8 Things Your Business SHOULDN’T Be Doing During Covid-19

8 Things Your Business SHOULDN’T Be Doing During Covid-19

Many companies have had business disrupted by Covid-19 this year. As a result, they have had to adapt their ways in order to keep making revenue. While some businesses have managed to adapt successfully, others have made costly mistakes. Here are some of the mistakes your business doesn’t want to be making during Covid-19.   

Raising your prices

To help cover the costs of covid-19, some businesses have responded by hiking up their prices. It makes sense to try and earn some extra money this way (it’s certainly easier than trying to sell more products), but consider the impact that it may have on you current loyal customers. Those that are already financially struggling due the impact of the virus could see this as an extra kick in the teeth – which could have a negative impact on your customer satisfaction. If your competitors choose not to raise their prices, you could see a lot of your customers abandoning your service to try out that offered by competitors. Try to focus on reducing costs and finding new income streams rather than upping your prices. 

Cutting back on marketing

When considering cutbacks, you should avoid cutting back on marketing. In fact, now is the time to spend more money on marketing. With less people mingling, you’ll find it harder to attract customers via old-fashioned word of mouth – which means that you have to advertise and promote your brand yourself. Cut back on marketing, and you could see a dramatic reduction in the amount of new customers you receive. Unless you really don’t want to attract new customers at this moment in time, refrain from cutting back.

Investing in offline marketing

Now is not the time for offline marketing tactics. With social distancing laws in place, marketing events are generally not feasible. Meanwhile, billboards and posters are less likely to get spotted due to less crowds on the street. You’re much better off pouring your time, energy and money into digital marketing during Covid-19. Strategies such as social media marketing, SEO and email marketing are likely to have a much bigger impact given that people are spending more time indoors and more time on digital devices. Allow yourself to get creative when pursuing digital marketing strategies. 

Arranging in-person meetings

In-person meetings are also not practical in a pandemic. This could be a team meeting with employees or a meeting with clients. Unless the task can only be carried out as a group in person, you may as well conduct the meeting via video call or phone call – or you could simply have an email exchange. Some clients may be put off if you insist on having an in-person meeting. Some employees may also feel that you are putting them in unnecessary danger and could possibly sue. If you do have to arrange large meetings in person, make sure that everyone has PPE.

Reducing staff, but not reducing the workload

As a way of saving costs, some companies have furloughed or even laid off staff members. This can sometimes be a necessary cut back, however you need to be sure that the workload is also cut back. If you demand the same workload from your remaining employees, they will likely struggle to get it all done. You need to have a team that’s large enough to take on all the day-to-day roles. If employees are having to take on responsibilities on top of their existing responsibilities, they’ll get overly stressed and likely hand in their notice. This is something that you definitely don’t want to happen. 

Micromanaging remote employees

Many companies have allowed employees to work from home. While this has helped to keep people socially distanced, it has made team communication a little harder. Less trusting employees may feel that they have to keep communicating with employees to check that they are still on target. This style of remote micromanaging could be stressing out your employees and may be something that you want to limit. So long as employees are meeting targets and deadlines, there’s no need to keep checking up on them. Your employees are likely to be more productive if you’re not constantly trying to have conversations with them.

Not supervising remote employees at all

While you shouldn’t micromanage remote employees, you also don’t want to ignore them completely. Some of your employees may realise that they’re not being monitored and may take advantage of this. This could result in corners being cut and certain work not being done. Using some form of software for tracking employee activity will allow you to see how far projects are coming along without having to constantly chase up employees via phone or email. There are lots of software solutions out there that can do this. 

Ignoring the pandemic altogether

The worst thing you can do is ignore the entire pandemic and try to continue on as usual. You’ll likely get into legal trouble and it could negatively affect your reputation. For instance, if you run a restaurant and decide to put absolutely no measures in place, you can expect a lot of customers to not feel safe and some may report you to the police (especially if there’s no attempts to abide by social distancing rules or supply hand soap). Employees may even leave if they feel that you are not taking the virus and their health seriously.

Conclusion

If you want your business to keep making money through the remainder of Covid-19, you need to make the right changes to your business model. Anything that involves or inspires social gatherings cannot go underway. If you choose to take on a remote workforce, you need to understand how to manage them without micromanaging or being too relaxed. You also need to resist increasing your prices, instead finding other ways to recover from the costs.

