- “It’s difficult out there.”
- “I don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m worried.”
- “I’ve never had to operate in such uncertain conditions.”
- “Everyone is feeling the pinch, people are holding off making decisions.”
- “I only have a small percentage of my usual market to work with.”
You’ve heard similar sentiments from those around you. You may have mentioned some of these phrases yourself?
Well, rather than thinking or worrying about what’s going to happen in a market affected by COVID-19, now’s the time to take action and work to position yourself and your business to take advantage of a shifting and uncertain market.
Growing a business is neither simple or easy. It’s like sowing a crop. The growth won’ t occur overnight but if you pick the right type of seed, be smart by selecting an area with fertile soil, and manage the growth well, you can maximise the future potential of any harvest.
Have a vision. It takes robust action and contingency planning, effective strategy implementation and a willingness to get in during this difficult time and get your hands dirty.
Don’t just think or talk about it, DO IT!
I’ve worked in different industries within the SME sector for years, owning and operating my own companies for many of them. I’ve personally deployed growth strategies and also observed others attempt to create business growth (some successful, some not) and have noted down the best of those below for your consideration.
Not all of these will fit your business profile, needs and direction so consider your options and choose the ones that are most appropriate to you and your circumstances.
- Data collection – Know your customers.
Not just age and gender, but how they think, what their interests are, what values they hold and what business goals they have. Understand your portfolio. The more you understand your customers, the greater your opportunities are to explore and tap new areas within them. Dormant opportunities and value lie within your pool of existing customers.
- Customer Service – Don’t be average, be exceptional.
How are you standing out against your competitors? Investigate elements that your business can improve on and implement the changes. Now more than ever, your business needs to be viewed as the first and best choice.
- Social Media – Your business needs to be positioned and displayed well.
With a depressed market, brand recognition could be the difference between securing a new customer and missing out. Get an expert to discuss a plan and support you with your activity.
- Work your external team.
You have employees, but how well are you working with external associates? Referrals, testimonials, shared business interests, combined contracts, networking. It’s often an untapped goldmine. Contractors? Customers? Partnerships, liaisons, relationships! – get them all on your side. You never know where the next sale will come from.
- Get your message out there.
Offer training to customers. Speaking engagements. Educate people with blogs or posts. Keep your business and your brand, front and centre.
- Support your local community.
They’re hurting too. Find low cost ways to show your community that you care and can live up to your values, even in difficult times.
- Explore additional income streams.
Any market share gained now will pay dividends when the market recovers. What other areas in your business have you considered that might align or support core products?
- Industriously measure and track your activity.
Examine results. Understand trends. Change, adjust,and pivot as needed. If the market is fluid, be prepared to adapt to better suit changing conditions.
Now is the time to try to take advantage of your business savvy, your product suite and your internal and external teams.
Be positive, be smart, be creative, take risks – but above all, be wise.
For further support, advice help or ideas contact me
P.S. This article is part of my Secrets of Success series, aimed at helping business owners and entrepreneurs with some of the key components of business success. The insights I wish I’d had at the start of my business career. I hope that by passing on these little gems of knowledge I can give you some support and help you along the pathway to growth and prosperity.