Tips to Future Proof Your Business Through the Continued Lockdown.

Today I am sharing some insight and key areas that will help protect your business through the continued pandemic. Whilst you may feel like this post is a bit late to the game, 4 months too late to be exact… well you may be right. However, the core principles I am going to share in here will continue to support your business as the economic landscape continues to shift.

It is imperative that you ensure you create a plan and an alternate strategy of sorts to ensure that your business can still thrive, through coronavirus and the impact it is having on the landscape at the moment. This will provide a focus that will allow you to come out the other side: stronger than ever. Many businesses have been impacted, if not all. The truth is some have been hit harder than others, but for some, such as our own, it has been a good thing for our business as a Digital marketing Consultancy here in London. We have received increasingly more strategy sessions, more inbound leads and business owners motivated to create a sustainable strategy to generate leads and “corona-proof” their business. This flexibility to adapt into new strategies and adopt new ways of working has not only helped our business, but may be able to help your business too.

I understand that a lot of people aren't currently in that position or that situation, so I wanted to name a few key things that we have been focusing on and that I've seen other people doing which are working well. Where these may not be for all of you, these small actions may help to push your business forward through these times.

1. Content

This applies to everyone: regardless of what the situation in the current economy this is always going to be relevant. The frequency and value of your content.

Now, more so than ever,is upping the frequency, the quality and the value of your content. The reason behind this is that with so many people working from home or, so many places outside which are still facing lockdown, people are spending increasingly more time online than ever before. This means that people, your customers and clients included, are scrolling through their phones, their ipads, their macbooks, their laptops or desktops,whatever it is: people are online more than they ever have been before. I can safely say that people's screen times have most-likely tripled if not quadrupled.

This, naturally leads to the point that increasing the frequency of content that you're posting along with the quality of the content can only do good. In times like these, providing value is even more important, and those with a teachable message or knowledge set should be heavily invested in sharing this. Consumers are currently HUNGRY to learn and always looking for more educational content. You must also consider that so much value driven courses and content is given away for free now, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure that you're posting content which is highly valuable. It has to be better than what other people are posting in your significant niche or space. Of course, this comes hand-in-hand with the frequency because people online, they're looking for good content, so hopefully you can be a source of that for them.

2. Developing Your Skills

There is no better time to grow your professional skill set, as both a business owner or an employee.

The second thing is to learn something new. With all this additional time on our hands, which would usually be eaten up by a daily commute or meetings that don’t necessarily add value, we have an opportunity for personal development.

What we could do would be to watch binge-watch Netflix or TV series which many people fall into the trap of doing when they have additional free time. However, I urge you to not become an avid user of the social media platforms that can play a part in growing your business. That means resisting the urge to to scroll through TikTok or watch 3-hour podcasts by Joe Rogan on YouTube.

Much like a diet of your body your mind needs good healthy ingredients in order to be at its best. This could include taking an online course, reading a book on optimising your business or investing the time to find a mentor who can help identify key areas of growth for yourself and your business. Try to think outside of the box with this one as so many skills could have a profound impact on your business and your personal development.

For example learning a language or studying the psychology of communication could in fact help you in your next sales call or networking event.

Pick up some complementary skills to what you already know and try to have some forward thinking about how they could be incorporated into your business and professional offering in the future. 

so i invested in a sales,program so i've been upping my sales,skills,and then the next thing i'm going to do,is learn about facebook ads because i,run a couple ads i have some retargeting,ad set up,but i don't fully understand it like i,get the basics of ads,but i want to learn more so after i've,done the sales stuff,that's my current project at the moment,after i've done that then i'll go on to,facebook ads so it's like learning a new,skill,or improving something that could,benefit your business and make you way,more money,

3. Creating Systems

The third, and very crucial step, is to create systems. When I refer to systems, I am talking about ways in which you can optimise your business, improve your workflow and reduce the time that you yourself are required to be stuck in your business.

Examples of these systems could be automation sequences, for example if you have a lead generation funnel that includes a Video Sales letter, or VSL, then your workflow is to follow up with an email to the lead, you could easily automate this process. You can automate the email to go out, and to re-send a follow up if they haven’t read it, all set up automated using a tool such as Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign, which is going to save you a lot of manual typing and the simple fact that you don’t even need to be thinking about it. This would enable you to set up specific email campaigns and trails for people who have watched specific videos or landed on key specific Landing Pages, with the follow-up designed and customised accordingly.

