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How technology will help UK SMEs conduct ‘Business as Usual’ amidst the Coronavirus outbreak

Written by Mark Wright on Wednesday, 01 April 2020. Posted in Apps & gadgets, Technology

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb rapidly by the day, business owners UK wide are now facing ‘unprecedented times’.

How technology will help UK SMEs conduct ‘Business as Usual’ amidst the Coronavirus outbreak

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb rapidly by the day, business owners UK wide are now facing ‘unprecedented times’.

Where this growing pandemic is a cause for widespread concern, so is the decline of the UK and global economy, particularly for industry sectors directly impacted by the virus outbreak. What’s more, with stats circulating that a fifth of UK workers could be off sick at one time, it is vital for business owners to implement a contingency plan that will protect their employees, but will also uphold day-to-day operations during this challenging time.

Over the last decade, advances in technology have transformed how businesses operate, paving way for more agile or flexible ways of working. Now many businesses have no choice but to implement remote working amidst the coronavirus outbreak, it is these technologies that will enable many us to continue ‘business as usual’. Here’s how:  

Virtual Meetings: According to the latest stats, digital communciation platform ‘Zoom’ has seen a 90% increase in downloads in recent weeks, demonstrating that more and more people are looking to conduct business meetings virtually as opposed to risking travelling either across the UK or overseas to meet with their customers and clients.

Launched in 2011, Zoom is far from ‘new’ to the market, but for those yet to download it, it’s an easy to use tool that enables you to conduct ‘face to face’ virtual meetings, any time, any place. Therefore, inviting clients to meet over Zoom will not only eliminate time spent on public transport, but will also ensure you don’t have to cancel or miss a meeting, upholding customer service as a result.

Project Management Tools: Many business owners are concerned that all staff members working from home will cause productivity levels to plummet. However, digital Project Management tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Slack and Monday.com are all designed to help co-ordinate poroject delivery between different team members, regardless of your business size or sector.

Effective project management is a game changer for many businesses. If you don’t have anything concrete in place, take the time to implement it now and ensure your team are on board with whatever processes you put in place, as trying to implement it when everyone is working remotely will prove incredibly difficult.

Automated Marketing: When members of my sales and marketing team are off sick or on holiday, we still generate new business leads. Why? Because we use a host of automated tools to consistently market our service offering to target audiences, resulting in a consistent pipeline of new business enquiries.

So, ask yourself this: How much sales and marketing activity do you automate? From scheduling social media through tools like Hootsuite, to email marketing and content marketing activity delivered through platforms like Active Campaign and Hubspot, there are a host of tools available to help uphold your sales and marketing activity, regardless of whether your team are in the office or having to work from home.

Remember, despite the downturn in the economy, more people are scrawling through social media and online platforms than ever before, providing a greater opportunity for your brand to be seen. If you are struggling with costs, don’t eliminate your marketing spend, just reduce it slightly if needs be.

Cloud Solutions: With the cloud storage market expected to reach $97.4 Billion by 2022, the use of cloud storage solutions won’t exactly seem revolutionary, but many businesses still fail to maximise available technology.

By uploading and storing all relevant documents and resources in the cloud, your team will have all of the required information to accurately fulfil their job role. Therefore, shoud the worst happen and areas of the UK are placed under quarantine for a period of time, your team will have everything they need to continue their work and support the day to day running of your business.

To Conclude

Although it is not feasible for all businesses to work in this way, there are millions that can and now is the time to start.

Maximising the power of technology will not only provide you with the opportunity to review existing processes – from project management through to sales and marketing – but it will also help uphold the stability of your business during the next few challenging months or so.

More importantly, ensuring employees can work effectively under remote conditions will not only protect them financially but also limits their chances of contracting the virus, helping to contain it as a result.

About the Author

Mark Wright

Mark Wright

BBC Apprentice Winner and Founder and Managing Director of leading UK digital marketing agency, Climb Online

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