The past two weeks have been a little less normal to say the least, and with all of the news and information coming at us it’s often difficult to stay focused on the elements we can control as a small business.
We wanted to put out a little bit of a guidance on where we are and hopefully some information that will help businesses in general. First, we have been working remotely ahead of the Governor’s announcement. It not only seemed like a good business decision to move remote, it gives us all the ability to keep our clients requests flowing without slow down. In general, those requests have been related to updating websites, adding Covid-19 plans for customers to remove, getting information out on social media, and managing email notifications across their client base. All great, proactive pieces.
For us, it has been an opportunity to work with our day-to-day systems that I know I’ve personally taken for granted. I am going to be a little more detailed about what they are and how we use them with the hopes that other businesses migrating might be able to leverage some of the information for themselves.
Our projects are managed online through Basecamp; it’s a system we have had in place for at least seven years. Our team jumps on a daily call, reviews what is on the docket, and works through what is open there. Think of it as a robust to-do list that you can assign to individuals, add information or attachments to, and prioritize tasks. If you pre-plan a bit you should be able to work with a free account. Otherwise you can roll out multiple projects and the supporting to-do lists in a paid account.
For staying connected, we are using two tools. Trust me, there are hundreds to work from, but these are our tried and true tools. For conference calls we stick with GoTo Meeting. This allows screen shares, cameras if you want to find some levity in how the team is putting together their workspace at home, or just the basic conference call. Yes, there are a number of free tools out there, but this is one that we have found increased quality with their paid infrastructure. Outside of voice, we work in Slack as well. There is an amazing amount of depth to this tool, but just think of it as a chat that you can segment to keep everyone sharing files and information in real time (via a browser or a mobile app).
We rely a lot on file sharing, and one of the more technical tools we implemented was a solution for a file server. This is another area where there are thousands of options. Ours is working with a Synology box using their quick connect to make it visible to the outside team off our network. Everyone can get to their files and we have a robust backup of the files through this system as well. This is what we use.
If any of this spurs any thoughts or questions, I would be happy to give you my advice. It’s one of those times that we feel every little bit can help a business. Just drop me an email jack @ blackout-design.com
Beyond the systems piece we are also eager to help some of our local retailers and restaurants get online to supplement their sales. Gone are the days of elaborate eCommerce setups. Our method can bypass your existing site and have a parallel site for transactions (that costs about $40 a month after it’s configured with no contract), and allows you to control the sale so you aren’t paying out to GrubHub or UberEats (if you do pickup or have your own delivery folks). We would be happy to get you set up to stem some of the shock all of our businesses are feeling.
So in short – we are thankful that we are humming right along from some comfortable locations and would love to make sure you all are able to do the same.