We recently teamed up with Yahoo Small Business on a three-part webinar series to help small business entrepreneurs understand the new non-negotiables for operating in a digital world. According to our series guests, highlighted below are the four critical actions small businesses must take.
See a recording of each webinar here to get the full experience:
Episode 1: Boost Your Brand Presence
Episode 2: Master the Virtual Handshake
Episode 3: Innovate and Create
1) TRANSITION YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE:
In the first webinar, co-host Brad Dorsey of Yahoo! Small Business emphasized the importance of transitioning from a brick-and-mortar-only operation to an online or hybrid model.
“Small businesses need to be aware of new technologies and they need to plan effectively and develop an omnichannel strategy to figure out what is vital for their online growth.” – Brad Dorsey, Yahoo! Small Business Advocate
Breaking down what's needed for small businesses to succeed online, leading experts provided tips and pointed to a host of resources, including the Verizon Pay it Forward campaign, where entrepreneurs can get support with setting up a website, domain, and additional properties when it comes to launching their company.
In Episode 2, Adam Knoerzer, a wine educator and founder of ‘Burghundy LLC—who also happens to be the champion in the 2019 Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup—highlighted the reasons entrepreneurs and small business owners should leverage technology, emphasizing the need to look for technology that allows you to easily ‘plug and play’ while also evolving with your business needs over time. As a wine consultant who transitioned from in-person tastings to remote wine education classes, he chose BlueJeans for its rich feature set. Furthermore, BlueJeans gave him the flexibility to be agile and adapt to the changing market. For small businesses looking to adapt to today’s environment, to get online quickly and in front of customers effectively is now non-negotiable.
2) MAXIMIZE VIDEO:
As the owner of a video production company that helps businesses and organizations harness the power of story and video to inspire their audience to take action, David Hepburn, founder of Hepburn Creative, is no stranger to video tools. In the first webinar of the series, David shared his advice on searching for the best video tools for working with clients.
“Don’t get overwhelmed with the resources available. Spend time identifying your audience and understanding how to connect with them.” – David Hepburn, Founder, Hebpurn Creative
In doing so, small business owners can determine the appropriate solution and ‘maximize video’ to suit their specific needs.
Another key point to consider is the customer's business challenge—what is standing in their way, and what tools can help be a part of the solution—Hepburn promotes video as a versatile tool that helps him maximize his customer experiences. For example, small businesses can use the virtual background feature within BlueJeans Meetings to add personality or brand their video appropriately and the recording feature to go back and produce videos for reputation building, demonstrations, and marketing/brand visibility. Maximizing video is now one of the number one ways to get in front of customers.
3) MASTER THE VIRTUAL HANDSHAKE:
Making a connection in the digital world is key to success, and there’s no better way than to see the faces of those you’re speaking with. Small business owners need to break away from the mindset of replicating the one-to-one in-person experience and instead expand their reach by utilizing the tools they have on hand—such as using video conferencing to give compelling presentations and create genuine connections.
So, how do you make technology work for you? In episode two, Knoerzer said, “Be aware of the audience and their different needs and expectations.” Owners should build those understandings into their presentation and know the capabilities of their tools.
Meeting in a virtual space will cause audience engagement to come in a number of non-traditional ways. Using video conferencing, owners should rethink and reshape their meetings and demonstrations to provide the most value to the audience in the virtual medium. Flexibility is the most important thing to offer to a user, as it reduces barriers to participation and entry, while establishing trust and genuine connection.
4) CREATE VIRTUAL PROCESSES:
In Episode 3, co-partners of the Bra Lab, Gina Vericella Crevi and Jennifer Vericella Prado, deployed BlueJeans Meetings video conferencing technology to support their bra production process. Once COVID-19 hit and they couldn’t develop prototypes in person anymore, they needed a solution that fit their process.
The recording, screen sharing, and ‘smart’ features within video conferencing platforms allow for workstreams to adapt and small businesses to innovate. As Brad Dorsey from Yahoo SMB said, “It's very important to think outside the box when setting up processes to be successful; find tools that allow you to collaborate effectively."
As the past year has shown, it’s critical for small businesses to transition from in-person to online. By maximizing the use of video, mastering virtual audience engagement and creating new processes that eliminate the in-person variable, small businesses can find success in this digital-first world.
Check out the below BlueJeans and Yahoo SMB Resources to help you master the new non-negotiables and download your free trial of BlueJeans today: