I lead communications and engagement projects at Crazy Domains, Vodien & Sitebeat
Entrepreneurs across Australia are refusing to let COVID-19 lockdowns stall business activity by going digital. But this is not the easiest hurdle to overcome. A recent study by Crazy Domains found that almost 4 in 10 (38%) respondents, including Australia’s small to medium businesses, have hit roadblocks because of technology hurdles.
So how can businesses better future-proof and equip themselves for the online hustle?
I was fortunate enough to get behind-the-scenes insights on what some of Australia’s top industry titans will be sharing on this topic at OnlineFest 2020. Here’s a rundown of five big takeaways:
1. Physical doors to your business may close but we have an opportunity to open them online
If being virtual matches your business model, now’s the time to take it online. And if it doesn’t, think about how it can.
“Still handing out business cards and a brochure, left wondering why [you] haven’t got any work? These days people are looking online. You need to be online.”
Mark Evans, CEO of Crazy Domains.
Mark revealed that 40% of customers surveyed were held back from reaching their annual goals this year because of technology restraints.
Despite the hurdles 2020 has thrown our way, this year has also been the online accelerant of the decade. Some studies even suggest that for companies who were open to change, it has helped to speed up their digital transformation by six years.
2. Pivoting online should not be seen as a failure, it’s about staying relevant
“For the first time businesses are being forced to rip that Band-Aid off.”
Gen George, Executive Director at Genry Capital.
It’s exciting to see the many success stories coming out of 2020. They’ve been especially evident in sectors like hospitality, where local restaurants, cafes and more, have transformed their traditional mode of operations from physical to online.
By adapting their business models and infrastructures, existing companies have stayed relevant. On this, Gen mentioned that agility with product offerings saw some startups growing three to five times faster than expected.
3. Embrace the change, get comfortable with digital connectivity
“I’m really happy that during this COVID period everybody has accelerated the way they do business. I think this is overall a good thing not just for startups but also for companies in general.”
Maxine Ryan, Founder of ProsperApp.
The shift to digital has even changed up everything – including newsrooms. Maxine pointed out during a recent TV interview how interesting it was that video calling tools meant she could connect online, despite not being physically present in-studio.
You can bring this optimism to approaching an online business environment. After all, being digitally literate permeates through all types of work that we’re doing today.
4. Simply going online isn’t enough, marketing your brand is important
“See what works, what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to pull the plug, it’s all about testing and adapting without throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at it succeeding.” Gen George, Executive Director at Genry Capital.
Going virtual does not automatically make a business successful. Marketing your brand and building its credibility the right way is pivotal for growth. The good news is, this does not have to be an expensive exercise. For instance, you can start with a small test and a tight budget by trying out some social media adverts using different strategies to see what works best.
5. Don’t be a perfectionist, not all entrepreneurial journeys follow the same path
“You can actually launch a product in the first initial phase, and it doesn’t have to be completely perfect. You just have to prove that your concept works and then build on from there.” Maxine Ryan, Founder of ProsperApp.
This also applies to launching a website or marketing campaign. If you’re not visible and reaching the right customers you might as well not exist online.
Disclaimer: I work for Crazy Domains. This was how I’m able to share these behind-the-scenes insights from the speakers who will be at OnlineFest 2020.