Crisis Management. How to Transfer Your Business Online?

Rick Mess       |       Apr21, 2020

A crisis is not the end of the world. It’s only the end of the world as you know it — and there is a difference. Because at its core, any crisis means new opportunities to develop your business in unexpected ways.

The coronavirus crisis is not an exception. It opens up new horizons, as long as you accept that the reality is changing, and there is no going back. The world after COVID-19 will not be the same, and you need to start thinking of how you are going to handle it.

Business is somewhat similar to the evolutionary process. As Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change”. And, before we get into it, there’s one thing you need to understand, if you want to adapt your business — it’s not going to be easy.

Crisis affects all countries, and by extension, all businesses. And the chances of survival for your company heavily depend on its location, since each government handles crises in its unique way. If your government is passive and ineffective — your company is in danger, and nobody else will save it. Which means it’s time for you to step up and do it yourself.

The governments worldwide are aiming for isolationism, enforcing control, and limiting their citizens’ rights — and most of those limitations will remain once the crisis rolls over. There will be gaps in the supply chains, the business activity will lower, and the need for transportation will become much lower compared to the pre-crisis world. These changes are bound to affect the world — and that means that someone can profit from it. Let’s make sure it’s you.

Inevitable Changes in Business:

1. This crisis will change the way we look at work. The role of electronic services, including ones provided by the government, will grow; the processes will be optimized, and therefore the economy will get a boost. A lot of businesses will switch to online models.

2. Work from home will no longer be ostracized. Reduced time and financial costs will make businesses more efficient.

3. Work processes will be reorganized, accounting for new technologies, algorithms, production and process automation, and virtual reality.

4. Weak and inefficient companies will leave the market, which will give it a booster shot.

5. 20%-25% of migrant workers will return home. They will have experience and different expectations for quality of work. Some of them will be ready-made entrepreneurs with new ideas who only need support to succeed.

Inevitable Changes in People:

1. People will get more worried about their health. There will be a higher demand for recommendations on immune system boosting, self-care, disinfection, and personal hygiene.

2. The health care approach will be different. Screening will become a regular affair, which will lead to higher detection rates not only for the virus, but also for other diseases.

3. There will be more opportunities for remote work and education.

4. Delivery services will become more popular and plentiful.

5. Demand for live services will grow.

How to Transfer a Business Online

The main goal behind establishing a crisis management system is adjusting the company towards the needs of the market. Ideally, this system should deliver a hierarchy of goals and tasks you need to accomplish to survive.

So let’s save you some time — with all the changes mentioned above, your primary goal should be shifting your offline company into an online business. And it can be done fast. There are entire web studios that specialize in designing commercial websites for both small and large companies.

Here’s what you are going to do, in order to transfer your working business online:

As a result of these changes to the business processes, you will create an entirely new model for your company. And that’s alright, since the market will be different too.

However, there is something you should account for. When you go online, you need to make sure that your existing customers are ready to follow you and will not be offered inferior service on your new website. If they stick with you, they will become a stepping stone for further online expansion — so make sure they will stick with you!

Yet, you will also have to build new relations with your online-only customers — and that might not be as easy as you think. Since it’s a new market, you can kiss your previous marketing experience goodbye and start relearning everything you know about selling to your customer.

How to Make Your Business Sell Online

Switching to online will allow you to ascend your business to a whole new level. On the Internet, expansion happens much faster and brings you more results — which means that the best time to transfer was yesterday. Still, today is the next best thing.

How to Transfer a Business Online: Your Website

Once you decide to adapt your business to a new online reality, it’s time to think about how exactly you are going to do it.

Step 1. Preliminary analytics

It is essential to analyze the target audience and competitors. The more information you gather, the better your chances of developing working hypotheses and understanding which advertising channel to use.

Target audience analysis. The method of collecting the data depends on the industry you work in. It is worth talking to employees who work with clients, survey the audience on the website or in social networks, read the forums, and join groups where your target audience gathers. You need to know what your audience wants before you begin writing down your proposition.

Competition analysis. Look for competing websites at the top of the search for the primary keywords. For example, if you sell knitwear, type “Buy Knitwear” in Google and carefully examine the first 10–15 websites. Evaluate their user-friendliness, promotions and features that increase sales. There are also special services for analyzing competitors’ advertising campaigns, such as SpyWords, SemRUSH, SimilarWeb.

Market analysis. Estimate the demand, see if there are seasonal fluctuations in your niche, calculate the potential traffic volume. If you see that the market can not possibly sustain you — rethink your proposition and approach, make them more competitive.

Step 2. Creating a website

Going online is now necessary for anyone who still wants a healthy business. However, web pages come in lots of flavors, and you need to decide on one before you move forward.

When it comes to making their first websites, companies both large and small usually go for one of these options:

Let’s take a closer look at each of those website types and see which one is right for you.

Profile website/Promotional website/Online Catalog

All these website types are meant to inform visitors about what the company is and what it does. Each of them have their unique features:

Online Store

The most popular and typical representative of a virtual store. It is created for online trading and has a built-in payment system. The popularity of this type of website is based on the obvious savings and convenience of doing business. In essence, a company does not need to pay rent and maintain a large staff, yet can still have a huge inventory and sell nationwide easily.

A well-designed and promoted website allows you to reach a huge audience and quickly makes up the costs of its creation and promotion.

The example of a website developed by Outcrowd

Corporate Portal

This one is somewhat similar to a profile website, but only superficially. It is much grander and deeper in scope, and grants a better understanding of the company’s infrastructure. Aside from customer-facing pages, it contains the company’s news feed and a closed internal forum for the employees, where issues can be resolved on-the-spot.

A corporate portal often features a variety of unusual features — like a Knowledge Base or a demo for the company’s product. If there’s a need, it can present information in different languages, as well as have direct contact forms for consulting and support.

Aside from the types mentioned here, a news website could be an excellent way to do business or promote a new online project. You can also look into a blog or a video blog, as well as a content resource that would serve its customers both information and advertisements.

However, sometimes, even a well-designed website does not give you enough sales. Despite your audience being there, they just aren’t buying. There might be a reason for it, and it’s low-quality landing pages — or even the lack of them.

Landing Page

A landing is a one-page site that is used to sell goods and services. The purpose of the page is to quickly tell the buyer, in an accessible form, why they should buy a presented product or order a service.

The main advantage of landings is that they can be developed in a matter of hours, yet attract a lot of customers.

Landing page example by Outcrowd

Landings will suit you, if:

A landing is perfect for selling a single good or service. It’s useful for both simple, low-cost products and the complicated premium segment. On the other hand, Landing Pages do not fit the mentality of the online stores with huge inventory — although they may be used to promote the top-priority positions.

Your landing will be useful, as long as:

The design is vital for the landing page. If it does not look professional or has an unattractive look, then even following all the rules will not save you from a fiasco.

If you do not have a dedicated designer at your company, you can use website builders or ready-made landing templates that you can adapt for your cause. That said, they will never be as effective as a custom-made website. If you want to be a strong competitor on the market, you need to work with professionals.