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Show notes from Podcast 02: 7 Ways To Strengthen Your Business
We show you our 7 tips for strengthening your business during COVID-19 Pandemic. Listen to the podcast below.
Resources mentioned in the podcast
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Hi and welcome back to What the Elle podcast. On today’s episode, we discuss how you can use this time to create vital opportunities for the future for your business.
With a huge shift in how businesses operate or if they can still operate due to Coronavirus pandemic. It has left a lot of self employed business owners, frantically searching for ways to keep their business operating and generating a revenue, and, while the future may seem uncertain and scary ahead, as a business owner, you will never get this time again to work on your business.
So make sure that you use this time as an opportunity, and I’m going to use the word opportunity quite frequently in today’s episode, so use it as an opportunity to build your business and think about the bigger picture moving forward to the future.
If you’re thinking about how your business has been affected and you’re looking at how you can future proof this for any threats you may face, moving forward, then it is worth knowing the difference between amending what you already do and actually use this as an opportunity to grow outside of the box.
I’ve got 7 tips that I’m going to share with you today on how you can use this time to grow your business’ opportunities. First of all use of time to develop a really strong business plan. You want to help make sure that your comeback is going be far greater than your set back and you need to really think about a contingency plan for your business.
In the past couple of weeks, you’ll have already highlighted a couple of threats, your business over this time and think about how you can future proof these moving forward before anything else happens to your business and I don’t for one minute think that will have a pandemic like this again in our lifetime, but think about maybe supplier issues.
Think of a plan of action to implement now so that when your business is back open for business, all the processes that you’re going to create are in place and you’re ready to begin a brand new chapter of your business’ history in the most prepared position you could possibly be.
Can you also look at your current operation and project ways to strengthen the things that you found, that really work and then find solutions for the part or elements of your business which you’ve highlighted don’t work so well, while you’re doing this if you don’t currently have a social media strategy? Now is the best how to create one. If you do have a social media strategy, but it’s a little bit lax, now is the best to refine it.
Creating or refining your social media strategy is so crucial to your business right now, more so than ever. People are at home and they’re looking for information to either be entertained, informed or educated by and why can’t you position yourself as an expert in your niche to create sharable social content?
If you use this time, really wisely to plan your social media schedule so that you can get into a habit of being consistent with your content? Consistency is absolutely key here and I’m not saying post all day every day. If you decide that you’re going to post on Instagram once a day, then make sure that you commit to being consistent and post once a day.
Why not then also spend your time bulk, creating content from lifestyle, imagery product shot and even if you are posted, quotes, make sure that they are branded so in your colours with your fonts so that you have a huge bank of images to use across your social media channels moving forward.
Use this time also to test your strategy, see what content works well for you, what form of content gets the most engagement and whilst I don’t particularly advise advertising your product or service at this time usually, I would suggest the 80/20 rule of giving value 80% the time and selling your product 20% of the time. What I do advise is that you test the water with the kind of content you would use to drive sales, create lots and lots of free content for your audience to help them through this really difficult time.
Sharable tips, motivational, advise and inspirational guidance in your niche is great. Create, test, analyse and then change your strategy in this time. If you’re not sure how to create a social media strategy, like I said, we’ve got a great free guide that I’m going to include in the show notes so check that out and get your Social Media strategy under wraps and sorted.
Drop your email address into the box below and we'll send you our free Social Media Strategy guide immediately to help you create an impacting marketing strategy for your business now.
Our next top tip is to build your community. While you’re creating and testing your social media strategy, you’ll also want to be using this time to build your community for good. So you want to be creating connections and nurture them so that they become leads for when normal business resumes. And this isn’t like some underhand tactic, you are genuinely wanting to create a great community and position yourself as a vital figure in your business’ community.
So take Joe Wicks for example, not only is he now the Nations PE teacher, a role where he has given so much free value, and I do believe that you need to give so much free value at this moment in time, because people will remember that, people will remember that for a long time and then come back and they will become valued customers.
