Being housebound and unable to operate business as usual, has thrust a large chunk of the population into the world of virtual meetings and finding new and creative ways to adapt their skills to fit an online work world. Creating digital content is the new norm for how small businesses are combating the challenges of social distancing, for now, and for good.
The circumstances of this public health crisis has hit businesses hard, particularly small businesses. Those who are able to either complement, supplement or replace their in-person services with virtual interaction and recorded material are blossoming into a new type of business model and hopefully, a permanent new revenue stream.
Tips to Build Your Virtual Business
In the sea of options it is hard, if not impossible to weigh out all the choices for your new Virtual Business Toolbox, especially if the concepts are new to you. Here are some of the critical things to consider that can help you and your business survive this paradigm shift.
HELP! —– Web Development Support
In this environment, having the ability to update, react, change and improve your online presence is crucial. This includes mastering your social media channels, creating and adding digital content, trying out new platforms and integrating everything for the best possible user experience.
Finding available, affordable technical support goes beyond just your business website, but it must all work in sync, treating your website as the center that stitches your brand together.
If you already have these skills in house or are a handy coder or techie yourself, then you have an instant edge over the competition in this brave new world. If you need someone to help wade through the options and technical details while you focus on your new business model, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you already have a website that needs additional functionality or you need a site built from scratch, I can offer a host of technical and creative services or provide references to talented resources in the area to help out!
ACTION! —- Recording Equipment
If you haven’t done so already, turning your home office (or dining room) into a recording studio is a strong possibility. One of the biggest vehicles for making this shift successful is recording your work in some way. This requires some practice with proper lighting, computers, phones or camera recording features, various microphones and more.
The quality of your work is important and will improve over time, so just get the camera rolling and keep at it. Once you get your lighting, video and/or audio dialed in, keep your recording environment consistent. This will save you a ton of time in the long run and give you better results. Keep these things in mind for any of the following situations:
Prerecording Content – Including videos, product photography, music, readings, classes, meditations and podcasts.
Live Events – Social media streaming, Zoom, Google Hangouts or FaceTime meetings, or any number of live platforms currently available.
SELL! —- A New Kind of Product
All of these efforts are generally in pursuit of building engagement around a new kind of product or way to provide your services. It is important to work out your plan to ensure you can monetize it in a way that makes sense for the customer, for you and aligns with the market value.
Part of this planning should include a way to offer controlled access to your content if you plan to charge for it. This could be in the form of a membership driven website, or simply downloadable content. This is where the rubber hits the road between technology and business model and once again, there are many ways to achieve this.
Some things to consider when weighing out methods, tools and third party services to sell your products or services:
- Start up costs
- Ongoing fees
- Maintenance & support
- Scalability for growth
- Security of customer data
- Features that encourage continued use
Vendor Reputation and References
This sounds obvious, but it is always best to talk to someone you know and trust to get references when choosing a vendor that will be responsible for your data (your livelihood). So vetting is important and asking yourself questions like, “What if I want to move on from this vendor someday?”. You want to ensure that you will be able to migrate and take all your valuable content with you in the event that ever happens. Having someone help evaluate that for you, or be there to assist if the time comes, is a good idea.
Tip of the Iceberg
The items above are just a tiny sampling of topics that are relevant to the business challenges and opportunities of 2020. In 6 months there will likely be a whole new set of ideas, trends and applications out there changing the face of our new virtual business world. The goal, of course, is to find the best tools for growing your business and dig in!