Another example of a system which can drastically improve your company’s productivity could be for internal communications. You can optimise your company’s workflow by streamlining the way in which you communicate and share regarding projects. This could be using tools such as Trello or Asana, using optimisation in the way in which you effectively stay on task for projects.

With this you can effectively:

  • Reduce the time needed to communicate key information on projects. This will save so much time that often gets wasted in meetings. You will be surprised at how effectively you will begin communicating.
  • You can minimise confusion surrounding projects, and clearly assign roles and responsibilities for each portion of the task.
  • Your team can update and track progress on key portions of each tasks, allowing everyone to be up to speed on where the current project status is.
  • You can add files and attachments to tasks, keeping a mini ‘project bible’
  • Keep your teams focused on the exact next thing that needs to get done

These team optimisation and organisational tools can be effective not only for teams, but for your own tasks. So if you’re a freelancer, don’t shy away from these. They come in especially handy for agencies looking to share information with virtual teams.

4. Nurturing Partnerships & Networking

The fourth thing may not present itself as an immediate benefit, but it is about paying the easy for future success in your business. This is not about generating sales now, but about networking in the correct way, reaching out to other entrepreneurs and business owners, getting a feel for how they are doing and offering some value to them.

Why not offer a free consultation or support? Whilst this may eat into time, by putting forth a simple gesture you can effectively be providing value to someone who truly needs it. To do that, all you need to do is ask: “is there anything I can support with at the moment?” or offer “let me know if theres anything I can help with or support on”.

They may in fact be your ideal prospects but maybe, at the moment, they don't have the finances or they're not in the position to invest in your services at this current time. If you are the one who has supported them and provided value through the hard times, you will naturally become the one they turn to when their business is in a position to use your services.

We can attest to this being true, as we are very passionate about sharing and supporting, without having a “hidden agenda” so to say. We have helped many people, and it hasn’t meant that we have had a large financial impact or spent hours on end, but simply having a 45 minute to and hour chat with a business and making suggestions to them. From that they got so much value that they ended up reaching out or even introducing us to other businesses within their network. Think of it as your “business karma”. We always recommend that you do not expect anything in return. Sometimes it takes 6 months, or a year, but you never know, so it is always best to go in with nothing but good intentions. People can feel it too if you are trying to sell.

Try and build meaningful relationships, don't just look for what's going to be immediately beneficial for you and your company - or revenue generating. It is important to have forward thinking and build up relationships that can support the future. This could mean connecting with financial experts or SEO experts, who could help provide you with value or that you could turn to when you have a quick question.

5. Changing Your Marketing Goals

In harder times, when the usual channels for business are drying up, it may be tempting to change your marketing focus towards exclusively those “sales” channels. What many companies doing, and what we warn against at all costs, is putting marketing spend on hold all together.

Whilst this seems like a way to cut costs, and the impact may not be felt the day you stop, this will generate large problems in your business’s future. As Henry Ford famously said: “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”

If you are feeling that your current ad spend is not adding value, well it may be time to change the focus of your marketing strategy.

In times where many companies are pulling back on ad spend, we recommend doubling down. This is because your Cost Per Action or Conversion is going to begin coming down as your competition begins to reduce their ad spend. Finding a sustainable formula for generating leads allows you to own the future success of your business. We must, however, caution against spending in the wrong areas.

Much like we discussed in the content strategy portion of this post, in times like this, people are primed and ready for a certain kind of content. To truly maximise the effectiveness of your content, we recommend ensuring your ads are providing value. This could mean advertising using one of the following creatives:

  • An educational video that appeals and provides value to your key target audience
  • A blog post or article that shares insight related to yoru industry
  • A tool or resource that your target audience would find value for themselves or their businesses, especially if it allows them to DIY a portion of their workflow that is usually done by a team member (who may be on furlough)
  • An e-book that provides insight and value
  • A free course
  • A giveaway for a professional tool or services

Applying these 5 simple principles won’t revolutionise your business, but they are ways in which we have been able to improve our own business and adjust to the changing professional landscape.

This article was shared by
Ben Foster
Creative Director