The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant closures of many businesses to limit opportunities for exposure to the novel coronavirus are forcing Tri-City entrepreneurs — and their peers across Canada — to adapt and innovate if they’re to survive.
And a Port Coquitlam web developer and media specialist is offering his services for free to help them do just that.
Nicholas Ram, who opened his boutique media and visual arts firm, Nicholas Ram Media, last October, said local businesses may even emerge from the current crisis stronger and more capable to compete against online behemoths like Amazon.
Ram said so far, he has received 24 applications to a solicitation he posted late last week to help small businesses across Canada set up online storefronts so they can keep offering their products and services online even as their doors are closed. He said many had never before considered online sales as a viable option in their local markets.
But with all other possibilities now all but closed to them, it may be their only way to keep revenue coming in to pay the bills and their employees.
“Anything can be done online,” Ram said. “It’s just a matter of making it happen.”
He said many small business owners don’t have the technical skills or time to build an e-commerce site from the ground up, let alone sweat the logistics of fulfilling and shipping orders.
Ram said he can work with any small business looking to go online by assessing their needs, vision and core values. Building a basic online storefront with secure payment protocols can take less than a week and he’ll even set up a small business account with Canada Post to facilitate shipping.
“It’s a pretty collaborative process,” he said — one that could change the way they do business forever.
Ram said even before the pandemic paralyzed standard business models the world over, more and more commerce has been happening online, including groceries.
“I think it’s just a matter of convenience,” he said. “People are willing to spend top dollar over going out to wait in line or discovering that something isn’t available.”
Giving small businesses the tools to join that shift presents a huge opportunity for them, Ram added.
“It’s definitely going to have an effect on the way business is being done,” he said of the pandemic. “This will change the way people are going to shop from here on.”
• To learn more about Ram’s COVID-19 support program for small businesses, go to www.nrm.works/covid19.