Do you ever feel like hitting the pause button on 2020?

Normal life, as we know it, is being altered with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Across the world, businesses are forced to adapt to newer methods of operation due to government-directed lockdowns.

From Lagos to London, from New York to Hong Kong, entrepreneurs and corporate organizations are finding newer means of transacting, executing contracts, holding those important meetings and in the most innovative ways, delivering services. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and businesses may not have fully embraced digitization and will most likely struggle with operations.

Here are a few tips to help keep your business afloat during this pandemic.

1. Stay Connected: Tools for Communication & Collaboration

The Word Health Organization (WHO) and many medical experts have advised that to combat the spread of COVID-19, we all must maintain social distancing. Thanks to communication and collaboration software, this won’t prevent teams across the world from meeting as often as they want and collaborating on projects real time.

There are several platforms that you can take advantage of today to ensure that wherever you and your team are not cut off from one another. Businesses are increasingly turning to solutions such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype for Business and many other electronic conferencing solutions to ensure that their teams remain productive through this period of remote work and business disruption.

Here’s the best part, a lot of these applications are free to download, however, depending on you and your business needs, paid options that offer additional value add may also be available.

2. Access Your Documents Anywhere, Anytime: Cloud Storage Solutions

Over the years, we’ve become increasingly innovative in the ways we store data. From the floppy disk, CD Rom, USB Stick, External Hard drive and in recent times, THE CLOUD, we are finding more convenient and secure ways of data storage and management. Reactive measures such as lockdowns will disrupt the operations of companies who only rely on local isolated servers as these files will now be inaccessible.

For companies that have invested in cloud infrastructure– the story may be a little different. With data migrated to the cloud  employees across the country can continue working seamlessly – meaning that a Company  can still provide quality services to its customers in a new and improved manner.

Elaborating, the ripple effect of investing in cloud infrastructure is a true modernization of operations. However, newer risks around data security, access management, denial of service (DOS) will arise, and companies need to be innovative in their measures to mitigate such risks.

There are several cloud storage and infrastructure solutions available for free such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s OneDrive. Depending on your business needs and storage demands, these applications also offer paid options with larger storage capacities.

3. Customer Engagements: Email Marketing Solutions

Ever heard of the saying “out of sight, out of mind”?

There’s a huge chance that most of your customers are currently at home right now as a result of the lockdown. There has never been a better time for you to keep your customers updated on your activities, initiatives and industry developments.

For entrepreneurs, and small businesses, we have great news! Email marketing does not cost a lot to get started and in some instances some solutions are available to your business at no cost at all!

There are many email marketing solutions such as Mailchimp which can enable companies with large customer base, reach their clients and carry out insightful analysis

4. Customer Relationship Management

The essence of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to enable companies manage their interaction with their current and potential clientele. Using data analysis about customer history, CRM helps to improve business relationships with a focus on customer retention and increasing sales growth.

CRM software such as Microsoft Office Dynamics 365, SalesForce, Zoho CRM, SAP CRM,Hubspot CRM allows your business enhance customer relationship through managing customer interaction, tracking leads, and streamlining processes.

It is important to note that your business must go beyond investing in a CRM application.

You must ensure that whichever application you choose caters to the specific needs of your business operations as improper implementation may lead to more harm than good.

5. Website & Social Media Management

With business operations disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, your customers will be interested in knowing how your business is adapting to the situation i.e. is your business still open, are your products/services available online, security measures available to transacting with you virtually etc. While we advise that you keep your customers regularly updated on your activities through email marketing software, we equally advise that you take the following steps:

  • Provide a Useful Resources or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page on your website containing useful information on COVID-19. If your business has been seriously impacted by the crisis, you could explain how your business is adapting on your homepage and how best your customers can get in contact with you. Ensure that this page is always up to date.
  • Ensure that your contents are customer centric and not alarming. So, while we note the importance of keeping your customers informed, it is important that your contents do not also increase panic. Be conscious of overly dramatic language and ensure that any information being posted is credibly sourced e.g. statistics, news articles or helpful tips. You could create helpful infographics using free graphic design platforms such as Canva, Snappa, Xfig, Stencil and many more. Paid options are also available depending on your business needs.

These are interesting times and the ways we interact and transact are changing as the days go by. This may be the new normal for a long time yet.

Therefore, businesses must leverage on existing opportunities in technology to boost customer engagement which in turn could translate to profits.

Good luck everyone and Stay Safe!