You could well be familiar with many of the suggestions detailed here. However, as we all experience from time to time, we often get caught up working ‘in the business’, dealing with day to day matters; that we forget to ‘work on the business’, to help it be the best it can be. Use these tips as a way to build momentum and serve as reminders to what we should all be regularly doing.
- Ask for recommendations and referrals. Use Social Media to ask customers and friends for recommendations and referrals. A shout out for a recommendation is a great way to gain traction on your social media platforms. It’s reusable content too and can be repurposed for digital use; whether on your website or newsletter, or in printed media, like brochures and leaflets.
- Go retro! Use the phone! Calling existing and potential customers cements relationships and customer loyalty, and could result in a new order or sales lead. A little planning goes a long way – before you make the call, list a few products or services you want to promote including any new lines you have coming in. Also,whilst on the call ask for feedback, is there anything your customers think you should be doing or selling? Feedback from a customer’s perspective is invaluable! (And be sure to obtain their postal and/or their email address so you can keep in touch through other means not forgetting to check GDPR data regulations). Top tip! – Plan to make regular customer calls, maybe once a month would work for you?
- Form trading partnerships. Do you know of a complementary business that provides products or services to the same or similar customer base? Can you both cross promote each other’s services? Create a letter of introduction updating your customers of your trading partner – offer a discount or incentive to buy from both businesses. Yet another great reason to talk with your customers!
- Conduct business research. There are many types of beneficial research you can do, including competitor research, market research, product research and customer research. Research helps identify the wants and needs of your customer base. Before you start, decide on what you want to achieve, new product lines, new customers, or perhaps more specifically customers via other sales channels, you decide. Perform a SWOT analysis (try this example to get you on track) to identify your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once completed, this will guide your research. If you’re unsure where to start, try doing some competitor research – Pick 10 competitors and review their websites. What are they doing better than you? What are your business strengths by comparison? – Come away with 5 action points that will positively improve your business.
- Do a digital health check. Check all your social media platforms, search engines including Google My Business, online directories; in fact everywhere your business appears online. Is your information up to date? What can you add to ensure people find you when they need your services? Try offering a discount to inbound enquiries for quoting where they found you; it will identify where your efforts are paying off.
- Invest in staff training and regular team meetings. Your staff are not only the eyes and ears of your business they are its mouthpiece too. Ensure they are up to date with product locations and new product lines for example. Encourage the team to exchange information on regular customer requests. A daily 15 minute team talk where everyone gets to share issues and information is key to improving your business. Training will foster the “can do” mindset and speak volumes about your business to its customers. Training demonstrates you are: up to date with Health and Safety issues, regulatory matters, committed to continued growth and outstanding customer service.
- Talk to your accountant. Are there tax breaks or incentives you can take advantage of right now? Your accountant can also help you with business forecasting and other financial planning. Make contact to find out how they can help.
- Invest in your business. No advice would be complete without ensuring you’re properly funded to take your business to the next level. Sound financial support for your recovery and growth should be straightforward and stress free, allowing you to focus on what you do best to help your business thrive.
If you take credit and debit card payments, take a look at our Merchant Cash Advance, it’s a fantastic way of obtaining funding that you pay off only when your customers pay you. If your accounts are showing a loss, the high street bank won’t help but we will.