Move Into The Online Space
At Zensurance, we have always conducted business virtually. A secure website and online quote application are the cornerstones of our business. However, if you’re one of the many small businesses throughout the country without an online presence, you may be suddenly wondering how you’re going to promote your business without a physical storefront or word-of-mouth.
Establishing an online presence is the first step to taking your business digital. Setting up a website these days is easy. Affordable website solution tools such as Squarespace and Wix allow you to build and launch a fully customizable site in a couple of hours, plus most of their plans offer e-commerce support, online payment platforms, and digital marketing tools.
For those who aren’t as tech-savvy or need extra support, Google Canada has committed $1M in funding to help small businesses get online. The DMS ShopHERE program provides hands-on assistance, free tools, and training to help small business owners start selling online quickly, for free. Click here to see if you’re eligible: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/
Communicate Expectations Early On
It’s easy to keep staff on task and course-correct when you’re all in one place, the transition to virtual, managers may have a difficult time holding staff accountable and keeping them on track. For your peace of mind, and theirs, it is important to clearly communicate expectations around task and project completion.
While on-site management promotes time-based deliverables, remote working introduces distractions and interruptions not typically found in the office, thus increasing the need for flexibility. Clearly outlining expectations about what needs to be done via deadlines, instead of how it should be done, helps you avoid uncomfortable misunderstandings later down the line by allowing staff to adjust their schedule around distractions while managing to complete their work on time.
Furthermore, establishing boundaries will help you and your staff better adapt to the new situation. If you prefer ad-hoc meetings to be scheduled in the morning to allow you to tackle bigger projects in the afternoon, let your coworkers and staff know. Additional points if you collaborate with your staff to find processes and solutions that suit independent work styles and avoid micromanagement.
Systems and Software
Technology is the best tool when you work remotely. There are so many solutions that allow for successful communication, project management and team collaboration available to individual freelancers and businesses alike. If you were already using solutions before you make the switch to remote, be sure that they are sufficient enough and accessible for your team to use remotely. Conduct an audit to identify areas where a software system may be able to support product-specific work or task collaboration in place of physical co-work.
You may also consider allocating some of the funds otherwise spent on office overhead to helping your staff set up their home office with additional monitors or other equipment they need to make the transition easy.