It is starting to look like the dark days of the pandemic are behind most businesses and many are having a strong operational bounce back. However, we’re still hearing that some still aren’t back to where they envisioned and business is slow.
A variety of factors can be affecting this dependant on industry, product, service or customer behaviour. Take a look at the difficulties some airlines are experiencing for example; a severely impacted industry during the pandemic, staff shortages and a post pandemic boom in demand have all contributed to a failure to deliver the service levels customers had come to expect.
If your business is experiencing a lull in demand or interest, we’ve got 4 ways you can give your business a boost to help develop it further and see it thrive in the long-term. Check them out below!
1. Develop a sound Marketing plan
Having a marketing plan in place for your business can help you to better identify your target market and what benefit your product or service can bring to it. A good strategy can also identify how you might attract new customers and how to encourage your existing customers to continue purchasing your product or service.
As you develop a marketing plan, you will need to consider:
· your target audience
· their needs
· how you can meet those needs
The age of the internet and social media has opened countless new marketing avenues for small business, but with many options out there, it’s often tricky to decide what channels to focus on.
Social media is a cheap and effective tool for marketing, but if your target demographic is not as active online as others, perhaps you need to rethink. It’s also worth noting that unless you’ve got a big budget to spend, social media is a slow burner so can take a while to build a following.
Top Tip: If you’re on social media think about what your audience will want to see or what problem they need to solve rather than pushing what you want to sell them – trust leads to custom.
Also, don’t spend a long time agonising about how to word a post or the image with it – just get it out. If it’s a good post it’ll do well and you can note what works and doesn’t rather than spending lots of time trying to guess.
Look at local out of the home opportunities, there may be social or business groups you can publicly speak at showcasing your knowledge and service or product. Get into your local press, look at advertising opportunities in areas your target demographic spend time.
Emails are a brilliant and free tool to promote your business – get a subscription box set up on your website or social media and start capturing those emails! You can even incentivise signups with a free trial of your service or sample of your product.
Not every marketing campaign will be a success but you will always learn from your actions. Track your results, measure what’s effective and tailor future plans accordingly. Remember doing something is better than nothing, how else will they find you?
2. Explore different Sales avenues
When we think of sales we think of the sale transaction but a good sales strategy should be the proactive part of the journey before there active action on the customer’s part.
Developing a sales strategy involves trial and error. Working out what does and does not work can take time, but perseverance pays. There are many ways you can follow up leads from your marketing activities, plus a few more sales activities you can do on top.
Here are some of the ways you can connect with potential customers and close those all-important sales for your business:
Network – build relationships with your peers not only will you be able to have an exchange of goods or services between yourselves but, provide good service, and you’ll tap into their customer base on recommendation.
Local business relationships – if you’re based in, or close to, a local business district or business park introduce yourself, they may grant you permission to share your product or service with their employees.
Follow up calls –many direct emailing platforms allow you to see who’s opened or clicked on your emails, follow this up with a call. Leave a couple of days of course.
Cold calling –Yes, this old sales technique still works. Don’t be shy, an introduction to your business can be enough, it’s not advisable to try for a sale on the first call but if it happens to go that way great! Either way they know you’re there and now have your details.
Direct Messaging –Social media platforms allow you to direct message people via their profile, make the most of it! Put together a good script and send it out. Try to personalise where you can and change it fast if it’s not generating a response.
Nurture existing customers – Keep in touch with those that matter. Most custom comes from repeat custom so upsell and cross sell where possible. The best way to do this is to keep in touch with customers, not with blanket messages but with one to one attention, set reminders to give them a call and see how they’re doing.
Top Tip: It can also be a good idea to look at your existing audience and go for similar, like for like customers. For example, if you sell your products or services to 3local schools – get in touch with every school in the area and tell them you already supply others. It builds trust, targets a niche and you can then position yourself as a preferred supplier for that audience. Use everything at your disposal; letter, email, SMS, social media and phone to reach them.
3. Access finance
To grow your business - whether that’s investing in capital, expanding your products or increasing outlets - investment is needed, and sometimes that will come from external sources.
There are many different types of funding available to small businesses. Before making any concrete decisions, you must:
· decide how much cash is needed - going to lenders and failing to provide a viable figure and sales forecasts will not inspire confidence
· be clear about your aims - what exactly is this cash going to be used for? A solid plan will increase the likelihood of securing financial support
· have a repayment plan in mind - whether that’s through monthly repayments plus interest or a stake in the company, committing to an achievable repayment plan will give lenders peace of mind
Whether accessing funding through loans, crowdfunding or other sources, inspiring confidence in lenders through planning and forecasting will play in your favour. Read our guide on ‘Accessing finance for business growth’
4. Build a team you can trust
As much as it can be tempting to try, no business owner can do everything on their own, so it’s important to hire the best people possible and share responsibilities effectively.
Hiring specialists, as well as a good accountant, will add expertise and knowledge in areas you may not be as strong in and hold you accountable to the targets you set.
We’re a crew of accountants on a mission to help businesses, like yours, grow.
The Blue Rocket team is capable of far more than just number crunching. Where we come into our own is in our ability to think creatively and proactively, identifying areas where we can help fuel your business' growth. This is where the real fun lies in accountancy.
If you’d like to speak to us about your business or personal accounting needs, call us on 01322555442.