8 Steps to Take When Your Business Goes Virtual
New York State is On Pause for at least the next two weeks, but that doesn’t mean your business should be stagnant.
Thanks to technology, many businesses that are not deemed “essential” have been able to operate remotely. If your business must close, there are many ways you can communicate with past and future customers to stay top of mind for when it is time to open your doors again.
Here are some steps you can take in the meantime:
1. Craft Your Message
Whether your business can remain open in some form or you must close, it’s important to have a succinct message.
Identify all audiences with whom you need to communicate. This could include existing customers, vendors, the general public, etc. Write a clear message for each audience including how your team will continue to perform their work remotely. Be sure all employees have this statement so everyone is on the same page as they communicate with each audience.
2. Plan ahead
Make sure your employees have the technology, support and supplies they need. Create different plans for various scenarios. There are many unknowns at this time. Being able to anticipate many different outcomes and how your business will pivot its strategy can help in the future.
3. Update Online Listings
First, be sure your website is updated. Next, ensure your online listings (e.g. Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Social Media pages and other websites such as your local Chamber) have your correct and updated hours of operation. If your employees are working remotely, when and how can they be reached? If your phone number is being forwarded to an employee, what times is that phone transfer active? Send your updated information to the local media as well since many of them are maintaining lists of open businesses. Click here to send us your updates!
4. Identify all tools to communicate with your audiences
In what virtual ways can you communicate with your audiences? If you don’t already collect and maintain a database of email addresses, now would be a great time to start. Make sure people can sign up for e-newsletters on your website. Use social media to share e-newsletter signup forms.
5. Communicate any new practices
How have your operations shifted now with your team working remotely? Have deadlines moved? What information should your customers and others know about your business now? Communicate anything about new practices on all of your digital platforms.
6. Communicate your safety protocols during this time.
Be sure to communicate how your company is acting responsibly at this time. If you are an essential business, what are the steps you have taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19? If you are not and your team is working remotely, are there any ways you used to interact with customers that are different now as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve to prevent our healthcare professionals from becoming overwhelmed.
7. How can your business help?
Is there a way your business can help clients and customers get through this difficult time? Do you offer products or services that could help to businesses that are working remotely or anyone else in the community? Are there any discounts you could offer at this time? Are there any webinars or free virtual resources you could offer that would be of help to people and other businesses in the community?
8. Stay Active
Even if your business is not actively seeking customers or clients at this time, keep your digital presence robust. Continue to communicate with your clients and customers. Show them they are valued. If your business is active, showcase what you are doing virtually. This could be a good time to plan out posts like staff introductions or a basic social media post series about your business. Do you already have virtual assets like tours or videos? If there are virtual networking opportunities, be sure to take part and stay in touch so you can nurture relationships while practicing social distancing.
Looking for more resources? Constant Contact has a great Small Business Survival Kit. Check it out here.
In addition, Lake George Chamber members can get a discount when they sign up for Constant Contact. Email Amanda Metzger to learn more.
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