While everything and everyone is on lockdown, how can a “local” business still bring in a little revenue? How can you set yourself up for a strong comeback? And how can you do it from your yurt?
As you might guess, you do it by offering an online or “tele” version of at least one of your services. Customers/clients/patients may need to keep their distance, but many still want or need now what you offer. Only a video, phone, or other online option meets both of those needs.
The problem now is you’re not sure where to begin, because you don’t have examples or blueprints of online-only services that you can adapt to your situation.
I’m not saying a remote option is an option for every business. Some businesses can only do their work in-person, and don’t have a practical online option. (Movers, roofers, dentists, and others come to mind.) Others can ship, or deliver, or offer gift cards or prepay options, so this post isn’t geared to those businesses as much. But if my experience before and during COVID-19 is any indication, a solid 75% of businesses can roll out an online-only service of value to local or non-local customers.
Below are examples of non-ecommerce, mostly “local” businesses that offer online services. (Some of these examples are from current or one-time clients.) The online or remote service they offer is an option both for people nearby and for non-locals. As you go through the list, think of what kind of rigging might just work for you.
Example 1: Acoustica Projects
Big strength: With people spending more – or most – of their time working at home, acoustics and soundproofing (usually get taken for granted) becomes important. On that note, Acoustica Projects now facilitates virtual meetings for their clients to discuss noise problems that they might have at home – or anywhere else. These meetings consist of consultations which are usually conducted in-person to minimise contact. When needed, their noise control experts can still come on-site.
Example 2: Salt Finance
Big strength: In these unprecedented times, financial services and consultations are needed more than ever. Salt Finance assure their clients that they are still here and working for you. They will not close, and they have no plans to close. They are available for consultations, and will continuously provide information and update for their clients amidst the outbreak.
Example 3: Golden Crust Pizza
Big strength: Golden Crust have offered online services even before the outbreak – so it’s not a new service. However, ever since the outbreak, they have only been growing stronger with their online services. They offer different promotions every day and stay available for their customers in the best way possible.
Example 4: Sydney Breast Associates
Big strength: As challenging as it might be, we cannot dismiss healthcare as one of the most important aspects of our lives. Therefore, Sydney Breast Associates still offer consultations for their patients and those who might need help. Simply leave your contact details on their website, and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible. They also encourage patients to schedule an appointment as soon as possible should their conditions be urgent in nature.
Example 5: JCL Legal
Big strength: They are available for consultations for legal services, such as Civil Litigation, Family and De Facto, Statutory Demand, Migration Agent, Notary Public, etc.
I hope those examples gave you some ideas for the online version of your service, whether you’re trying to ramp it up or roll it out for the first time. Getting a blueprint is the hard part, and probably the most important part, but here are 5 principles I suggest you keep in mind when figuring out your online service:
- It must solve or help with a problem people have now.
- It must help in self-contained way, and not just serve as initial consultation or a free quote.
- It won’t necessarily provide all the things you can do in-person, and that’s probably OK.
- It should be available and helpful to non-local people, too.
- It should probably be a service you’ll still want to keep around as a permanent component of your business.
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