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Has you small business closed due to Cornavirus? Seven simple things to do while you have the time
- Gaynor Humphrey
Every cloud has a silver lining and while its only a sliver there are some positives to your business been mothballed until the virus is defeated, and the main one is that you'll have time to do all those things which are normally bottom of your list. If you have got through all your ideas here are some of ours.
1. Credit card processing. The use of cash has declined significantly in the last couple of years and currently many businesses are asking customers only to pay via contactless. So as the UK becomes more dependent on credit and debt cards now seems like a good time to re-look at the credit card processor and card machine you use. There are now lots of websites which will allow you to compare the costs. We moved from Paypal to Sumup as a card processing machine as it was significantly cheaper and didn’t penalise small transactions. We use Worldpay on our website as you don’t need to have to have just one system for physical and digital sales. Given that you are probably not using your credit card machine as much as normal now is a good time to change your provider without the stress of missing sales. Even if you can’t face changing your system try asking your provider for a reduction in fees. We ask every year, some times we get one and sometimes we don’t but it doesn’t take much time to ask!
2. Review your standing orders. Who has time to check if their electricity supplier still represents good value? Or if their insurance is still the cheapest available. Right at this moment the answer is most of us! It’s a great time to check whether the utilities you signed up to 5 years ago are still as good. If not, save a few pennies and change them.
3. Read some books. The ones I have read and thought useful were
- Bootstrap marketing – Mike Morrison
- The ultimate small business marketing book – Dee Blick
- Watertight marketing – Bryony Thomas
We have also heard good things about Social Media Planner 2020 and The E-Myth. If you have read and book you think is good please do let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
4. Make friends with your local media. It might seem counter-intuitive but your local newspaper and radio station will be actively looking for non virus and good news stories right now so it is a great time to reach out to journalists to tell your story. Have a look at your business, what you can offer to people right now and even your own journey in setting up and running the business so you can present a story relevant to your local area. Its easy to find local journalists names as they will be on the online version of the paper. Also remember to reach out to your local radio stations including the BBC.
5. On a similar theme now would be a good time to post local content. Local shops which are open for food and essentials. Which restaurants are now offering takeaways or deliveries? Where can you still get books or puzzles from? Are there any parks which are open and relatively quiet? In our new normal people will appreciate news about their own area so use content to become a newshub.
6. Take a Good Long Look!
Now you are physically away from your business its a great time to have a dispassionate look at the brands and product ranges that you stock. If you have a range which you personally love but doesn’t sell, discontinue it! Similarly one that sells but makes you no money? Again time for it to go unless you are sure it is essential to keep. Is there a product range which doesn’t fit in to your brand but sells really well? Does that mean you should expand more in to those products? Do you have someone you view as a competitor? What are they selling? I don’t mean go and pinch all the brands they stock but do they have product ranges or services you don’t offer? Is that an opportunity Making these decisions when you are not in the shop or next to the product is always easier as there are less emotions involved. Business has changed a huge amount in the last 2 years, especially so in Nursery with the closure of key brands like Mothercare and Mamas and Papas so this is a good time to review what your brand/shop stands for and what that means in the products you stock.
7. Product photos. Most wholesalers provide you with high quality images of their products for your website which is great but is obviously not personal to your business. Now is a great time to take the lifestyle images that make your website or social media stand out. Most smart phones are capable of taking very good images so just give it a go. Try in different lights/back grounds or even including your kids. You’ll get more bad ones than good but that doesn’t matter, and if you manage to get a clutch of good photos it will certainly differentiate you from other shops.