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Coronavirus and businesses – how to evolve in turbulent times

COVID-19 is spreading around the world at unprecedented rates. This has forced governments to implement stringent measures such as large-scale quarantines, travel restrictions and social distancing measures. The result of this has been a sharp fall in consumer and business spending, which according to a McKinsey COVID-19 Briefing Note of March 16, 2020, is likely to produce a recession in a delayed recovery scenario by late Q2.

This is expected to lead to a prolonged slump until the end of Q3. In this scenario, consumers stay at home, businesses lose revenue and lay off workers while unemployment levels rise sharply, putting significant pressure on the banking and financial system.

While the situation may appear grim at first sight, there are opportunities that businesses can explore during these turbulent economic times. For example, some sources indicate that subscription-based delivery services and remote focused technology offerings are going to “explode in growth” as an increasing number of people choose to make their purchasing decisions from the safety of their homes.

In this blog post, we’ll share some useful tips on working from home and how you can leverage the current economic situation in your favour, particularly if you run an online business.

Keep reading to find out more!

5 tips on working from home

As a business owner, you may find yourself in the position of working from home as governments restrict businesses from conducting face-to-face meetings and gatherings of groups of people.

In such circumstances, you will want to ensure that you use your time as effectively as possible to make the most of your business offering. This is why we’ve prepared a list of steps you can take to be as productive as possible while the government restrictions continue.

Here are some ideas for you to keep in mind as you settle in in front of your PC today, getting ready for your meetings with colleagues, suppliers, distributors, customers and the like:

1. Get dressed for work like you normally would: sitting in your pyjamas all day long might seem like a lot of fun at first, but you will want to consider getting dressed for the occasion. This will instill a sense of pride, respect and discipline as you proceed with your daily tasks.

2. Find a comfortable space where you can work: Whether you’re sitting at a table, desk, on the couch or some other place in your home, make sure your environment is comfortable and conducive to productive work. After all, you will need to attend to your tasks and if you’re uncomfortable, you won’t do them as well as you normally would. Find an ergonomic solution that suits you best.

3. Drink plenty of water and avoid eating junk food: It’s tempting to sit at your PC and munch away at tasty treats while you go about your daily work, but this is not a healthy option. Try to stick to your previous regime when you attended the office previously. You didn’t snack on crisps and chocolates all day long there, so why do it now?

4. Ensure effective communication with your colleagues: Although you might be faced with distractions like your kids requiring your attention, or your pets walking over you keyboard in search of your affection, there are likely to be distractions to working from home. However, vital communication and a fast response rate to your colleagues will not only avoid delays in getting the work done, but will show respect for them and their time.

5. Find what works best for you – perfect silence or your favourite soundtrack: Finally, consider your ideal work environment – do you work best in silence or with music playing in the background? Choose your ideal solution and stick to it. Creating new habits will help you find a new normal in these turbulent circumstances and you’ll be a more disciplined person for it.   

Business solutions in times of crisis – logistics and distribution

Now that we’ve covered the basics to how to work from home comfortably, let’s delve a little deeper into how to run your business more effectively.

One of the first aspects you’ll want to consider is supply-chain stabilisation. Sources indicate that you should try to stabilise your supply chains by using safety stocks, alternative sources and working with suppliers to solve bottlenecks. Effective communication and planning with all stakeholders is vital at this stage.

Second, you may want to consider introducing business tracking and forecasting procedures, so that you can monitor your business’ performance. As the situation around COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, rapid-reporting cycles will help you understand how your business is being affected, where mitigation is being required and how quickly operations are recovering.

For online businesses, now is the perfect time to talk to your distributors regarding logistics. Courier firms will be your best friend in these times as you not only stock up on supplies to offer to your clientele, but to also help you find a way to get them to your customers despite all the current obstacles that exist.

Finally, now is the time to leverage social media for your online business. Successful case studies from China indicated that many companies encouraged their employees to promote their products via social media, effectively becoming brand ambassadors. Through paid-for advertising or organic reach, ask your employees to leverage social media for the benefit of your business. The online business space is likely to see a boom in these turbulent times and as many people stay at home their interaction with social media will be greater. This gives you the opportunity to reach more customers, ultimately helping your business grow.

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6 useful payment solutions for online payments acceptance

As a business, you will also want to be ready to accept seamless online payments from your clientele. Whether you’re offering delivery or take-outs, or products and services which are sold online and in person, online payment solutions are a must for your business to continue on its upward trajectory.

Here are some ideas you might consider for your online business offering to help you take seamless payments:

1. Shopping Cart Plugins: Shopping cart plugins have been created for easy ecommerce payments acceptance. They are a simple and secure solution for ecommerce platforms and usually require no additional integrational work. This solution is most suited for businesses which run online shops with shopping cart integrations. 

2. Payment Request: A Payment Request is a one-time personalised payment link, which could be sent over multiple channels. The best part is that you don’t need a website or to process and store card information as it’s all taken care of for you. Suitable for freelancers and businesses which sell goods and services to customers who are physically far away from them, you can certainly use this tool to reach out to more customers, without any additional investment in software.

3. PayLink: A PayLink can be generated and used to sell a limited number of items or services, which are to be delivered in the future. It contains information about the description of the item being purchased, the currency and expiry date for the payment. Again here, there’s no need for an online shop or webpage to accept payments online. PayLinks can be sent via a multitude of channels including social media, email or SMS. They are best suited for businesses which offer clients goods and services online. 

4. PayButton: We’ve all seen PayButtons on multiple websites. The best part with this online payment solution is that you don’t need to delve into software development work. All you need to do is simply copy and paste the button’s code into your website editor. These PayButtons are great for attracting customer attention and for promoting a particular product or service with the call to action “Buy Now”.

5. МO/ТO Virtual Terminal: Well-suited for businesses offering accommodation, rent-a-car, travel booking services and similar, that typically require advance payments distantly. A MO/TO Virtual Terminal is for payments made by mail or phone, also known as card-not-present transactions. It requires no complex integration, additional software or hardware. If you have such, you can process card payments from your internet browser or mobile app. 

6. Custom-made Payment Gateway: Perfect for online businesses using popular shopping cart software, you can accept payments in any website or mobile app in tune with the operational flow of your business. It’s easy to integrate and allows you to keep track of sales and monitor your business’ performance.

Business evolution tricks at your fingertips

With COVID-19, businesses will need to evolve to ensure they stay afloat in turbulent economic times. No one is certain when this pandemic will come to an end and businesses will need to prepare to cater to a clientele which is physically distant from them.

Online businesses are likely to face a boom in these times, although this opportunity must be leveraged effectively. In this blog post, we’ve listed some tips for leveraging these tough economic times to help your business grow. 

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