Hello everyone!

We hope everyone is doing well despite everything going on in the world. We are all adapting every single day as changes to our workplace and the way we do business are being tested. Last week alone, over 500,000 Canadians had applied for EI (Employment Insurance) as a result of being laid off of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is (in the words of our leaders) “unprecedented times”, and indeed it is for our business, our families, our country, and the world!

With that in mind, many businesses are trying to figure out how to take things online when traditionally they didn’t have to. We are also hearing other people out of work talk about starting an online business as a way to make ends meet.

We work as a 100% remote team and we are no stranger to leveraging technology to run our business, so we wanted to share some of the best tools with you if you are trying to figure out what your next move will be.

Can you customers communicate or buy from you online?

For many of our clients, that answer is already ‘yes’ – in this case, you might consider using this time to update your website that might be out of date, or add additional tools and resources that people need at this time. As an example, our mortgage clients are adding pop-ups or buttons on their homepage with ‘Mortgage Relief Information’. 

If you do not currently have a website, you will soon be asking yourself, ‘what is the best platform or solution to pursue and what does it cost?’

Your website platform needs and cost will vary depending on what functionality you require. Here is a quick summary of the top 3:

WordPress

The sky’s the limit with what you can do with WordPress, which is why it’s best for information based sites that require a lot of customization, the EDS site is an example! Read more about WordPress and whether it’s right for your business here >>

Wix 

Wix is a good choice as a DIY option as it’s easier to use than WordPress. It’s affordable, has drag and drop design, and straightforward user experience. If you’re not very experienced in website building, Wix might be a good option for you! Read about the pros and cons here >> 

Shopify 

Do you have an online storefront? If not, try Shopify. Retail locations aren’t necessary, it’s 2020! You can definitely run a retail store without a physical location. Shopify is “one platform with all the ecommerce and point of sale features you need to start, run, and grow your business.” Read more about Shopify here >>

Meeting tools

If your team is now at home in their pyjamas, you can still have meetings and interact with them. Zoom is a great platform for this! You can share screens, and there’s the option of video or no video. They’ve even lifted the free time limit (40 minutes) for the time being. It’s a great tool to talk to your whole team at once!

Project Management

Let’s talk about keeping things in a queue… Project management online is ESSENTIAL in running a business remotely. Our fav tool is Trello, but we’ve tried many others! 

Trello helps us manage tasks so everyone knows what’s assigned to them, what’s in progress, and what needs to be invoiced. You can set up your workflow however you like – ours looks like this ‘To Do (unassigned) → in progress → for review → sent to client → done/needs to be invoiced.

Other popular project management tools include:

Recorded trainings or webinars

If you want to send a team member something quickly for them to work on, or show them how to do something, you can record a video with Loom, and send it their way. You can record your screen while you walk them through something at the same time as recording yourself! It’s also a great tool to record webinars with! Loom has got to be one of our absolute favourite tools. Recording yourself doing things to send to the team to help is also a fantastic way of building up a training library – image the next time you had to hire if you had all of your processes and to-dos recorded? AMAZING!

Marketing 

Another thing to mention is that marketing around these sensitive times can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to come to a halt. Being mindful, and addressing your marketing with empathy is important. 

First, consider what you pause and postpone to a later date. Change the timeline on major campaigns that may not get the attention you were expecting, and pause anything that may be seen as insensitive. If something isn’t appropriate right now, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run it in the future. 

Evaluate your imagery and language to make sure it’s relevant and not insensitive, don’t capitalize on the crisis, and stay positive but not ignorant. 

This is a good time to work on your online presence and your strategy. It will help bring you website traffic (and sales)! A blog, a social media strategy, and maybe an ad strategy will help build your presence.

What tools do you use to operate your business online? Are you going to give any of these a go? Let us know if we can help in any way. Stay safe and healthy everyone!