At the beginning of 2021 we have been plunged back into lockdown with no real feel for a return to normal life and stability in our economic worlds. I produced a five-step approach for social media which has been collated into this Blog. The target audience is business owners who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. We hope there is at least one thing in here that you can take away to have a positive impact.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING - My wife spent over twenty years as a nurse treating patients battling cancer. She would always tell her patients that 'Attitude is everything', from her experience the patients with a positive mindset and those that had accepted their situation would invariably respond best to their treatment.
Now I’m not suggesting that a life-or-death fight against cancer is in the same category as you are saving your business, but for many of us, this is the fight in front of us now.
Creating a mindset and attitude of acceptance towards the situation and a positive energy will without doubt, put you in the best position possible to minimise damage and position yourself for a speedy recovery.
Now as business owners we have been asked to dig deep over and over again during the last nine months. Depending on the industry you work with, you may have had some opportunities to recover, some of you will have been closed for the duration. The word that has found recurring in my inner conversations is 'Resilience'. I will not accept that the endless barriers that we have faced will ever be too high to scale, and that if we do so with integrity and collaboratively, we will be stronger on the other side.
With one of my businesses (LVC Digital Health) we have spent the last five months reshaping the business, making sure we have the right people and client relationships in place to take full advantage of the opportunities 2021 will bring. We have adapted to enable remote working; we have looked very closely at how our target market engages with us. By understanding this we have been able to improve and despite another lockdown we are buzzing with interest and ambition for the future. Now, granted that business is in a sector that is vibrant and only getting more so with time, and you may be facing a different challenge but making the best of your situation will always come down to your energy and clarity of thought. Don't let the gravity of the situation cloud your thoughts. Most of all, stay healthy, stay focussed and be positive.
STAYING IN TOUCH - It has never been more important to connect with all stakeholders that effect your business. Team members, Suppliers, Clients, Landlords, Accountants, anyone who can affect your business and its ability to bounce back should be high on your priority list.
This isn't purely a business play, these people are important to you and caring for the community you have built around your business is not only tactically the right thing to do, but you should feel morally compelled to do so. 'Treat others as you wish to be treated'.
Reach out, look after your own and help them protect their businesses, they might just do the same for you.
INNOVATE - We have all watched in awe at some of the innovative solutions businesses have developed to reach their customers. Innovation and entrepreneurialism are what Britain has been built on for millennia.
Some of the examples that have inspired me have come from the smaller independent businesses that have applied established ideas to their model such us drive through takeaway for restaurants, greengrocer vans making a comeback after a 40-year sabbatical, microbreweries making sanitiser, sandwich shops boxing and selling their ingredients rather than binning them, virtual conferences and so many more.
The point I’d like you to take away is that changes in the short term should be seen as an opportunity to stay connected, protect revenue, connect with new customers, protect cash flow and stimulate new possibilities.
If you feel you have explored these options fully and drawn a blank, maybe look at, or better still talk to other sectors, customers, people you trust, float it on social platforms, anything to explore the art of the possible. Be brave and make sure you have no regrets.
MARKETING STRATEGY - Don't dismiss marketing as something you cannot afford to do right now. From free social media to funded targeted campaigns based on valuable market intelligence, there are so many options open to businesses nowadays. When this choice feels overwhelming, I always advise seeking professional support. Modern day marketing agencies or even freelancers are open to deal structures to suit your circumstances, success-based deal structures share the risk and reward opportunity.
In the same guise there are some really good market intelligence companies that can provide tremendous insight to your business, assessing competitors, market trends, they can look into your sales processes and too many other facets to mention. A
company I have worked with recently (Octopus Intelligence), have achieved fantastic results with their clients, they are certainly one I would recommend.
Ultimately your takeaway here should be to develop a plan or strategy towards how you market your business. If you dip in and out of this topic without fully understanding the goals and which levers to pull in achieving them then it is likely you are missing opportunities, which in the current climate is not a risk you can take.
FINANCIAL ENGINEERING - What does this mean? Well, it’s obvious to say that you need to look after the cashflow of your business in testing times, but financial engineering goes deeper than just that.
To make the most of the cashflow you have in the business you should consider the following techniques.
o Cancel all payments so they can be managed manually
o Categorise all payments in order of importance
o Pay by check on a Just in time basis (the delay will help keep cash in your bank longer)
o Forecast your P&L, micromanaging your ins and outs
o Look at outsourcing options
o Be tough with yourself with unnecessary expenses
o look at the value of business assets, for example if you own vehicles that could be liquidated, allowing the cash to be deployed more usefully. The vehicles could be replaced with a lease option
o Ensure that business inefficiencies are reduced to a minimum.
These give you a flavour of the mindset you may need to stay in business in 2021.
It’s also very important that you have a full understanding of the impact any financial support you have taken over the last 12 months. Much of the government support requires repayment, which needs to be planned into your business model looking ahead.
I hope you have enjoyed my insight over the past five days and there has been something useful in there for you. If you would like to explore anything further, please visit our website at www.bigcat.capital or contact us on this page.