Living in lockdown for the past two months has left most businesses in a desperate state. The true impact and repercussions of the pandemic is not yet fully quantified, and sadly the end is by no means in sight.
Jacqueline Raw, founder of Ycagel, a marketing consulting and services firm, says all is not yet lost. “In every crisis, there exists an opportunity. We must be wise enough to see it and muster the courage to pursue it.” The opportunity exists online. “Being able to migrate into the online space and unlock the revenue-generating potential that a digital strategy has for businesses, is critical to the survival of thousands of businesses across our country.”
She adds that businesses have nothing to lose by going online. “Like zero risk. In fact, if you can take your business online, you can scale bigger and quicker than ever before and into markets and countries, you might never have considered. Your biggest challenge is going to be overcoming your own cerebral fears and simply putting yourself out there and getting the job done.”
But, where do you start? Jacqueline offers three ways to take your business online, now:
- Find your online product. You have something you can sell online – you just have to figure out what it is! It doesn’t matter if you’re a panel beater or a nail technician; your business has an opportunity to diversify into the online space. After having consulted to a variety of different goods- and service-based businesses, I have yet to encounter a business that cannot generate revenue online. The key is to define your specialist branch of knowledge (won through years of experience in your industry) and then repackage that information in a way that is valuable to customers. It might sound like an oversimplification of a more complex process, but it’s not. Start with a SWOT analysis on your business – to get a clear view of your current reality and where your opportunities are. Then do a gap analysis of your market – to identify where can you slot in. Once you have an idea of what it is that you can take online, you’re ready for the next step.
- Select the right platform for your customer: Is your online product or service best suited for a social media platform? Do you need to drive video more aggressively to land value? Do you need customers to be able to buy online? Is your online offering a once-off sale or will people keep coming back to engage with you? Answering these questions will help you select the right mix of digital channels to distribute your product/service. The biggest rookie error when going digital is trying to get onto every platform all at once. Now, as much as I advocate relentless visibility online, I do have to say that when it comes to existing online, it’s better to do one or two things insanely well and then grow from there. When selecting your platform, you’re going to have to select it from the inside out. Which platforms are your customers most likely to engage with you on? Which platforms are they most comfortable using? You can’t choose a platform just because you’re familiar with it or it’s the least intimidating – make the right call with your customer and their online journey in mind.
- Take the leap. Don’t wait, take this opportunity and launch your business online. Done is better than perfect. The best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago, and the next best time is today. Just do it. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.