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Sticking together in a brave new (virtual) world

With businesses of all sizes staggered by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, ideas and resources on how to keep afloat are not thin on the ground. In Seattle, one PR firm has started a “Corona: Business Owners Fight Back!’’ Facebook group where small business owners are offering each other support in the form of free services and advice. For example, a gym owner afraid of his business going under is now offering weekly yoga and meditation classes for other businesses’ employees. COVID-19 maybe devastating the economy, but it is also strengthening business communities all over the world as they unite to fight for their survival.

One topic that will be top of most professionals’ mind right now is remote working. The process of your business transforming from a brick-and-mortar entity into a virtual one offers a select number of challenges, especially if you have limited to no experience of it. Virtual working, selling and servicing are not new practices, but owing to the spread of the virus, many businesses are on a steep learning curve: it’s go virtual or go under. So here are 3 key ways to leverage the current good will in the business community to make the transition to remote working successful:

1 – Make the most of online business communities

Whether practical or simply emotional support, what companies can offer each other at this difficult time has the potential to extract a lot of good from a bad situation. The next few months may be “break” for a lot of businesses, but by coming together and finding a way to support each other, there is also the potential for “make”. Whether it’s advice, expertise, products, services, or sharing some kind of resource, right now there are online communities popping up everywhere to help small businesses help each other on Facebook, LinkedIn, even Twitter. Make the most of the opportunity while it lasts – and build relationships that will last even longer.

2 – Share a Virtual Assistant with another company

PA Business Support is used to providing virtual assistants to single businesses at a time, but there’s no reason why you can’t split the hours with another business (though we wouldn’t recommend less than 40 hours a month per business). This is one way to give you a little extra flexibility when it comes to the ebb and flow of the daily task list. It also allows you to have someone acting as ‘front of house’ or ‘customer service’ at times when you need to be focusing on other things (like growing the business online). If you need a virtual assistant right now, look no further.

3 – Partner up virtually: it’s much easier!

The great thing about going virtual is that you can partner with businesses on the other side of the world. It also means you can be a lot closer than you could physically. Sound counterintuitive? Let’s say you’ve met a business that can mutually benefit you – maybe you’re going develop a product or service together, maybe you both have services that complement each other – then you’re going to need to work closely together. Now you know that means some call conferencing, emailing, etc. but here’s the thing: not every platform is alike. Going virtual means there’s a lot more tools to manage a partnership than simple shared docs and call conferencing. For example, Slack enables you to instant message, call, brainstorm, share resources, label and search everything! The ability to communicate instantly and get to, or link to, any asset or resource quickly and efficiently, actually makes partnering with other businesses much easier.

In conclusion, our advice is quite simply: don’t take baby steps. Instead, join the huge amount of businesses making the change right now and fully embrace virtual working. You may have only just started thinking about it, or you may be kicking yourself for not doing it 10 years ago, but either way, now is the time to act.

Talk to us about hiring some of the best Virtual Assistants in the UK, and make sure your business comes out of the crisis fighting fit.

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