Image: Pexels. CCO Licensed.

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5 Ideas To Improve Your Online Presence In 2020

5 Ideas To Improve Your Online Presence In 2020

Byran Weiner, CEO of Comscore, once said that ‘social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers.’ So how can you nurture and build those relationships? What does it take to improve your online presence in 2020?

1. Present yourself as human

In 2020 people like brands who appear as human and authentic. They don’t want corporations with no relatability or personality. When you’re posting content on social media, keep it down to earth, fun and transparent. It could be in the form of memes, TikTok videos, or articles that showcase your values.

2. Live stream

Live streaming on social media is an excellent way to improve your reach, increase engagement and connect with new audiences. Facebook Live and YouTube Live are a great place to start streaming. According to Vimeo, ‘ live streaming is going to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.’ They also reported that ‘48% of consumers have shared a brand video on their social media profile.’ Live Streaming allows you to speak to your audience about a topic that means something to you. You might prefer to demonstrate a new product.

3. Analytics tools 

If you want to improve your successes on social media, you’ve got to have some way of analysing your performance. There are plenty of social analytics tools out there which can help you to do that.

Google Analytics: GA is a great tool which can help you to monitor your social media campaigns and track your social ROI.

Snaplytics: Snaplytics is an analytics tool for Instagram Stories and Snapchat specifically. Here you can view various metrics and see where your engagement peaks and or decreases.

Using the right data you can improve your campaigns and get your business noticed online.

4. Creative content

Above all, your content has got to be creative to boost your online presence. With lots of similar brands in competition, it’s important to set yourself apart from the rest. So how can you make your Instagram photographs stand out?

Aerial photography: Using drones can allow you to get some seriously stunning and original photographs! For more information about drones take a look at www.drdrone.ca. Perhaps a member of your team fancies a go at taking a few drone shots? If not, you can always hire a photographer!

When it comes to writing your blog posts, you need to provide content that brings something different to the table. If you’re short on ideas, you can use ‘Answer the Public’ to search for the more obscure questions that people are asking online!

5. Customer Generated Content

People love customer-generated content because it’s authentic. It’s not always about heavily photoshopped images, but real people using your products and having a good time! CG content is inexpensive, and many customers will produce it naturally (and then tag your biz)! Employee generated content is similarly effective to improve your credibility and extend your reach. Of course, you need to set your employees guidelines about what they can and cannot say while using your social account. (Without instructions, EG content can fast lead to a social media scandal)!

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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Little Tricks To Get You Noticed Online

Little Tricks To Get You Noticed Online

Everyone is trying to get their products and services in front of users online. But with such limited space, being effective is a constant challenge. You might have a great business, but spreading the word is notoriously difficult.

What you need is a trick - something you can use to shoehorn your pages into the line of sight of your target audience - but that doesn’t break the bank. 

Your rivals are becoming more sophisticated in their approach. That doesn’t mean, though, that they’ve exhausted all opportunities. Even small businesses can get the edge with the right know-how.

Are you struggling to get noticed online? Check out these little tricks that can make a big difference to your marketing

Create Punchy, Innovative Content That Surprises

Many companies put their professional hat on and churn out lengthy white papers they hope will garner attention. Rarely, however, is that an approach that works in reality. Most audiences already have all the informational resources they need. You could wind up wasting a lot of time putting together something comprehensive that people don’t want.

What’s the solution here?

The answer is to make your content innovative, punchy, and surprising. Most audiences don’t realize it, but the thing that they really want is novelty. They want to experience the feeling of the unexpected. It’s that immediate sense of gratification when they try something new or hear something funny, which is the kicker. 

TikTok is an excellent platform for doing this. Just do something fun that appeals to your customer persona and wait for them to come flocking. Providing information is great, but being entertaining is even better. 

Make Your PPC Ads Bigger

PPC ads are something of a godsend for small businesses. Without them, you’d be completely stuck. Organic SEO takes time. They are an easy way to get people flocking to your site without putting in months of work building links, creating content, and optimizing. 

A lot of companies, though, don’t understand how to do them right. They believe that once they create the ad copy, their job is done. Sorry - but it’s not. 

