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Teams around the country are still adjusting to the idea of working remotely. Luckily, in today’s world of connectivity, you can access pretty much anything and connect with anyone – regardless of where you’re located. There are also a plethora of tools and resources to help you make the transition easier for your online business.

Zinhlezonke Zikalala, editor of Sibizi Magazine, gives us insight on how she got her business off the ground and sustained it remotely during lockdown. These are the six key elements you need:

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1/ A solid team

“I started off Sibizi Magazine as a one man show… and what a mess!” admits Zinhlezonke. But she pulled a group of strong people around her and the business transformed. “I can definitely see the growth and improvement in the quality of the magazine now that I have a team that is willing to put in the work and that I can trust,” she says.

Trust is crucial when working remotely because everyone is reliant on everyone else to make the dream work. “Building a team that comprises the different skill sets you need to make the magazine flourish is really key,” says Zinhlezonke. “It’s even better if they’re happy!” she quips.

2/ Good communication channels

Sibizi is a digital publication, so it only makes sense to work digitally. “Being online means our communication with one another has to be on 100% – always,” says Zinhlezonke. “From copywriter to designers to sales and everything in between – everyone needs to be on the loop with what’s going on, so that we do what is needed right, and on time. In order to do that successfully, we need to communicate cohesively,” she says.

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3/ Pre-planning strategies

Planning content months in advance is practical, but can be tricky if you want to be relevant and cover content that is fresh and that matters to your audience right now. It doesn’t always work, says Zinhlezonke, but it’s a great work culture to have.

4/ Core brand values and goals

“We started the brand with clear intentions to inspire, motivate and educate,” says Zinhlezonke. “This is something we constantly have to revisit to ensure that we aren’t derailing from what we initially wanted to do.” It can be chaotic and they can get carried away, admits Zinhlezonke, but their initial strategy always brings them back down to earth. “Set goals early and stick to them!” she says.

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5/ A heartfelt message

People usually see right through bullsh*t. “Create with love, passion and intention – people appreciate that and they see it,” says Zinhlezonke. “In that way you create a community that is loyal and supportive of what you’re doing – and that is what grows the brand, not frivolous numbers that often mean nothing at all,” she says.

6/ Last, but certainly not least: a deep understanding of your audience

“I cannot stress the importance of knowing who your people are enough,” says Zinhlezonke. “These points are in no particular order, but I think this one ranks right up there at the top. Knowing your audience will help you put a lot of things into perspective,” she says.

“Not everyone will like your brand, and it’s okay. You will be criticised, and that’s fine too. But if you know who your audience is and cater to them, everything will make sense and automatically serve its intended purpose.”

Check out the Sibizi Media website, and find Sibizi Magazine on Facebook and Instagram and Sibizi News on Twitter.

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