It’s a perfect storm…This is the world we are all living in now, I am: – scared and worried for the vulnerable people in my life, wanting to protect them but really feeling completely helpless! – watching revenues crumble through absolutely no fault of my own (Perhaps?? maybe we can do a lot better by hitting the reset button) – in an unprecedented lockdown were the smallest thing I took for granted before now I cannot do. – reading, watching and listening about the heroes of the NHS. We are all in the same boat though!
Communities MatterWith our businesses being gravely affected and the finances that run our homes and lives drying up, the devastating consequences of that are yet to be played out. Government have introduced a raft of measure to help businesses and how effective that has been will remain to be seen. Small towns and communities like ours in Warrenpoint, County Down and the whole island of Ireland are built on small businesses, entrepreneurial zeal and a vocation of service to the community. Small businesses are an integral part of the fabric of life – we meet, chat and deal with the cafe owner, barber, bar owner, beautician, musician, mechanic, joiner, carpet fitter, hairdresser, accountant, plumber, musician and so on every day of the week!
It’s about Family & FriendsThey are our family, friends, relatives. It’s not just about business and making money it’s about connection. It’s about giving each other “a turn”. That’s what is lovely about small communities.
Who knows how long we will be in lockdown?
Who knows what effect it will have on our businesses?
Will there even be a business to go back to?
So what do we do?We have to accept things as they are or we force them to be as they are not. I write this as much as a mantra for myself to help me through to help focus on making wise decisions and taking focused action. We use this time to re-evaluate, scrutinise, strip back the how we have done things back to their core.
Overcoming ObstaclesBusiness gurus will tell us that success in business is about overcoming obstacles and those that do reap the benefits. Hmmm…Coronavirus sure has set us a challenge. The first vital step to take is to use this time to develop a purposeful response to this challenge.
Press Reset ButtonPress the Reset Button on your business! Use the time to critically analyse your systems and processes. Perhaps, the way you have done things for years just is not working as well as it could. Perhaps, you have never been happy with the system but you just could not stop to make that change – fear of loss of business, poor systems better than stopping,
“we’ll make the changes someday”..This time might just be today.
Let’s look at MarketingI specialise in marketing so let’s take a look at how you can approach that. Marketing can be very much an afterthought for those of us in small business – random pics or videos on social media, an outdated website, a feel for who our customers rather than real, hard data. Some of us who are little more technically get distracted by gimmicks in an attempt to game the system (I am that soldier!!!). Marketing your business is about solving a problem for your customer or prospect. It’s about understanding the problem from their perspective –
Standing in the shoes of your customer!
It’s not about you!It’s not about us, it’s about them! We need to have a plan to communicate what we do, for who and why we do it.
SIMI call it the SIM plan. Structure and process help to make sure that I am doing the best I can to cover the important things. SIM stands for Strategy, Implementation and Measurement. Treat this as a constant loop through your customer cycles. Strategy. The first step is to know your customer (both existing and potential) and here is a few questions to help you work through this:
- Is there a disconnect between what I think I provide and why the customer might be attracted to my offer?
- Have I asked people on the street what they think about when they think about the problem my product/service could solve?
- Am I the bridge from where they are now to where they want to be?
Now to the Free Tools!I have a linked below to all the free tools below – If you want further help directly to your inbox on how I use these tools please sign up. 1. Google Apps Google Apps are an essential part of my process. They are simple to use, with a clean design and interface. You can store, access and share any of your apps from any device. You can be working on your computer in the morning and access your work from your phone in the evening. The free personal Google Account gives you 15GB of storage free. What you can do with Google Apps:
- Docs – Word, Spreadsheet, Powerpoint
- Calendar – your diary in sync – enter once and you are up-to-date across all your devices.
- Jamboard – online whiteboard
- Keep – To-Do list
- Form – generate online applications forms, surveys and questionaires
- Classroom – a free online education platform
- Analytics – keep track of your website traffic
- Trends – look at what is trending online
- it is a communication tool video, voice, email and social media.
- A project management tool.
- A Finance tool.
- A Design Tool – shooting video, taking images, editing.