The fix, though, is super simple: Google callout extensions

Even if you haven’t heard of these, you’ve almost certainly seen them when browsing the internet. They’re essentially additional details you tack onto the bottom of your PPC ads that provide more information to prospective customers. And they make a big difference. 

Experts think they’re super effective for two reasons: 

  • They provide additional information, making your company seem more legitimate and professional
  • They make ads physically larger, enhancing visibility

Try adding them and see whether you get more traffic. Almost certainly, you will. 

Make Links With People Who Can Get The Word Out

New websites get buried in the mountain of content on Google, and there’s not much you can do about it. Fresh businesses have to bite the bullet and just work their way up the ranking like everyone else. It takes time. 

Making links with people you know to get the word out, though, is something that you can do right now to boost your appeal online. The more people you rope into helping you, the better. 

If you have a great product, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. There’s bound to be an influencer out there somewhere willing to give you a platform. Think carefully about how your product might help their audience and then sell it as hard as possible. 

Team Up With Another Company

Similarly, you can try teaming up with another brand and offering a co-product with them. Often companies will allow you to tack your brand onto theirs, immediately increasing recognition. 

Create Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are very different from regular PPC. Here, you’re not looking to sell immediately. Instead, you’re trying to create more brand impressions, introducing people to what you do. 

People use Facebook for different reasons than search. They’re on there to talk to friends and generally chill out. Rarely are they on the hunt for products. Businesses, therefore, need to adopt a slightly different strategy with their advertising methods. 

You can think of Facebook as the first stage in the sales funnel. It’s the tool you use to make it, so people know what you do. Once you’ve built the groundwork, you have a better chance of thinking about you when they want what you have to offer. 

Getting noticed online can be a significant challenge for new businesses. But with the right approach, you can boost who sees you, increasing your revenue immediately. 

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Featured image by: Pexels - CC0 License

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How Your Company Can Help Close The Gender Pay Gap

How Your Company Can Help Close The Gender Pay Gap

Even though the year is 2020, there is still a huge disparity when it comes to the number on the paychecks of men and women.  It is a problem that is found across almost all sectors and is a great division within society.  

The focus on equality and diversity in the workplace has brought the gender pay gap front and center and more companies are now confronting it head-on and adapting their policies.  

Businesses of all sizes can help close this gap by adopting a new approach. 

How Wide Is The Gender Pay Gap? 

In the US, women earn around 79 percent of the salary of their male counterparts.  It might not seem like much, but over the course of a career, the average woman could earn 500,000 dollars less than a man! That is not an insignificant amount for doing the same job.  

Progress has been painfully slow, even with the current progress, gender pay inequality will not be achieved until 2060.  

This effects women across all industry sectors and despite the fact that over 60% of graduates are female. 

There is some positive momentum towards change, with companies such as Microsoft, Weibel Scientific, and government departments all taking steps to encourage women into traditionally male-dominated areas of the economy. 

The Many Benefits Of Closing The Gap

Not only is providing equal pay the right and moral thing to do, but there are also other benefits, including: 

Attracting the best talent - people want to work for companies that treat their employees fairly and act in a socially responsible way.  

Employee engagement - employees who are treated fairly have higher levels of engagement, which is good for morale and productivity. 

Good PR - with companies forced to be more transparent about their pay structures, bad PR will be an inevitable consequence of not tackling the pay gap.  You risk customers voting with their feet and wallets and boycotting your business. 

Legal action - companies leave themselves open to costly legal action if they continue to pay men and women unequally. 

Assess Your Own Company

Pay structure - review the salary of your employees by the team, level, job responsibilities, and gender.  Don’t forget to look at bonuses and benefits too. 

Management structure - these people have the most say over who gets hired, pay raises, and promotions.  Company management should be as diverse as possible.  

Hiring policies - don’t base salaries on those of previous jobs, this is unfair to women who were probably paid less in their last job too.  Assign pay scales to seniority and job roles instead.  

Don’t Be Afraid To Own Up To Your Mistakes

If your internal company assessment unearths inequalities and pay gaps, then you need to address these. Chances are that your employees already have a sense of this inequality in the workplace. 

Some issues will be easier to rectify than others.  Changing someone’s salary is a simple process, tackling the systemic inequalities that caused it will take longer.

