As 2021 kicks off we all find ourselves in this kind of odd place, right?
2020 seems a bit surreal. The short term virtual takeover is looking more like medium, or even long, term as societies around the world adjust to life post pandemic.
When you stop and think about it I bet there are some movies that hypothesized what a post pandemic life would be like.
In some ways they were pretty close!
With large companies going remote, small businesses figuring out how to re-imagine their profit centers to function within the new guidelines and displaced workers creating their own futures online, whether they had ever planned on it or not…
The demands on us are larger than ever before!
And so are the requirements of us for living in the current environment.
One of the industries that has truly felt the growing pains of the current economy is tech.
If you consider just what tech has had to do to keep up with the instantly increased demand for bandwidth, functionality and ease of use (because now, literally, everyone and their grandma is using Zoom) it is pretty amazing that it’s been able to keep up.
Sure, we’ve had hackers on social media, party crashers on Zoom and everyone is trying to remember to wear pants to business meetings, something we’ve done for decades that we suddenly forgot how to do…
But all in all I think we have fared fairly well!
A testament to the tenacity and resilience of people across the globe, we have truly, as a world, pivoted in ways we could only have dreamed possible.
While I was thinking about all of this I started thinking about what all of this truly means to us, as online entrepreneurs and service providers.
We talk a lot about new marketing messages and channels, how to connect in what can feel like a disconnected world, and how to grow a business in the middle of a pandemic.
But what about on the technology front? What does all of this mean to you, the digital entrepreneur, and how you run your business?
There are some things you need to pay closer attention to now that things have shifted gears.
One of the most important things to note is the leveling of the playing field between small business and enterprise businesses when it comes to technology needs.
This doesn’t mean you need huge servers and a full IT department.
What it does mean is that many of the things small businesses used to be able to get away without have now become necessary.
The security of our digital footprint has been a hot topic lately. And because of that, having a secure data policy is more important than ever before.
If you are collecting money, or names, or addresses, or emails, or pretty much anything else it is critical that you think with a security first philosophy in order to protect not only your clients and customers, but also your business.
From the launch of the GDPR regulations in 2019 to sweeping stings of online course creators and coaches, the integrity of people’s data is of interest to the all of the alphabet agencies.
And, while you may consider yourself a small fish in a very big pond, reality is that in the digital world, it just takes one competent fisherman to scream about his latest catch and you will be in the spotlight.
“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents.” ~ Michael Dell
There was a time when having multiple systems do multiple things worked. We could manually share information, download and upload spreadsheets, and keep track of things so all would run smoothly.
With the volume of people transacting business online, however, the need to have systems work seamlessly together is essential to keeping things running smoothly.
Luckily the migration to the virtual world has prompted software companies to simplify their programs.
It is becoming easier for even the most green newbie to figure out how to get 2 programs to talk to each other. (We call this integrating).
And as things continue to virtualize I suspect activities like this will only get easier.
As we become more virtualized, (I love this word!) it is important that we make our decisions with a plan in mind.
Gone are the days of haphazardly choosing our systems, setting them up (sorta) and crossing our fingers that they work.
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Socrates
With the volume of work that we are doing online that will only serve to complicate, and ultimately break, something later on down the road.
So before you sign up for that new, cool software, take a step back. Talk with your coach. Make sure that strategically, in the bigger picture, it makes sense to do. Otherwise, and this I promise you, you’ll pay for it later.
I know this may sound like an optional thing. Something that will cost extra, either in software or in someone to work it, but let me present another perspective.
Automation allows you to treat all of your visitors, prospects and clients the same way. It allows you to communicate in a uniform manner.
It ensures that you are compliant in all your communications. It provides you with reporting to show what is working and what is not. And it provides you with proof should the alphabet soup agencies ever question your business practices.
I know this may sound jaded. And I am. A bit.
I have known a number of people, whether clients or colleagues, who have had their businesses severely impacted by innocent oversights that have resulted in tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in lessons being learned.
So while I agree that automation is a nice to have, I would argue that in today’s world it is a must have.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads. Source: 99Firms, 2019
Building a business in a post pandemic world looks a bit different than it did before.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It means a bit more work. A bit more thought. A bit more effort.
It also means more structure. More confidence. And being more compliant.
These are all, ultimately, good things.
What’s the most important here is to balance building a smart business with providing an exceptional user experience for your visitors, prospects and customers.
It doesn’t really matter if your business is 100% digital, a blend of live and virtual, or a brick and mortar.
What it always comes down to, and this applies to your technology as well as everything else around your business, is balance.
If you would like to run your questions by someone, or you’d like an honest and thorough review of your processes to make sure you are ready for the next phase of business, we’d love to help! Book a time here and let us help you get dialed in for the new year. No strings, no expectations.
Just us helping you.