- Businesses that will survive future obstacles, and growing trends, will be the ones that develop virtual and online strategies.
- Why Your Mindset Is So Important
- Developing Your Strategy
- Using Practical Tools
- Ideas and Examples
- An Accounting Firm
- A Bakery
- A Plumbing Company
For a long time, businesses have explored opportunities to provide virtual services or start a fully online company. When the pandemic of 2020 happened, COVID-19, for the first time in almost a century, businesses were forced to make a drastic decision about their operations when it came to person-to-person contact. Since then, we are confronted with one very important fact.
Businesses that will survive future obstacles, and growing trends, will be the ones that develop virtual and online strategies.
This does not mean your business has to be fully virtual. We will always need some form of brick and mortar or physical contact within industries to meet consumer needs. But when businesses develop a virtual operational strategy, they can increase their earning potential and help safeguard future pandemics and tragedies.
The founders of the Swiss Army Knife have famously said, “We think in generations, not in quarters.” They took it to heart when 9/11 happened and their famous traveling knife was now banned from airlines and other travel circles since it was considered a security threat.
A product with the majority of its sales was now banned. Instead of fighting for it and spending millions on marketing for short-term gains, they decided to expand on travel gear and adventure products. Now they are stronger than ever and the knife is only a portion of their revenue. Why? Because they planned for the future.
All our businesses can develop a successful virtual strategy. Depending on your industry, some are easier than others. A restaurant may have a harder time developing value virtually than a professional tutor who could easily just do video lessons. But we can all develop creative solutions that can strengthen and grow our companies, safeguarding it for trials ahead.
Just like what happened during COVID-19, businesses were forced to go in survival mode. The problem with this strategy is that they are just trying to last a few more weeks; a few more months until they slowly fade to irrelevance or bankruptcy. When businesses fight for comfort rather than change, they are at risk of peril.
Instead of survival, create your own permanent virtual business. Whether it is converting your entire business to virtual, or developing a new arm of operations, you can develop a long-term strategy that will undoubtedly help bring in new revenue.
At Profit Frog, we are always researching small businesses for trends and opportunities. We do this so we can provide value to owners like you. One of our strategists researched farmer’s market businesses in South Florida during social distancing in 2020. He noticed two essential things that divided successful strategies vs. those that failed.
One outdoor farmer’s market fought for what they could keep. They offered discounts but the place was dead. The need at the moment was health and safety. Since they could not provide it, they struggled to survive.
The other farmer's market, Mecca Farms Inc., solved the problem. They announced online their new program. Customers could place $10 in the back of their trunk. When they open it, the worker would place a box of produce or fruit. The food was random. That wasn’t the need. The need was something to sustain families and keep them safe.
Mecca Farms Inc. evolved. If they choose to, they can keep this as a profitable service. This is a great example of a hybrid physical and virtual business.
Similar businesses can develop an online ordering system. Companies like Farm Fresh to You deliver organic produce to your home or office.
When we change our mindset for the future, we can develop a successful online business.
Every strategy is different. You have to consider your industry, brand, community culture, workplace culture, limitations on resources and services. But all it takes is knowing who you are as a business, what needs you fulfill, and developing creative solutions to meet those needs.
Do you know what story you tell?
Your business tells a story. Even if it's not intentional.
Your story consists of a customer that has a problem. She finds someone like you who says you know the way to solve it—you have a plan. She follows that plan and she finally reaches success.
If you are a hair salon, you aren't just styling and cutting hair. A customer feels like he needs to groom himself. He feels uncomfortable and his confidence is low because his hair looks disheveled and unruly. As a hairstylist, you tell him you have a plan. You can cut his hair, style it, and craft it into something he feels proud of. He accepts your offer. You give him an amazing hairstyle and he feels he can conquer the world. You didn't cut his hair. You gave him an experience, a feeling, and inspiration.
When a hair salon knows its story. They can start transitioning to virtual services. Let’s be honest, hair cutting and styling is very intimate. If its physical store shut down, it would seem impossible to keep going. But a good virtual strategy that’s based on its story, makes all the difference.
A hairstylist can provide free Live Q&A. Things like, "Got Bad Hair? Let's Talk About It" can develop high engagement. The same professional can start paid services on lessons about styling your own hair. Since the stylist knows they are selling more than just cutting hair, they know that providing value will always encourage their customers to invest more in their business.
The possibilities are unless for businesses. Know your story and find a way to make it virtual.
In our article called "17 Tools Every Business Owner Should Use”, we provide many great resources, apps, and programs you can use virtually. Along with the list, develop ways to utilize Facebook and Instagram LIVE for high engagement and interaction.
Transition your website for virtual services. Any addresses and other static information can be featured through your home menu, but when you focus your website on online services (or at least an advertised landing page) you can direct your traffic to take action and purchase your offering.
Another great way to make your business virtual is by utilizing video tools. Zoom, Skype, and other platforms let you engage with customers. You can offer paid services like consulting, lessons, webinars and more. Almost every kind of business can offer some sort of service that relates to their value proposition and vision.
It’s one thing to give out concepts. It is another to actually walk away with actionable steps. Profit Frog believes in providing the best information while also giving you the steps to improve and grow on a real and practical level.
Here are some examples based on different types of businesses. These are creative approaches. It might work for you or it might not. But regardless, it will get your mind imagining in order to develop your unique strategy to transition your business for the future.
Accountants can utilize cloud technology within Quickbooks and other platforms for live services, bookkeeping and more. They can offer consulting services through video conferencing.
Since accountants depend on networking and referrals for the growth of their business, they can invest in a consistent email strategy that gives out value and tips for their clients. They can also utilize social media pages to promote their services and brand. They can offer LIVE sessions on social media providing advice and tips about preparing for tax season or other topics.
Their website would have an option to get services done online through a “discovery session”.
Bakers can advertise for catering, delivery, curbside pickup and other alternative methods to sell their goods. Their website would make it easy to order their food. They would heavily invest in social media and branding, especially during holidays and seasonal events.
Bakers can create LIVE sessions on baking a coffee cake or other easy homemade DIY projects. When they provide these lessons, customers become loyal to them and are more likely to purchase more products.
Bakers will utilize their blog for recipes and fun content for their customers, making them discoverable.
A baker’s website and online store is essential. If they make it easy to order, they can create a fully virtual bakery and deliver goods throughout the day.
Plumbers can invest in content marketing so that customers find them when they search for common plumbing problems online. These articles will have tutorials. The chances are high that they choose to hire the plumber instead when they see the time and experience it takes to do it.
Plumbers can produce content online that helps customers take care of their home and prevent future problems.
A plumber can publish an eBook on important topics like “How to Make Your Home More Sustainable” and more. This can be for purchase on the website or a free book with the exchange of an email. It will also encourage customers to hire the plumber to implement many of the solutions in the book.
While plumbers may never be able to go fully virtual, they can develop a hybrid solution. Plumbers can create consultation services for customers to call them for help as a service for simple problems. Plumbers can begin selling routine care on their website so they get paid upfront to provide scheduled maintenance services to homes.