Featured image by You X Ventures on Unsplash

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What Should You Do With Your Salary?

What Should You Do With Your Salary?

Building wealth shouldn’t be your primary motivation for starting a business, but if you get things right, then that’s what’ll happen. While you’ll have to go through the teething periods of running a company, when money can be hard to come, in time, you’ll (hopefully) find that you’re beginning to generate revenue. At that time, you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to do with the salary that you’ll draw from your business. Below, we take a look at some useful tips for what you should do with the money. 

First: Set the Right Amount 

To begin with, you’ll need to set your salary correctly. This is actually one of the trickier parts of running a business. The golden piece of advice is that you should pay yourself first, even from the beginning. You’ll need to earn enough to pay all of your expenses. Things become a little trickier to determine once you’re generating serious money. From there, the best approach is to pay yourself what you’re worth. You can look at the salaries of other people in your position to figure this out, though the salaries of others should only be used as a guide. Your personal situation will be the biggest factor. 

Invest In Yourself

You will have started your business from a place of confidence. You’ll have known that you have the skillset to build something with yourself at the helm. But it’s not as if you’ll have known everything. Indeed, as time goes on, you might find that there are some skills in which you lack. Though you may have left formal education many years ago, it’s worthwhile looking at educational courses and training weekends you can attend. This will make you a better leader, and ultimately improve your chances of success moving forward.

Invest Elsewhere

Your main focus will be on doing what’s right for your business, but your company won’t be your only source of income. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Rather than simply keeping your salary in the bank, take a look at investing. A lot of people shy away from trading because they think that it requires a lot of time and expertise, but it doesn’t have to. Make the use of services such as Myfxbook Autotrade, and you’ll be able to copy trading techniques that produce results. It’s always important to diversify your income, and that’s as true for business owners as it is for regular employees. 

Give Yourself a Cushion

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re running a business. While things may be going well right now, there are no guarantees that things will be the same in the future. So make sure you give yourself a cushion, which can be used to keep things ticking over if you hit a rough patch and have to reduce your salary. You’ll find that you’re less concerned about dips in income if you have six months in savings to help you get through the lean periods. 

Featured Image: Pexels - CC0 Licence

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7 Tips to Be An Online Instructor and Earn Passive Income

7 Tips to Be An Online Instructor and Earn Passive Income

The idea of eLearning was already growing before the Coronavirus pandemic. But, since COVID-19 hit and more than 90% of the world’s students couldn’t go to school in person, online education has been thrust into the spotlight. 

That has created an increased demand for teachers and educators that can instruct students in a variety of subjects online. Whether you were/are a teacher or you have the degree for it, teaching online courses is a great way to either earn passive income or to start your own business from home, if you choose to do it full time. 

You may actually be able to make quite a bit of extra income teaching online if you create a strategy for yourself. But, if you’ve never considered it before and want to give it a try, it’s important to know some tips and tricks that can help your online courses to be successful. 

With that in mind, let’s cover a few of those tips that you can use to help you get started in the world of online teaching. 

1. Learn About Learning

Before you dive into the world of eLearning head first, it’s important to learn as much as you can about what it really covers. Teaching online courses is different from teaching in person. First, you will likely need to know about Learning Management Systems (LMS). These are programs that allow you to track, report, and automate your courses. Some Learning Management Systems even serve as platforms to let you interact with your students, so you can manage all of your work in one place. 

If you’re not sure which LMS is right for you, consider talking to Learning Management System consultants to find a software program that fits your needs. 

It’s also important to understand whether you need a teaching degree or not for the online coursework you’re considering. In some instances, you may not! For example, you can teach English online through several different organizations/companies without having a teaching degree. 

Simply put, educate yourself on the subject of online education and eLearning before you take the plunge. The truth is, it isn’t right for everyone. But, if you can make it work for you and you have the passion to learn and grow while sharing your gift of teaching with others, you can be successful. 

2. Create a Schedule and Share It

Once you have your class ready to go, create a schedule and share it with your students (and their parents, if you’re teaching young children). One of the challenges of eLearning is helping students to find the motivation for it. Much like remote working, it takes dedication and commitment in order to get things done. 

If you provide a schedule, you can make the idea of online coursework much easier for your students. It helps to break things down in a manageable way and gives them the confidence to get things done, while still doing it on their own time and at a reasonable pace. The more you can teach your students about time-management and how to self-regulate, the more you will set them up for success within the course itself. 

