With the current crisis leaving many companies seeking remote solutions to coordinate with workers and continue providing crucial services to their existing and growing customer base, now is a better time than ever to reorient yourself as an entrepreneur or small business owner, and consider how best to utilize virtual resources to grow your business from own home.
We are long past the nascent stages of the Internet, and there exist a slew of virtual resources to help resourceful business owners begin to and continue to grow their business from home. By leveraging an interconnected world, a vast talent pool, and the ability to market to clients all over the globe, these resources can help you grow and expand your business idea.
What Are Virtual Resources?
When working virtually, simple every-day tasks must adapt to work as well, if not better than your current strategy. If you’d find yourself often collaborating in person with your team, you may find yourself utilizing virtual technology to accomplish that same goal.
The virtual resources we list below are by no means exhaustive, but they can help you start growing your business remotely and setting up a virtual workforce that can continue to work from anywhere in the world.
1. Customer Base Info
Data is critical, and one of the most important data sets for any small business is the information they can gather on their most loyal and well-paying customers. If you can identify exactly who your best customer is and why they’re investing in your goods and/or services, you can tailor your marketing and products more specifically towards them and others in their niche, and grow more effectively than if you were to continue to spread your efforts and try to capture a much larger market with far stiffer competition.
There are rules and regulations in place for how much data can be collected from customers and in what way, but there are ways to figure out what kind of offering is most popular.
- Figure out who’s buying from you, why they’re buying from you, and what else they might need.
- Once you understand who your best and most loyal customers are, you can start to list all the problems and headaches they might be experiencing, and your tailored solutions towards eliminating these problems.
Another way of figuring out who is most likely to check you out or even buy from you is to start putting out content, and seeing what kind of content is pulling the most page views per month, whether it’s blog content or your website or video content on YouTube.
2. Job Boards & Remote Hiring
Arguably the most challenging aspect to growing a remote business is finding the right talent to fit your needs and company culture (as well developing a company culture to begin with). Businesses that seek hires locally and go through a physical interviewing process can risk less, as a more extensive hiring process can help weed out incompetent applicants and narrow down choice to those most experienced and suited to the job.
However, the virtual hiring process has been greatly refined by the presence of several high-level hiring and outsourcing platforms, quality job boards that weed out unserious or fake applicants, and a large repertoire of effective tools to help gauge a potential employee or contractor’s personality, availability, and skill.
If you want to leverage the world of remote business effectively, you must identify a preferred job board or platform, and get your hiring process down to a T. Pick a platform or site with stringent moderation and quality assurance, rather than spreading your efforts thin across a variety of networks or job boards. Job seekers scour several different platforms and boards at once, so there’s often little sense in focusing on more than one or two quality avenues.
The internet is also suited towards helping you find quality flexible talent, connecting you with contractors that you can hire on a per-project basis rather than signing them on as part-time or full-time workers. This also gives you the opportunity to negotiate rates based on what the project demands, rather than offering a wage. This can also be an attractive route for testing a potential hire’s talents before giving them a more financially appealing offer as a full-time member of your crew.
3. Referral Programs
For small businesses online, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to grow organically. You want customers that don’t just buy your products and services – you want customers that love your products and services. You want customers that voluntarily talk to their friends about your products and services.
And once you’re achieving that, you want to start rewarding it. Don’t just think of referral programs as a sleazy incentive for some low-quality businesses to inflate their numbers. When leveraged as a reward rather than just an incentive, referral programs are, like other reward programs, a way for you to say thank you to your best customers for the value they have brought to your business, not just as purchasing consumers, but as avid fans who continue to recommend your services or products to others they know.
This way, you can continue to grow your business virtually without having to deploy a physical marketing effort or invest in expensive ad campaigns that may not necessarily be affordable right now.
4. Reward Customer Loyalty
Other ways to reward customer loyalty are also a great way to retain and build upon your existing customer base but focus on long-term rewards rather than shorter campaigns. Don’t think of customer loyalty as something you buy – again, it’s something you reward.
Try not to use a customer loyalty program to encourage new customers to make their first purchase so they can start availing of some of the benefits of being a customer – think of it as a special offer that rewards those customers that have been around for the longest, thanking them for the value they have provided. That may be through several freebies, better or special rates, or a lucrative status as “founding customers” or something similar.
Focusing on your best customers is important for any small business, particularly one that wants to grow virtually. It’s difficult to build a lot of rapport with customers you don’t necessarily see face-to-face, but you can emulate some of that good customer care that you see between a traditional butcher shop and a long-time customer by including personalized notes and special freebies in deliveries, and adding a custom or caring touch to every transaction with your most loyal clients or customers.
There Is A Lot More
From consistent weekly content capitalizing on niche search terms your customers may be looking for that your competition isn’t focusing on, to effective and well-organized mailing campaigns that work, an efficient sales funnel, and other virtual resources and solutions, there are countless different things small businesses can leverage in today’s virtual economy to capture new audiences and grow exponentially.
However, it always starts with the same basic core: a competent, hard-working team, and a service or product that truly differentiates itself from the competition in a great way.