Support from the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne for Businesses affected by COVID-19
By Simon Brosolo - April 15, 2020
There is a lot of information out there regarding avenues of support for businesses affected by COVID-19. For those looking to support their digital strategy, we’ve previously posted about Google and Facebook offering nearly a billion dollars combined for small-medium sized businesses. For our Victorian friends, we also wanted to share details of grants recently announced by the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne.
As many come to terms with the ongoing effects COVID-19 will have on their business, cost-cutting may mean the normal sales and marketing functions could be in jeopardy. Whilst there is certainly a no one-size fits all approach to navigating these challenging times, there are some digital strategies, tools and financial support available right now to see this through.
As our time spent on digital channels increases tremendously during this COVID-19 period, it could be the perfect time to take your business online, launch a new digital strategy or reconsider how digital tools could streamline your business processes. COVID-19 may have lasting effects on general consumer behaviour, where digital will remain prominent for years to come. Challenging times call for a shake-up, not a shut down!
In the last couple of weeks, governments and global media giants have all come to the table with some fairly impressive COVID-19 grants.
The City of Melbourne is offering $5 million in grants for local businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities. If you’ve lost revenue due to retail closure, this grant can provide up to $5,000 for hardware, software and services to develop the following digital capabilities:
Eligible businesses can receive funding up to $10,000 through the $500 million Business Support Fund. Grants can be used to cover financial services, operational costs or marketing and communications activities.
With these grants on offer, it can be overwhelming to decide where you should best invest for both the short and long term success of your business. Let’s explore some options.
With the fate of your business potentially lying in people's palms (and virtual shopping carts) getting your brand in front of people who need your product or service is vital. People are spending longer than ever on social media, so perhaps you need a social media strategy. Or you may invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your website, ensuring you get those clicks now and into the future.
When there’s no one walking the streets and business dries-up, building your online presence is ever so important. Showcase your brand with a beautiful and easy to use website and if you’re selling products, why not set up eCommerce for the long term and streamline your inventory processes. That’s a win-win!
So you’ve set up your online presence, but where are all those customers? It may be time to invest in paid search or paid social media. This gets your products/services in front of your audience at the right time to drive return on investment. Paid media advertising is affordable, flexible and there are also grants from Google and Facebook on offer to accelerate it.
If you’re already engaging in marketing activities, but don’t know which ones are actually giving you a return on your investment then it’s time to optimise. Setting up a customer database or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution can help with multi-channel attribution, digital analytics & dashboards and conversion rate optimisation. Some of these tools are even free, and you can read more on another of our blogs here.
Without aligning your customers and business priorities it’s impossible to see the big picture. If you’re looking to change your customer experience strategy as a result of the current climate, we’d love to help with technology selection & implementation and systems & process training. Initial consultations are pro bono and there are solutions for businesses of all sizes.
It’s times like this that you need your people doing what they are best at, not simply doing their best. Businesses have been inundated with the need to upgrade customer care & support processes and automate workflow. It’s a better time than ever to invest in automation, boost your customer satisfaction and see lasting results.
Have a unique business and are struggling to find a solution that fits your needs? Well, custom application development and system integrations can offer your business a solution that will provide you with a unique offering that will leave lasting impressions for years to come.
Our world is moving at such a rapid pace that without the right tools, it’s hard to keep up and keep a finger on the pulse. Business Intelligence Frameworks can offer your business the edge to respond swiftly when the unforeseen happens, or most importantly be prepared with your forecasted view. The good news is, these tools are now more affordable than ever. You can read more about Power BI, a tool we use and consult with here.
We’re humbled that our clients have come to us looking for ways to innovate their businesses for both the short and long term. Some of our retail clients who have been forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19 have worked with us to spin-up a quick and simple e-Commerce website for under $5,000 so they can sell online (for delivery or scheduled pick-ups). This has been invaluable to allow them to continue trading.
Businesses can use the quick response grant mentioned above to cover this cost.
We want to help businesses feel comfortable that they can generate a positive return from their investments in such an unpredictable environment. If executed in the right way, digital tactics can be a life-saver. If you’d like some pro bono advice on where to start or need assistance applying for a grant, please get in touch with the BlueRock Digital team.
BlueRock Digital is part of the entrepreneurial advisory firm, BlueRock, a community of professional services businesses working together to find new opportunities to help businesses grow.
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