With the recent crisis of COVID-19/Coronavirus, many small businesses have felt slighted in many ways. Small businesses are the lifeblood of this economy making up the majority of companies in the United States. With that said, many businesses rely on each other for products and services, with technology being a huge focus and pain point for most.
Right now, the issue is that many business owners either have an entire workforce at home or their web presence, or their digital capabilities, are not up to par. With many states currently still under lockdown/quarantine, more people are spending time online. We will continue to see this trend even as things get back to some level of normalcy. Most consumers are finding service providers on the internet, so if you are a small business and aren’t optimized to be found online, you are missing a ton of traffic.
I attribute it to a brick and mortar location in this way; imagine your small business used to be on a major thoroughfare, now it’s moved off to a residential neighborhood. One minute you are getting a ton of foot traffic (web traffic) the next you are a literal ghost town for customers. That’s really the analogy for the huge amount of impact not having a store on a major highway: with the highway being Google and the other social platforms.
Many business owners I speak to have some type of web presence, like a website or basic Facebook business page, but there’s really no activity on it. Maybe the website was built 5 years ago and nobody ever thought to touch it, now it’s on the bottom of the Google ocean of search results. Same thing with social media, most businesses have that basic FB business page, but there’s only a few dozen or so followers with weak engagement.
Companies that either always had a strong digital strategy going into this thing, or are doubling down now, will be able to survive and flourish amongst the rubble around them. Digital strategy and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are crucial as its an entire form of getting eyeballs on your business when people are looking for what you sell. Also, if your competition is doing it better, or just plain doing it, they will shut you out quickly. Such as a restaurant without online ordering, or a novelty shop without curbside pickup scheduling. The list goes on.
In regard to the remote or virtual workforce, for the whole “work from home” environment we are currently in, many companies just weren’t prepared for it. Many employees reported to an office every single day and didn’t have a mobile work device to take home. Then the cybersecurity aspect of allowing employees to use their own personal computers on an unprotected network to access the company’s sensitive information.
Many IT support companies were hit hard, in a positive way, with many contracted IT managed services organizations being put to work. IT organizations were quickly dispatched to deploy anti-virus software, mobile equipment like laptops, tablets, monitors, power strips, and remote help desk support. The market was flushed with the need to quickly turn millions of companies into an entirely remote workforce.
Not only did this impact existing businesses, we are also witnessing a huge insurgence of start-ups and brand new online small businesses. Many of them 100% online and remote. No need to have a physical location when we have all the tools to get the job done virtually. These new companies being structured currently will fill the gap in the market where many other businesses are going under.
Coming out of this pandemic will be an entirely new business landscape. Complete with technologically altered existing businesses as well as an entire movement of new businesses ready to take on the world with all the freshly exposed commerce opportunity.
This content is brought to you by Patrick Brouillette.