With the onslaught of COVID-19, small and medium businesses are faced with the challenges of restructuring their organizations to meet this evolving situation. With updates flying in every hour, small and medium businesses are even more vulnerable to uncertainty. However, there is help out there. In addition to the free and open-source technology options (like Google suite), many companies are offering other tools and platforms for free or at deeply discounted rates to assist businesses to remain open during these uncertain times. We gathered here a collection of some of the resources available to small and medium businesses to ensure you remain operating while this crisis evolves.
Video conferencing is a great way to keep your team connected and engaged while they collaborate from home. Google Hangouts is a great free option for teleconferencing as it allows users to call in, text and video chat. You can even save groups for future hangouts so you don’t have to send individual invites for each conference. The best part, Google Hangouts is available on all desktop and mobile devices making it simple to connect across multiple devices.
For larger groups, the international tech-giant Cisco is currently offering free 90-day licensing plans for its Webex products which host video conferencing, screen sharing and webinars for up to 100 people. In times of crisis, it is important for businesses to remain transparent and keep open communication with their customers, so Webex offers a great opportunity to connect on a larger scale with your customers.
Social media management
Now it is more important than ever for small and medium businesses to engage with their consumers on social media. This will allow you to keep your customers updated as to what services you are providing and also obtain feedback from customers regarding what they want or need from your company moving forward. The best way to survive a crisis is to stay adaptable to an evolving situation and social media is essential to remaining current and communicating with your client base in real-time. To this end, Hootsuite is currently offering their social media management tools and professional plans for free.
If your company isn’t utilizing Slack yet, you really should look into it. Slack is a messaging platform that allows users to create group chats, direct message individuals and post updates to various channels. You can tag or mention specific members or teams in your organization when posting, enabling quick and efficient communication. Slack offers free and paid plans so there is an option for every budget.
Working from home tips
LinkedIn is a great platform for communicating with your professional network as well as obtaining a large organic reach for well-crafted content. Social media platforms like LinkedIn will likely become even more important to business in the coming months as a means of allowing people to network when physical networking events are canceled. LinkedIn allows users to post updates, videos, pictures, and original articles so you can keep in touch with and naturally grow your professional network. To help businesses transition to a virtual workspace, LinkedIn has made 16 learning courses available for free, revolving around how to manage virtual teams and how to stay connected and productive while working from home.
In times of crisis, it is important to care for one’s mind and body. To encourage people and businesses to practice self-care, Headspace is currently offering a slew of guided meditation courses and exercises for free to businesses and individuals coping with the stress of COVID-19. Considering taking care of ourselves is largely the only thing we have control over, take time to remind yourself and your staff to breathe and practice mindfulness in order to remain well during these turbulent times.
If your business is directly impacted by COVID-19 and is struggling to stay afloat, there are loan options available. The U.S. Small Business Association’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the loss of revenue. You can CLICK HERE for more information regarding the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and other programs offered to help small businesses.
Businesses of all sizes are experiencing turmoil as a result of COVID-19. As with many economic and social upheavals, small and medium sized businesses are the most vulnerable to changing tides. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. If you are struggling in any capacity, research online for resources to help. Listed above are just a few of the available options, but there are companies that can help you in all facets of your business, from transitioning to a virtual workforce or protecting your employees from burnout. Take the time to evaluate your business model and be willing to change as needed.
Email has been sent!