Joe Wicks, he’s building a community to a new audience where everybody is talking about the value he has provided. He has grown his profile and exponentially grown his community, which will all turn into leads based on the free service he’s been providing. When this is all over these leads will either become customers of his new product, or they’ll become word of mouth marketers to help drive sales to his new product.
Look at the opportunities you have with your current platforms; social channels, your website, email list and see how you can use these in a positive way to grow your community for good. Think about how you can be the Joe Wicks of your industry?
Whilst you are home our next tip is to focus on your website. If you want to be found, a website is crucial and right now I really hope as a business owner you understand just how crucial it is. Spend some time focusing on your website. If you don’t have one build on, this can be done for free and with very little knowledge. I recommend WordPress.org and that’s WordPress.org. not WordPress.com for non-e-commerce businesses and bloggers. If you have a product to sell I recommend Shopify.
Focus on your website, optimise it for ranking well on search engines and for your customers as well, so that they can find more information about your business.
Make sure in the footer you have your contact details, your location, your opening hours and make sure your website is up to date. If you no longer serve in an area, make sure that you remove that from your website. If you no longer have a product available, make sure that’s updated on your website communicate what is going on in your business through this Corona epidemic too. Is there a delay in delivery times or have you close for the foreseeable? Just let people know, keep them up to date. You should also be factoring this in your business plan and to sit alongside your social media strategy.
All of these elements go hand in hand to create the strongest business you can possible. Build a website at focus on building an email list too. This way, you can really connect with your customers on a more personal level and give them real-time information when your back open. If an email list isn’t something that you really, really want to spend your time and resources in why not add a chatbot for Messenger, so people can subscribe to a messenger service and you send them Facebook messages too.
If you already have a website spend this time auditing it and improving it so that it ranks higher on search engines and more people can discover you in the future. If you’re not sure how to audit a website, we’re giving you our ‘Auditing your Business’ chapter FREE on our ELLEfluence Academy,
Just head over to that website now, it is ellefluence.com E L L E F L U E N C E dot com, add the Academy to your basket and enter the code FREE, that’s F R E E all in capitals to get this entire section for free. Another gift that we are giving to you because we just want to help you at this time!
So you’ve made your plan, you’ve created a social media strategy. You are building your community. You’ve really developed your website. It’s time to evaluate your business. So this is closely linked to creating a plan. Evaluate what you’ve discovered about your business thus far during the pandemic and how it operates. You’ll have discovered more about your customers, your ideal customers and the customers you currently have within your business. If you evaluate your customer avatar, I really highly recommend you have a look at it now. Look specifically into the need for your business.
Why does your customer need your business? And if they dont need it now why would they need in the future? Why will they need it when business resumes? If demand for your business, has gone down, again, you need to establish why? Are you a ‘like to have, but not an essential’ business such as a florist, for example? When purse strings are tightened luxury treats are the first thing to go and florists always say this.
Assess how, as a business, you can use this as an opportunity and create an essential must-have offer, product or service to customers, so that when business resumes, you are able to best serve your customers with an irresistible must-have offer.
We have already talked about future-proofing your business, but what can you do to generate other revenue sources? Is there any scope in your business to create any of the following, so digital downloads, online subscriptions ebooks, for example, think about as a business, what your automated online-only offering could be. If you’re a gym owner can you offer an online members area with daily or weekly uploads, or a twelve-week programme, ebook, for example?
Restaurant owners? Can you offer an online cooking course of some of your dishes without giving the secret sauce away? Photographers, are you able to offer an online ‘how to nightscapes course’, for example.
Whatever your industry, there’s scope to use this time as an opportunity to use your expertise and create a digital offering. Think about what do people always ask you, what seems genius to them, but second, nature to you? If you can package that up into something new and exciting, then you’ll just have found yourself a brand new income stream. Platforms such as Teachable and Kajabiji are great places to host this new branch of your business if you’re really unsure about how to set this up, implement this in your business.
