Business owners have been motivated for years to take their bricks and mortar businesses online, seeing the benefits of exposure, efficiency and for some online sales. However, for many conflicting priorities, time and budget constraints have held them back.
Then welcome 2020! Many of us had high hopes for this year, a new decade, a nice synergy of numbers, surely a year to grow and smash goals.
And here we are instead, staring down the barrel of the biggest business upheaval many of us have ever faced. Feeling powerless and like years of hard work, or worse a freshly opened business, is now in jeopardy.
What small business has in its favour, is the ability to be nimble, make quick decisions and change course. Right now some of the best strategies are the ones, we thought we didn’t have time for.
We wanted to take a moment and share our top 4 Ideas for Bricks and Mortar to go Online.
Zero. Build or update your website.
Use the time on your hands right now to finally have your website updated, or perhaps finally get your very first website!
Our advice to you is: you don’t need a complicated website to make it work for you. All you need is a simple and straightforward website that you can build on overtime.
If you have regular and loyal customers, they’ll be open to continue to support your business by making purchases directly through you.
Getting a basic set up created professionally with minimal content can create a base for you to DIY on top of, and could save you. There are also some great Small Business Grants right now for businesses that have lost significant revenue, and this could help fund your foray into digital.
One. Zoom (video call) consults.
Industries: Health, Beauty, IT, Marketing, Operations, Management, Finance, HR, Legal, Risk & Compliance, NDIS, Medical, Education
For a business that already offered a form of consultation as part of their service, this is simply moving your face-to-face meetings to a video call. But for industries such as health and beauty, this may feel completely new!
The first thing we would recommend is to make sure your website (and social media profiles and pages) clearly states you conduct video consultations. Mention whether or not this is a paid or complimentary service.
What platform should you use? We personally use Zoom – it’s proven reliable and reasonably priced. If you’re conducting 1:1 meetings, it’ll be free for unlimited uses!
Before you go into the meeting, have a structure ready:
- Duration of meeting.
- Agenda. Have a clear structure and include goals, ample time set aside for the client to ask you questions, and an exclusive offer at the end to ensure the client comes back.
- Branded Take-home materials. Create value for your clients by sending them valuable and exclusive materials.
Two. Sell your products online aka eCommerce.
Industries: Health, Beauty, Personal Training, Professional Services, Clothing, Hospitality
Many health and beauty services have quickly pivoted with DIY packs that can be purchased like root touch up kits, nail maintenance kits and more. There is also an opportunity to sell products like Shampoo, Nail Polish, Vitamins and more online. It’s no wonder Shopify sales have gone up in the last month!
If your business is purely services, such as Personal Training, consider creating a training program that you could sell. If there is equipment your clients enjoyed, add them to your website!
You may even be an accounting or law firm. List your most popular services in different price ranges, and consider what could be sold as a template or guide.
Three. Private Facebook Groups.
Facebook groups can be created to exclusively invite members for content that isn’t publicly available. There are Facebook groups out there that require a payment to join – this could be something you could consider if the content you share holds confidentiality and is very high in value.
The main aim of your Facebook group is to stay connected, cement loyalty and show you are showing up and adding value for your existing clients.
Read our latest blog for our detailed guide.
Four. Youtube or Video Tutorials
Industries: Health, Beauty, Personal Training, Business Consultation, Food & Beverage.
Creating videos and becoming a ‘Youtuber’ may seem daunting – it seems you require video editing skills, high production value, expensive equipment etc.
But in reality, if you already have a smartphone, there’s your camera there. Video editing? It doesn’t have to be full of special effects. Your phone probably already has a video editor and there are many free apps you can use to edit. Add your logo, captions, music to your liking.
Simple goes a long way. As long as you’re talking about a problem and providing a solution – creating direct value for your viewer. Embrace DIY projects and position yourself as an expert!
Four. Online Training.
Industries: Beauty, Personal Training, Sales, HR, Education, virtually all.
Online training, if seen as education, can be applied to all industries. Where there is an opportunity for one to upskill in their chosen industry, they’ll be searching for ways to sign up to an online course!
An example is the Beauty industry. Online training has grown exponentially with growing numbers in entrepreneurs and sole business operators. A brow bar or eyelash extension business could be providing online training courses to industry professionals (beginners and intermediate) at a discounted rate as face-to-face training is not an option.
It will take time to create and write your training modules. Some prerequisites would be to have a clear business model with pricing and costs mapped out. Always check for legal requirements or obligations you must meet for industry standards and compliance. Lastly, make sure your website is ready to showcase your course and take sales!