Millions of Canadians are staying home to flatten the coronavirus curve. That’s great news for front line health workers but it’s probably bad news for your business. If you depend on foot traffic or a number painted on your work truck to attract clients, you need another way to reach your customers. In other words, you need to get online.
Websites, social media, streaming, advertising, online marketing – if your business is not online already it’s a lot to take in. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. These cloud-based tools will get you up and running quickly and painlessly. Each of these solutions has plenty of competition, so you’ll want to shop around a little.
If you have staff who sit at a computer all day, they should be at home. Every trip to the office increases the odds the corona virus will overwhelm the healthcare system. If you are working with Microsoft Office, explore their sharing tools so your staff can start working remotely.
Don’t have Microsoft Office? Luckily, Google has a whole suite of cloud-based office tools. Most come free with your Gmail account. If you’ve never clicked the nine little dots in the top right corner when you’re in Gmail, do it now. Select the triangle that says “Drive”. (Don’t have gmail? Just google Google Drive.)
Just like that, you’ve opened a cloud-based file management system where you can create and share documents, spreadsheets, calendars, presentations and more with your whole team. You choose who sees what and whether or not they can edit your work.
Be Active on Social Media
Now that you’ve connected with your staff remotely, what about your customers? The fastest way to reach them – and make sure they can reach you – is through a Facebook business page.
Don’t just park your page and forget about it. Invite everyone you know to like it, then create posts a couple times a week to keep your customers engaged. Pay attention to how they respond. Whenever they like and share something, do more of it, and don’t forget to read and respond to comments and private messages.
“But what about the customers who aren’t on Facebook?” you ask. To reach those folks, you need to…
Build a Website
We won’t lie to you. This is the hard part. Most businesses hire a pro. If you have the means to get yourself a web wizard, that’s what you should do. It makes a huge difference to your site’s quality and how much traffic it attracts. If you’re uninitiated, it will also save you a lot of migraines.
Can’t find a pro? That’s OK, you can still do this!. Building a website is a three part process: Buy a domain name, buy web hosting, and build a website. Shop around for web hosts, domain registrars and site builders. Many vendors offer everything you need in order to build your site, but you can choose a different domain registrar and web host if you want to.
If you’re new at this, Weebly is a great choice for building your first website. It’s a simple, sleek and intuitive drag-and-drop site builder with great layout options and built in e-commerce tools.
Accept Payments Online
If all this sounds a little daunting, we have good news. You don’t have to wait until you’ve mastered CSS to start accepting payments online. If you don’t want to rely on sketchy solutions like e-transfer, PayPal, or Venmo, try Wave’s free cloud-based accounting software.
You can link your business bank account to Wave’s online payment system and receive your money via direct deposit within 2 business days. Credit card payments are collected on Wave’s secure site, so you don’t need to build anything to get started. Wave allows you to generate and email invoices complete with a payment link. You can also create payment buttons for your website, generate financial reports, and more.
And that’s all there is to it. You’re doing business online.