Sink or Swim

First published online in The Paper 

The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has already demonstrated how quickly our lives and businesses can be impacted by shutdowns. 

Covid-19 has been a clear “sink or swim” moment for many organisations and has meant the closing of many businesses. It has also shown the importance of innovation and digitalisation in reaching existing or new customers, to remain afloat or thrive. 

There is barely a business or industry that hasn’t had to reshape the way they do business over the past couple of months. The ramifications have been enormous for marketing, commerce and advertising across all industries. All have had to quickly rethink the way they work in order to create a sustainable model.

Data shows that larger businesses are increasing sales, while the small business retail sector is experiencing a downturn. Now more than ever it is essential to have an online presence and for us to be supporting small businesses.

With millions of people having spent much of the past months at home, there has been a surge in online activity for both products and services in a range of industries.

The positives that can come of this are that barriers can be broken down. So while you may have once had only local custom, by moving online and pivoting your business model it allows a broader reach of customers.

A perfect example is, of course, this article that you are reading now in The Paper. With the closing of many traditional media outlets over the past few months in Australia this has paved the way for innovative journalists to create new online media outlets providing local and national news to a broader audience.

Matt Dunn, Editor of The Paper said, “In the end, our decision to choose an online platform was simple. There was really no other option. With the potential for wider reach and instantaneous impact, there is no comparison to the old print model.” 

I have helped numerous businesses both in Australia and the UK to pivot their business models since Covid began in January. From helping legal firms to create online meeting spaces to videoing performances for new websites that would have normally been seen in person. There are a range of activities and programs that can be utilised to benefit businesses depending on their needs and that of their audience.

Each business will have different digital requirements. There is no one size fits all approach. However you may want to consider the following tips to ensure your online success.

  • Be clear who your audience is. This will inform which social media platforms you use i.e., there’s no point using Snapchat if your target market doesn’t use it.

  • Consider whether you need a website or if you can just use a social media platform for your service or products.

  • Think of who you can collaborate with either in your local area or more broadly to gain traction and expand your online presence.

  • Have a solid brand and a plan of what you will do. Online activities are just one tactic, albeit an increasingly important one – but you must set strong foundations first.

  • Analyse. Ensure you are analysing your online activity regularly to see what is and isn’t working.

  • Consider a range of online apps and software that you may use to host meetings, online webinars and events, podcasts, videos etc.

  • Ensure a mix of activities for your business. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.