3. Make Time to Interact With Each Student

One reason some people are hesitant to take online courses is because they’re worried about the lack of face-to-face interaction. But, one of the reasons online classes are becoming so popular is because technology has finally given people a way to connect while learning. 

If you really want to go above and beyond with your students, schedule time for each of them on a weekly basis. This can include anything from talking on the phone to holding a Zoom meeting, or even talking on FaceTime. Even just 10 minutes of “face-to-face” interaction can make a big difference in their comfort levels when it comes to the class. 

Regular interaction will help your students to stay engaged. It will also make it easier for you to recognize which students might need your extra help or support. Checking in with them regularly can help you to make sure they’re staying on track. It will also give you the opportunity to open up the door if they need help but might be afraid to ask for it. 

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4. Record Your Lectures and Keep Them Short

This is a benefit for both you and your students that can save you valuable time and energy. Many online teachers benefit from using video lectures. But, instead of doing them live, record them and post them onto your portal. That way, your students can watch them whenever they would like, and re-watch as needed. Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Giving students the option to go back and take extra notes on the things you said is important. 

Additionally, recording your lectures can help you to prioritize your time. If you’re just teaching on the side for passive income, you may not be able to squeeze live lectures into your schedule. So, when you do have free time, try to record several in a row that you can post on a staggered schedule. 

It’s also a good idea to keep your lectures short. In this digital age of YouTube, Snap, and TikTok, long videos don’t always go over well. You’re more likely to keep your students engaged with lectures that are 15 minutes or less. 

5. Show Yourself in Your Lectures

In addition to keeping your videos short, be sure to show your face as often as possible. There is nothing wrong with using slides and presentations in your lectures, but they shouldn’t always be the main focus. 

Showing your face in your videos will help your students to stay engaged and feel more connected with you. It’s a great way to provide an “in-person” feel no matter where all of your students are from. 

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6. Set Reasonable Expectations for Yourself and Your Students

When you’re just getting into online learning, make sure the goals and expectations you have for yourself are realistic, not only for yourself, but for your students. For example, you don’t want to overload your students with a ton of research, reading, and homework. Not only can that be hard on them, but it will put a lot of pressure on you as well. 

You should also make sure your students have the resources needed to succeed. For example, if you send out a quiz that your students need to complete, make sure the answers are easy to find with a little bit of research, whether that means they need to look at your notes, lectures, or do research of their own. You won’t prove anything by making assignments or tests difficult. While you don’t need to hand people good grades for nothing, you also need to keep in mind that this is a business. If your classes seem unfair or impossible, it’s less likely that people will keep signing up. 

It’s okay to challenge your students (and yourself). But, do it realistically and creatively. Be fair with everything you do, and your students will understand and appreciate that. 

7. Take Time for Yourself

Whether you’ve decided to try online teaching as a way to make passive income or you’re doing it full-time, don’t forget to put yourself first. 

So many people fall into negative habits when they start working remotely or doing any kind of work from home. It can easily throw off your work-life balance, which can affect your mental health, your relationships, and your productivity. 

In order to take care of yourself and make the most of this experience, there are a few tips you can keep in mind, including: 

  • Having a routine each day
  • Going to sleep/waking up at the same time each day
  • Creating a to-do list
  • Having a specific office space within your home
  • Only working certain hours of the day

Additionally, make sure you’re spending time doing things you enjoy outside of work, and keep yourself healthy. You cannot pour from an empty cup. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself first before giving what you have to other people, including your family, friends, and your online students. 

When you’re able to establish a healthy work-life balance, you’re more likely to enjoy the work you do and find it fulfilling. That will reflect in your personality with your students and in the teaching you provide. 

Whether you have a teaching degree or you’ve always been interested in education, there has never been a more perfect time to dip your toe into the world of eLearning. Some children may not be able to go back to a physical school for a while, while others may have parents who are choosing to keep them home to reduce their overall health risk. You can take advantage of that. 

Don’t be afraid to do your research about the passive income you could be making by teaching online courses. If you really want to dedicate yourself, you could even turn it into a full-time career and your own at-home business.

This is a contributed post

Featured image: Pixabay

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