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6 Ways Small Businesses Are Adapting to Virtual Life

Adapting to virtual life is cool in some ways.

You get to work in your pajamas and eat a lot (a lot) of snacks.

On the other hand, there are a lot of unforeseen challenges that can arise, making a simple task done in the office something that crashes and burns, temporarily inspiring you to throw your computer out the window.

We’re all having both of these experiences, and despite the snacks not always fixing our problems, they do a great job of making us feel better—even if only temporarily.

As businesses are adapting to virtual life, we’re starting to see patterns in the small businesses who are navigating these unknown waters.

Here are 6 ways small businesses are adapting to virtual life.

#1: They’re communicating their remote work policies

Just like in marketing, we can never assume that people just know what we want them to do. If you don’t clearly lay out your call to action in your copy, your conversion rates are going to tank. And the same can happen when shifting to a remote team.

Show your employees what is expected from them and what they can expect from all management, by creating a quick document with your remote work policies. We’re definitely not telling you to force employees to set up time tracking and to watch their every move—that’s not what a remote work policy is for. A remote policy is just like your office guidelines, but for a working from home environment. It shows what you need from them to move the company towards its initial goals and what they can expect from you in return.

#2: They’re figuring out how to keep their team updated

Without lunch breaks together or water cooler talk, employees aren’t going to be “in the know” as easily as they were when in the office. Creating a way to update employees on new tools being used (ex. Zoom vs. Google Hangouts), updated strategies, current statuses of projects, etc. is essential to keep the train moving forward.

You can create a team update as a Slack Channel with all team members or as a Friday newsletter sent out to everyone via email. At DigitalMarketer, we have an internal email newsletter that Ryan Deiss writes weekly, and we still have our weekly all-hands meeting. This helps keep all teams “in the know” of what’s going on—and it’s more important than ever right now.

#3: They’re creating a positive experience

While this is an extremely challenging time both personally and professionally, working under a dark cloud isn’t ideal for anyone. Employees who are dealing with intense personal experiences right now can understandably be left out of this tip, but for those able to keep working, you want to do what you can to help with their general wellbeing.

For example, creating a theme for each Zoom meeting that takes the pressure off of adapting to virtual life so quickly. The theme can be around bringing a certain object to the chat (ex. Sunglasses, funny hat, or a plant) or setting your background to a favorite snack.

While none of this is particularly productive—and we understand that—it’s not the point. The point is to give your team some relief amid a lot of global chaos.

#4: They’re creating time to update strategies and goals as new news comes

The news cycle seems to have a one-day shelf life right now and our business goals are feeling the same way. A month ago, our business goals were a lot different than they are today. While we’re adapting to working from home, we’re also adapting to updated strategies and goals.

Small businesses are adapting to virtual life by creating virtual space to update strategies as necessary. Zoom meetings with supervisors, managers, and executives are incredibly important right now to make sure that everyone knows what goals are still realistic and which need to be postponed.

#5: They’re staying open to trying new things (regularly)

If you’re a business who has adapted to virtual life without a single hiccup—are you invincible? Going virtual means that a lot of new tools are being added to our current tool stack. Some of those tools are really easy to bring into our current workflows and some of them are… a little more challenging.

The key to moving toward your business goals while adapting to working remotely is being as flexible as possible when it comes to the tools you’re adding into your workflow. Adding new tools is going to be essential, but so is realizing a tool isn’t helping you the way you’d hoped and moving to another one as quickly as possible.

#6: They’re creating new offers, content and products that fit the needs of their customers also adapting to virtual life

Part of adapting to working from home is adapting what you’re working on. The offers that you had scheduled in your email queue might not be as relevant today as they were yesterday.

To adapt to a very quickly changing environment, businesses are focused on adapting their teams, their goals, and their offers, content, and products. For example, DigitalMarketer opened our Lab membership for free during the month of March. We ended up getting over 60,000 new Lab sign ups. We were able to pivot to an offer that served our community and are excited to have been able to educate new marketers around the world, without them having to worry about paying during fragile times.

Working from home can be a huge shift for small businesses. While nobody really knows what they’re doing right now, businesses can lean into the unknown and keep a mindset of constant adaptation.

And a full cupboard of snacks.

Lots of snacks.

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