No one expected COVID-19. While this might be a frightening time for most people, it is not without hope. With crisis, one invents opportunities. While this pandemic might force businesses and people to pivot, this might be a good time to reexamine and potentially expand your business! One of the keys to pivoting is to go digital.
Depending on which industry you are operating in, these are some suggestions to digitize your businesses.
Retail – As seen from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos net worth reaching USD 185 billion (a USD 13B jump in one day), we know that e-commerce has exploded thanks to COVID. That also signals tough competition. As such, in deciding how to move your retail business from offline to online, study first the audience, the popular categories and the geographical reach of different ecommerce platforms. For example, Shopify or Big Commerce is popular in North America whereas Shopline is in Asia. Etsy is concentrated with artisan products.
Trade fairs/ festivals/ markets – In many regions, the return of fairs is still nowhere in sight. If you have been an organizer for these types of events, do not sweat, there are many tools to organize virtual fairs, including VFairs, INXPO (https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/virtual-trade-show), to name a few. While the actual experience is not the same as in person, participants often find it more efficient and feasible to attend these events. You might also attract a new group of vendors who were traditionally excluded due to the prohibitive fee structure of exhibiting or the travel distance.
Education – Whether you are receiving or providing education, digitization impacts this industry substantially. The simplest tools for conducting education courses can be just Zoom or Skype but more comprehensive softwares include Google Classroom, Docebo, etc. (https://www.techradar.com/best/best-online-learning-platforms) There are also plenty of online learning providers (e.g. Coursera, Udemy, Masterclasses) in whom you can enroll. Yet to many, online learning is still inferior to in-person learning, which presents a new opportunity to train the trainer, training educators to be better online teachers for example.
Food and Beverages – No more dining in does not mean the death of the F&B businesses, given the rise in delivery businesses. Depending on which city you reside in, Ubereats, FoodPanda, Deliveroo or other local delivery startups are there to help (well of course by taking a big chunk of the revenue.) This makes it a great time to streamline your menu offering based on geography. Oftentimes, you can get insightful data from these delivery companies on what cuisine, dishes or price points are the most popular in respective districts or neighborhoods. Formulating the right offering using those data can help you serve a better menu even after the pandemic.
Staffing – WFH is a buzz word in 2020. Learning how to manage your staff remotely can be challenging but there are many collaborative tools to help managers achieve better results. Use SLACK for team communication (including internal emails), Mural for brainstorming, JOBDOH for GPS checking in- and out, or a simple Zoom for team meetings or team building such as team lunches. Also, if you are tight on budget, hire part-timers or freelancers to take tasks off your hand so you can focus on more value-added responsibilities such as meeting with clients. Tasks such as prospecting, researching on ways to acquire more customers, studying tools to digitize your businesses can easily be outsourced. Check out Upwork for do-it-yourself services or JOBDOH for a customized approach.
Xania Wong is the founder of JOBDOH, a digital hiring platform to help SMEs get their tasks done efficiently.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to hire someone to help digitize your business or help you be more productive during this difficult time!