How To Guide: Building Online Resilience into your Business

We are all aware of the benefits of being able to trade online in a business.

Imagine though, upgrading your business completely to make it more resilient forever by taking more of your business online.

The pandemic has made us all take a long look at how we do business and our business models. We have all experienced moments when we have had to think of a new way of doing things.

But what about turning our whole businesses on their heads for the longer term? What about changing or adding in products and services that will build value into your business in a new way?

Even if you have a completely place based business (holiday accommodation, hairdressers, cafe, shop) there may be ways of creating a new online part to your business that will provide an enhanced service to your customers and make your business more resilient to future bumps in the road.

Here are a few ideas to help you get creative and maybe start to look at your business from a whole new direction.

  1. Simply sell online: if you have a retail space, market stall or you sell wholesale, then make sure you have a robust system to sell your products direct to customers with as little margin taken off as possible. Using an e-commerce element on your own website might be better than using Etsy, Ebay or any other third party operation. Most website platforms like WordPress have simple e-commerce add ons like WooCommerce. Online shopping has continued to see a strong growth in popularity and is not set to change.
  2. Deliver your expertise: if you usually host courses, workshops or tutorials then taking these online make obvious sense. You can bring the ‘you’ part in by having live sessions as part of a course too. Think about evergreen courses that can be placed on your website and bought at any time – providing income while you sleep. If you currently don’t host a course but provide services that some of your customers could try themselves, then again try taking this online. Hairdressers who share tutorials on occasion hair or temporary hair colouring may be a new relationship that can blossom for both parties.
  3. Booking & more: it is essential to ensure that customers are in the driving seat when they want to take an action. A great question to ask yourself is can a customer book with you in the dead of night or can they buy a gift voucher when you’re closed? However small the offer is, providing a quick & easy way to solve their problem is key. Think too about a click & collect service. This works even for small businesses with modern software. For example: cafes who have to halve their covers due to social distancing might like to create a click & collect coffee & cake to be picked up at a hatch. Convenient & safe for the customer and a bit of additional turnover for you.
  4. Add new products and services to your business: don’t be afraid to pivot – even just a little. For example, if you’re a closed B&B but you bake a mean loaf of sourdough, then why not host new mini online workshop. If you own a cafe with a famous favourite cake. Why not gather the ingredients in a bag to sell with instructions.
  5. When you can’t think of anything to sell (on or off line): all is not lost. Make sure you are using online software that gathers an interested audience that are already bought into your business. Creating email marketing lists that make users feel special, exclusive or simply well informed is of huge value in a business. This will keep an audience interested and keen to buy as soon as you have managed to get your online selling ready to go.

Some of you might want tech support so don’t be alone. There are lots of How To Guides and tutorials to tap into and you can ask for help in the Facebook Group or Slack space. We can help you or find experts who can. Don’t let a skills gap stop you taking new steps to make your business resilient.