Despite the fact that the countries were one after another "closed" to quarantine, during this time I managed to hold a series of successful negotiations with BTC-Alpha partners and meet dozens of managers and executives of many companies in the field of fintech. And all this - in reality, when the borders were rapidly closed, flights were canceled, events were postponed indefinitely, and users refused to use the services due to pessimistic expectations.
This is what I have learned during this time - and I advise you to try to go through difficult times together with your team and not lose the ability to new partnerships and development.
In 2020, the profile conferences last took place in February - then everything began to close and postpone. Already in March, it became clear that there is no point in dreaming of any conferences until October. Usually, international events are prepared for 2-3-5 months, and in conditions when not only the equipment, but even people can not cross the border in groups in time, and in most countries, there are restrictions on crowds, even on the streets - to prepare, launch or participation in conferences is not mentioned. We ourselves planned to hold a large industry conference on blockchain in Cyprus in early summer 2020 - but realized that we would have to act quite differently.
During the quarantine, we not only became "prisoners" of our homes - but also gained access to new forms of information, which were previously rarely used by the corporate sector. We are talking about online learning and organizing and conducting webinars.
— You have the ability to organize a stable internet connection and a quality webcam to transmit good images and sound to other participants
— You have a room without extraneous noise and with good lighting + without access to it by children, relatives or other people who are also in quarantine with you (because most now work from home, and there is a risk of repeating the famous video with the professor and sudden intrusion descendants.
— You have an account for webinars - and preferably without time constraints. Of course, if we lived in the world of our dreams, everyone would invest in a clear time. However, in reality, the number of questions from participants + technical problems during the live broadcast = going outside the webinar for 10-15 minutes or more. You should be ready for this both technically and organizationally
— And most importantly - you really have something to share with the audience. Now the info space is literally oversaturated with various webinars and online conferences but useful tips, insights or real statistics are used very little. In my personal TOP - market analysis, analysis of specific cases, providing advice based on personal practice (but be sure to support these tips and cases with specific calculations and indicators). If you have all this, then it will make sense to hold such a webinar.
In general, online learning is now in great demand - so we are preparing to launch our own educational platform, and at the end of May 2020 we present it to our users.
It seems easy to run an online event - but it's not just about attracting speakers, partners, or sponsors. To do everything at the proper level, do not forget about a few components:
— Speakers who are trusted and who have something to tell a wide audience, not just narrow specialists from their own niche
— Own technical platform for organizing and conducting broadcasts in HD quality
— A separate mini-site for advertising the event, where after it you will publish materials from the speakers
— Budget for promotion and attraction - yes, an online event will be an order of magnitude cheaper than offline, but you are unlikely to be able to do without money.
— But the main thing you should focus on in the preparation and launch is not the pursuit of "likes" or views, but the desire to convey real value in this event or series of training webinars. There is a clear answer to what the value is - it makes sense to run. There is no clear answer - do not rush to invest in it time and money just because now "everyone is doing so."
Communication - as I said - has changed, and this could not but affect the reduction of time and change the form of acquaintance in business circles. If earlier this required a stack of business cards and some time to communicate on the sidelines or during an after-party at conferences, now all the attention of the professional community has shifted to LinkedIn. It's time to put things in order there and deal with contact inquiries.
Here are some steps to organize your LinkedIn profile - now it should be one of the key tools for your networking:
— Let's start with the avatar - it should clearly show your face. The profile header should show that you belong to the company where you currently work
— Current and previous positions should be clearly stated and listed in the profile
— Don't forget to join industry groups and communities in your areas of activity
— Try to gather feedback and recommendations about you from colleagues you have worked with before in different projects or companies. Recommendations from your current and previous managers or partners (if you run a company) will not hurt either
— Regularly share useful links, articles, and materials with members of thematic communities on LinkedIn. The vast majority of the information should relate to the industry in which you currently work
— Expand your contact lists regularly. Meet those you don't know yet, but work in the same field.
The culture of video communication is what many companies lacked when quarantine was just beginning. Subsequently, there was a scandal with the leakage of personal data and problems of reliability and protection in the Zoom service - but the need to contact the team, partners, and investors on a daily basis does not disappear. Our team now uses corporate accounts and Google Meet. However, I advise you to pay attention to Webex and customized solutions for IP telephony and video calling.
The threat of coronavirus has changed our habit of dealing with important issues in person. From my own experience over the past 2 months I can give some advice:
— The first thing to start with is to always take into account the time difference between the place where you are and the current location of your interlocutor (or interlocutor). It is best to schedule video calls in the first half of the day from your interlocutor (even if you have an evening at this time) - because you need to take your point of view and the information you offer "freshly".
— An important element of any such call is a follow-up letter after its completion. You can prepare it not on your own, but entrust it to one of your colleagues who was also present during this call (after all, 90% of calls involve several specialists from both sides at once). Preparing such a letter is 5-10 minutes of your time, and in the end, both parties will have a clear idea of what the next steps will be based on the results of the discussion.
— Respect your time and the time of others: It is best if the call lasts no more than 45 minutes - this is enough to clarify all the key issues, and then you can continue communication by e-mail or schedule an additional call for the next days of the week.
— Be punctual even on the Internet - do not be late for joint calls and try to get your interlocutors to respond accordingly to the scheduled time and schedule of video calls.
— Be loyal to force majeure. Due to Internet problems, the emergence of emergency work tasks, or urgent circumstances, you can postpone the call once. If the situation with transfers is repeated more than twice - this is an alarming signal that should warn you against deepening cooperation with such people or companies.
— Have you settled the current tasks and practices? Then it's time to look at at least 5 realities that will await us all during 2020, in whatever sector of the economy we work in.
Do not wait for the rapid resumption of international conferences and myths in the industry (if not for the Internet). If before you were accustomed to the fact that your project develops and moves solely through regular meetings, conferences, flights, and communication on the sidelines, now you have to act differently.
There is a period of tight savings of resources - and it will result in a reduction in the frequency and number of transactions, "under which" will go marketing budgets and will be revised plans for expansion in new markets. In this difficult period, the company's growth should be qualitative, not quantitative. Therefore, you will have to say goodbye to weak players in your teams, remember that a good person is not a profession, but optimize costs according to what is of paramount importance to you today. And of course, rigidly capture the KPIs and current results with which your business has entered the vortex of the pandemic.
An increasing number of companies will introduce multi-level data protection - not only files but also voice calls, video chats, and e-mail. Data in all its forms remains the main "fuel" for business, especially when everything is 100% online. The minimum steps to increase corporate security are installing a VPN, setting up firewalls, backing up files on work and personal computers or laptops (especially when it comes to your team's remote work).
Conciseness is a new black. In communication with partners, customers, and employees, all tasks, opinions, and suggestions should be set out as concretely as possible, and act quickly and without delay. I will not say that many business "ships" will sink, but if the team can not agree on the speed of response "onshore", then while sailing through this "perfect storm" many business "crews" fail precisely because of inconsistencies in communications.
Be prepared to act in a radically different way than you are used to - even after it's all over. My personal prediction: no earlier than the fall of 2020, we should expect the markets related to finance and active operations to recover, and about the same time, general business activity will resume. But for the next 3-4 months, you should have a clear plan for "reactivation" - and a willingness to respond quickly and accurately in a period when everyone is just beginning to "swing" and restore their own positions.
Despite the fact that in the article I presented my own experience, I would like to know the opinion of colleagues in the market: how do they get out of this situation? So I will be happy for comments and feedback that will complement this list.