1. Sports and fitness trainers

Streaming sites have enjoyed quite the uplift in watch time and subscriptions as people are cooped up at home and become couch potatoes, but this doesn't have to be their only recreational activity. While gyms, parks and sports facilities are closed, this doesn't mean we cannot assemble online or have private training sessions via video call. Fitness and wellness instructors of all kinds can start leveraging digital platforms to do run classes.

If your classes are subscription-based or prefer an intimate1 setting or you prefer consultations, you can use video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, Skype For Business, Discord and Google Hangouts, depending on what's more comfortable for you.

If your classes are a lot larger you may want to download a streaming tool like OBS and connect it to various live streaming services like YoutTube, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram and Twitch and start getting more people involved in your classes.

2. Therapy and coaching

Coaching and therapy sessions also need not stop due to social distancing now that we have various rich communication services available to us for free or cost next to nothing to have a subscription. You should be able to continue your sessions online via video conferencing or audio conferencing depending on the client, and it shouldn't stop you from promoting your services and picking up new clients.

In this time of isolation, its given plenty of people time to review their lives and reaccess their goals and perhaps some of them are looking for improvement in their lives, be it spiritually, financially or in business. If you can offer your services remotely, you can secure several clients that are currently going unserviced.

3. Education and training

eLearning is no longer some experimental type of education and has been integrated into many mainstream courses ranging from short certificates to your MBA, can now all be done online. If you offer classes and accreditation, you may not be able to conduct the examinations online without the correct software.

Still, it doesn't mean you cannot provide learners with the prescripted video lessons they need and offering real-time classes via video conferencing.

Video conferencing is a two-way medium, so it allows those who participate in engaging with everyone on the call, pose questions and learn from one another and doesn't have to be limited to a traditional lecture format.

4. Tech support

Even though we are firmly in the information age, there is no denying the fact that a lot of people are not entirely tech-savvy. Now that remote work has become a necessity the likes of in house support is all but useless, but this makes it possible for remote tech support companies to make quite a bit of money. For your tech support company to flourish, you will need to pay close attention to customer service and communication. Additionally, you will need to be available to your clients around the clock.

Letting workers and companies know you can offer your services over the phone, video conferencing to pass over instructions or even remote login access to review their device and fix issues will be all the more welcome in the current climate.

5. Consulting

Are you highly skilled in a specific business task, like finance, marketing, user experience, branding or product development? Well, businesses from all around the world could be looking for your expertise. Currently, individuals to large corporations are in need to have rock-solid advice as they aim to become leaner and more productive.

For those individuals and corporations that are struggling, you can offer them your aid and expertise. I would suggest starting with smaller clients and begin building a portfolio you can use as a pitch deck to land a bigger one.

Since you can offer your services remotely, you'll be able to schedule calls with stakeholders for progress, strategy and reporting. While depending on the tasks you need to complete some can be done without access and others will need request access to their backends via a VPN and start your work.

6. Sales reps

This job might sound like a strange inclusion. Still, it is an applicable one, seriously, its 2020 sales reps aren't going door to door any longer, they're networking. The modern sales rep uses their contacts to find the right people to speak to or leveraging platforms like Linkedin to get introductions or referrals to the right people.

Once a connection is established, discussions are moved to email before being taken into a face to face situation in most cases. So instead of having the face to face discussion, you can have it done via video conferencing where you can take stake holders through your presentation and answer direct questions.

The approach may be suited for B2B sales reps, but it doesn't mean B2B sales reps cannot benefit from the procedure, they need to alter their sales funnel. In a B2C approach, businesses could run ads which direct users to a landing page to speak to a sales rep or have a sales rep call them; this will drive a steady stream of leads into your contact pool which you can then try to sell or upsell via calls or video conferencing.

Pivot to profitability

It may feel uncomfortable for those who have always conducted business face to face, and it will take some getting used to but moving to digital service delivery can be far more beneficial than you might think. You'll learn how to use new tools, how to reach out to new leads and you may even offer this service in the future post lockdown, and it can help expand your business, especially if competitors are not offering the same value-added services.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on small business tips

Tags: Covid-19, Digital Business

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