It’s been three years since Covid changed everyone’s lives in unimaginable ways. Businesses of all kinds and sizes were fundamentally impacted, from events, restaurants and retail being shut down to sending everyone home to work remote.
It’s not shocking that tech thrived during this time. We saw many digital strategies developed like remote work solutions, online ordering, tele-medicine, virtual events and more. Good or bad, MANY of these changes are here to stay.
There are several strategies business and practice owners can implement in order to stay competitive and profitable:
1. Invest in Cyber Security protection.
There are two rules for investing and making money, as specified by Warren Buffet: Rule #1: Don’t lose the money. Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1.
While nobody likes to spend money on cyber security, the reality is that if you don’t, or if you under invest in adequate protections, you WILL lose money in your business, whether it is from it being taken from your bank account or from the vast number of costs associated with a breach that most people grossly underestimate.
People were forced to work remotely using un-secure home WiFi, laptops and cellphones. Cyber criminals went gang busters during the lockdown. The Trend Micro Annual Cybersecurity Report saw a whopping 16 million threats related to Covid-19 in 2020 alone. Business Wire recently reported that 81% of global organizations experienced an increase in cyber-threats and 79% experienced downtime due to a cyber security risk. This downtime cost these companies substantial amounts of money (which violates the first rule). These threats are continually getting more aggressive, frequent and damaging, so you must have a plan in place to ensure you’re not robbed blind and taken out. Investing in GREAT Cyber Security is an important factor in supporting a successful and profitable business. Click here for a free cyber security risk analysis to see how vulnerable you are. We also offer a Cyber Security Training program, at NO COST to you.
2. Use tech to get more efficient.
Since 2010, the US unemployment rate has been on a steady decline, from nearly 10% to under 3% right at the start of 2020. Covid shutdowns temporarily covered up this shortage with thousands being laid off, but now that life is back to “normal” (whatever this new normal is), many businesses that are now trying to reopen but can’t operate at full capacity because of the cost of hiring with salary demands increasing.
Organizations are forced to implement methods like automated systems.
Workers are being replaced by artificial intelligence. Customers are being driven to use self-checkout when only two checkout stands are open. Companies are also switching to AI-driven chatbots, text messages and phone systems to handle the initial customer requests. The need for paid employees is subsequently being lowered.
Another area many businesses are focusing on is to get more productivity from every employee using tech and automation.
Sales departments are now using dialers, CRM and marketing automation systems. A single rep can be far more productive. More sales are generated by removing or reducing manual labor tasks and “paperwork”.
And finally, businesses are beginning to focus on ensuring the productivity of employees.
This has become a hot topic since the shutdowns sent so many people home to work. People now ONLY want remote work. However, employees who lack personal discipline and a distraction free work environment are less productive than coming in to the office.
To combat this, some businesses are utilizing productivity-monitoring software. They know how much time employees are away from their computer or surfing social media and other non-work-related sites. Employers are enabled to know if any employee is truly “overworked” or barely putting in an eight-hour day. Click here to schedule a quick call to discuss this software for your business.
3. Implement online ordering and fulfillment, and digital payments.
Marcus Lemonis, (the star of the hit TV show The Profit and CEO of the billion-dollar brands Camping World and Good Sam), shared at an event how Camping World frantically transitioned retail stores to online ordering, shipping and drive-by pickup. His customers were to keep buying when the stores were physically shut down. An investment strategy that not only paid off in the short term, but also expanded the company’s ability to generate sales and fuel customer spend and loyalty.
Restaurants started online ordering, some becoming pickup-only establishments. They had no indoor seating, decreasing the need for more employees while continuing to generate sales. They also started (and many have kept) ordering using a QR code, eliminating paper menus and facilitating ordering and payment. Some got into the business of pre-assembled cook-from-home boxes, like Middlebury Pizzeria, which sells mini pizza kits you make and bake at home, opening a new revenue stream they didn’t have pre-pandemic.
Ask yourself how can you add digital or online ordering and fulfillment to your organization? Maybe you will eliminate paper invoices and utilize digital bookkeeping by setting up online payments and emailing invoices. Many medical companies are now storing clients’ credit cards and bank information for this reason. Of course, this opens up another door for cyber security problems and compliance issues, but the payoff can be huge.
As always, you can schedule a quick 10-minute call to discuss your ideas for going digital for payments and order fulfillment.