After the pandemic, a lot of things will go back to normal for small businesses. But, some things will remain changed forever. Here are five things that I think will change permanently for small business websites around the globe.
There will no longer be companies without an online presence. Up until now most companies are on the web, but some still (somehow) have not developed websites. What Covid – 19 has taught us is that you have to be able to do business online. At very least you need a site to communicate to people when you are closed or have special hours and circumstances. Now, that doesn’t mean everybody is selling 1 million products or have a full-fledged e-commerce site, but every small business needs a website. Chances are the companies who don’t have a website will not be long for this world. They are dinosaurs and will become extinct.
Even traditional brick and mortar stores that don’t sell online, will need the ability to do so. That may not be your entire product line, but it’s a good idea if you have some standard products that can always be bought online. That way your business is never totally shut down no matter the tragic circumstances.
If you are a professional service, such as a law firm or CPA, you now need the ability to be paid online. One of my clients is a law firm that has been around since the 1800s. They recently had us build an improved payment solution for their website. The new functionality has lead to quicker payments as well as a savings of of over $12,000 a year. People during the pandemic have been scared to even go to the post office in many cases. So, having the ability to get paid online is crucial. If your website is not set up to accept payments, then that would be a good place for you to start and be ready if this horrible circumstance ever comes around again.
Too many websites are still stagnant, static sites and when the pandemic hit they had no way to quickly update their websites. The days of building a site and never making changes are gone (as they should be!!). Every site should be built using a Content Management System or CMS that is user friendly.
The percentage of people viewing sites on cellphones and pads has reached an all time high. During traumatic times, people have little patience for websites that don’t display on their device of choice. So if you are a late adopter with a site that doesn’t look good everywhere, now is the time, make it happen!
Look, if I had told you that we would have a pandemic that would shut down the world, forcing millions out of work, you would’ve said I am crazy. But like a scary movie, our world became a nightmare with Covid-19. Similar to 911, some things changed forever. After 911, everything from travel, to the way we purchase stocks and our normal behavior shifted forever. The same thing has happened with the pandemic. Now, as no one could’ve predicted this, very few were ready for the new world order. Some companies actually thrived during this horrible time. Some have survived and sadly many will go out of business forever.
But, looking on the positive side (if there is one) we now will be planning ahead for the next pandemic. Our small businesses will be far more ready, as we have to find a way to keep business says surviving even during the worst times when we cannot conduct business face-to-face. Most of us will never go back to our normal jobs, going into an office 9 to 5, as many will remain working from home. But the work will still need to be done, just in a different fashion. We have to be ready.
My recommendation for small businesses is this: take a look at your small business website, figure out what you can do in the event of another global catastrophe. Determine what is the bare minimum you need to keep your business afloat and make it happen. And of course, if you need any help at all, please contact us, we are happy to assist.
I recently had a problem with a technology provider I do business with on a regular basis. I won’t mention their name, as I have been very impressed with their support over the last year and a half and I am not looking to harm their business or even leave them. I am just using a recent incident to make a point.
I ran into a problem where they had outages happening all the time. I went through all the normal channels, online chat, phone call, and emails.
At one point one of their managers sent me a nice note that they were looking into the problem, but then made the mistake of telling me that it might be time to upgrade my account at a cost that would be three times my current rate each month. The problem is, I had just upgraded my account within the last six months and was told this would handle my needs for myself and up to 50 accounts. (I only had 34 active accounts when the outage happened).
So this is when I came to think about this subject. I was having a terrible time with this company and rather than fix it, they tried to upsell me. Now don’t get me wrong, upselling as part of doing business. Companies want you to spend more money. I understand that, but as a small business myself, you need to watch your bills closely. Now, there are times your clients and customers need to upgrade in order to fulfill their needs properly. But, the time to try to get them to switch is not when you’re in the middle of an outage you can’t explain and when the customer is only using about 60% of resources in their account.
You learn a lot of lessons when you’re in the middle of a crisis, and how to handle things. Whenever I have downtime for any of my clients, I always put myself in their shoes and I never try and upsell them during an outage. Now there have been times where a client needs to upgrade their server as an example. Usually this is when they are getting a ton of traffic and need to be moved to their own dedicated accounts. But I always wait until things are back to normal and then recommend some options.
Bottom line: while up selling is a part of business, always wait for an opportune time. This is not when your clients or customers are unhappy with your service in the middle of an outage. Always think before you send that email, how would I feel when I received this note? Most people would be pissed to say the least as their sites are down and they are losing business. This is a good way to lose clients/customers.