Hopefully, this will give you a little bit of an idea of how powerful digital businesses are, and at the minute, they are more powerful than ever.
Although you may have your day to day business, you should also prepare with an online digital business for future-proofing your entire operation and protecting your livelihood. A lot of people- oh probably just be using this time to watch Netflix, dossing about not doing much. If you are really serious about generating a massive, massive income when business resumes then use this time to get ahead of the competition, really, really streamline your business, putting things in place so that you are ready.
The next thing that you should really think about in your business is the future outcomes. Really, really think about the different outcomes after this pandemic is over how it’s going to affect business? How will demand for your business change? Will, there be a massive demand increase and how will you cope with this? Can you actually plan ahead now?
If you are a hairdresser, for example, in you know, there’s gonna be a few boxed bleach disasters and a few wonky haircuts. Can you now factor that into thinking that as soon as you open, you know that you’re going have to work early in the morning, until late at night for six days of seven days for four weeks? Come you plan ahead and understand that the demand is going to be really high and make sure that you are prepared? If you employ people, are your staff are prepared from the get-go, of yes, everyone can go back to work and it just goes back into full flow.
Or if you think that demand won’t be there after this. Do you need to contemplate adapting your business model? Strategise your current strengths and weaknesses within your business and look at the opportunities and the threats moving forward too.
If you can consider everything from the disruption of supply chains to difficulties in communication, generating customers and letting them know that you are back open? This is where obviously your social media strategy and your website strategy come into play here. Even think about the increasing competition with other businesses in your market. So you really need to be used in this time to be further ahead than them going back to working in your business.
Regardless of how you think the pandemic is gonna pan out and how it might affect you. Create a plan for every conceivable scenario that can possibly think of both good and bad so you’re prepared and can adapt quickly to any situation that you may face in the future. This exercise will also help you think out of the box, and it may even help you solve a few other issues that you may have any business, it might help you to streamline your business. This is probably one of the most valuable exercises that you can do, is think about different scenarios, good and bad, and how you will be prepared for them.
Finally, once you’ve planned your business, made a good, solid business plan, created a social media strategy, focused on your website, evaluated your business, planned for future outcomes. The final thing that we recommend that you do is to simplify your business operations. Throughout this entire time, period by businesses have employees working from home there are so many lessons to be taken away from this. Most, notably, are you able to discover ways to simplify your business operations? For example such as making the customer journey shorter, that should be the main focus. Can you make the customer journey shorter?
If you have say, and ordering system where it’s only via phone and I’ve experiences of this ordering things only via phone. Can you use an easy to build, no experience necessary online shop such as Shopify, so that you can drive the majority of phone customers to your website? Freeing up the person on the phone to utilise their time more efficiently.
And think about it, ok, you have one person on the phone line. They can only process say, 10 orders an hour. If you have a website, you can then have 10 people in 10 minutes placing orders, so say 60 orders an hour, and then that is going to increase productivity. It is also going to increase your number and volume of customers which, in turn, will increase your profit. See what I’m doing here?
More people want to buy online. I know people still like to use the phone. I’ve got that, and I’m not saying take that away. What I’m saying is add to their customer experience, create a shorter journey for those who want to use the internet, who want to order online, and this might help simplify the ordering system.
Think about can you decrease any overheads while making a profit? Do you really need 4 fancy offices around the city, or can you band into one head office and have your employees working on a rotational, remote working system so lot of them are working from home?
Are you able to streamline your business’ communication efforts as well? They should be massively paramount if this applies to you right now? Do you really need a 10 step approval process, or can you narrow this down to three steps? Think of different ways and look at every aspect of how you’re running your business try and simplify it to not only save time and resources but also maximise your profits.
Make sure you are using this time to really really seize and maximise every possible opportunity for your business to ensure that your business comes out far stronger than it went into this pandemic. That is it, our 7 tips for today, you’ve been listened to What The Elle, we’ll catch you on the next episode take care and stay safe
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