I know that a lot of small business owners are very worried about Covid 19 at the moment and its impact on their businesses. As one of them, I am too. However, there are things that as business owners we can all do to either minimise its impact or to actually grow during these uncertain times.
First, let me explain why it is so important that small business owners do not let this pandemic be a negative impact on their business.
Small businesses, which are classed as those with 49 employees or less, account for 99.3% of total businesses in the UK, generate a turnover of £2.2 trillion for the UK economy, employ 13.6 million people, collect large amounts of VAT for the Government and pay a lot of tax.
At a time when the Government will need all income possible to pay for increased NHS costs, we all owe a duty as business owners to keep our businesses going and to make as much profit as possible so that we can continue to pay the taxes which keep this country going.
It is no time to sit and be fearful; it is a time to take action.
Businesses will fall into one of two camps with Covid 19
The business services market will, I believe, fall into one of two camps, which should lead you to take one of two courses of action:
- There will be an increase in the need for your services, meaning that you should take on as many clients as possible right now; or
- There will be a decrease in the need for your services, meaning that you should focus your efforts on putting in processes and systems to improve your services, reduce your costs but most importantly improve all of your marketing so that you are ready to capitalise when the market picks up again.
Which services will be affected?
One the global scale, with people being home a lot more, there is a huge opportunity for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky to increase their subscription numbers, particularly if the weather is not good.
For smaller businesses, here are some of the businesses that I believe will see a decrease in services:
- Personal training businesses: Sadly people being quarantined or on lockdown will inevitably lead to personal training businesses going eerily quiet. It is time to put in place marketing systems and processes to ensure that you are ready to capitalise when the market returns. However, you may be able to create new income streams by setting up home training classes using Zoom which will allow you to keep existing clients on board but also to attract new clients to your world.
- Financial services businesses: Clearly the markets have taken a huge tumble. However, as always is the case when the market tumbles, there are some very cheap stocks available. Whilst you might not attract many new clients, it is the time to improve your marketing processes and to spend more time helping your existing clients to spot these opportunities.
- Photography businesses: With people unlikely to want to visit photography studios for fear of coming into contact with more surfaces and more people, it is likely to go quiet in this area. Now is the time to improve your marketing and to think about other ways you can sell your services in the future. Can you create recurring income streams by putting clients onto monthly payment plans for annual photo shoots? You could sell this now to past clients so that you can increase your income with the photo shoots not taking place until 12 months from now, when hopefully the world will be a much happier place again.
- Accountancy businesses: If you are in the new start up sector, whilst not many businesses will be started now, a lot will be spawned as soon as the current pandemic subsides. People who are currently employed, now working from home, will have more time to think about whether they really want to continue to do the job that they have been doing, or is it now time to do their own thing that they have always dreamed of doing.
I would be creating a series of articles about starting a business, adding them to my website, posting them to LinkedIn and growing my connections so that more and more people see my content. On your website you should offer a “Business Start Up Guide” in exchange for prospects email addresses so that you can continue to keep in touch with potential new business owners (your future clients), educate them on starting a business so that when they are ready they only come to you.
Marketing Of Your Business
If you have more time on your hands, it is vital that you now get on top of the marketing of your services so that your business is stronger than ever before.
I know that many business owners often struggle to find the time to do the marketing that they know they should be doing, so now is the time to correct this.
What marketing should small service business owners be doing?
- Website marketing. You should have a website which brings in anything from 30 to 75% of your new clients. If your website is not doing this, you need to improve it. You need to improve your content, your images, your calls to action (most websites do not have any or enough of these) your reviews and your presence on Google. Download my guide below for more information about how to do this.
- Email marketing. If you do not send an email to your past and current clients at least once every month you are missing huge opportunities to generate repeat clients and recommendations and referrals. Now is the time to fix this. There is more information on how to do so, including a complete software set up guide, in the book below.
- Referral marketing. If your business relies on referrals from other businesses, now is the time to ensure that you know precisely what this is worth to your business. List all of your referral partners and measure how much business they have referred to you over the course of the past 12 months. If you cannot do this, start a spreadsheet now to do so. If you can do this, ensure that you are adequately rewarding your referral partners for the support that they give to your business.
Once you can see which types of businesses are good referral partners for you, head to LinkedIn and connect with 10 other business owners in the same sector as your best referral partners. Post at least once a week on LinkedIn (using your content from email marketing above) to drive your increasing volume of connections to your website.
- Optimise your marketing. Whatever is working already in your business, now is the time to optimise every aspect of it to make it work even harder for you. Optimsation is one of my favourite forms of marketing because it brings in new clients for little or no extra expense!
I am here to help small business owners
As I said at the start of this article, now is not the time to sit in fear and to do nothing. Our economy needs small businesses now more than ever.
Download my book below and see what else you should be doing to grow your business.
“I implemented one piece of advice Nick gave me and immediately generated £800 in additional revenue with zero marketing spend!”