The current financial climate has shown how difficult it is for businesses to survive. As the owner of a small company you will be faced with different problems to those on the high street, but the failure and collapse in recent years of the likes of Woolworths and Jessops – not to mention HMV and Blockbuster which recently went into administration – proves that things are tough out there.
If you are running a small shop then you could be fearful that last year’s double dip recession might bite hard and you will be left looking for bankruptcy advice from a financial expert such as Debt Free Direct.
However, there are a number of savvy steps that businesses can take in order to rise above the financial pressures of modern-day Britain and help their organisation to survive.
At the end of the day consumers still have a requirement for goods – whether it be food, entertainment or practical items around the home. It is up to you to make sure that yours is the company that they turn to, making yourself stand out above the competition.
A major part of this is down to advertising. Large companies can rely on television adverts or multi-channel marketing campaigns where millions of pounds are given to an agency. You will need to think smarter than this given your smaller budget.
Social media is the perfect platform for this – mainly because it is free. Websites like Facebook and Twitter are growing in popularity all of the time and can be used to grow a fanbase, pass on offers to followers and reply to consumers in the guise of customer service.
Let’s take Twitter. This social network is ideal for small businesses to launch on. It is 2013’s version of word of mouth, and you can quickly spread your message as followers re-tweet your messages.
By using hashtags you can join in or start off the conversation, which should see your number of followers grow all the time.
If you have a website, or a free blog set up, then links to your latest offers can be tweeted out, while you can also pass comment on other subjects that affect your industry to show that you are an expert in your field.
As a customer service tool Twitter is excellent. You should encourage consumers to engage with you and you can deal with any issues that arise safe in the knowledge that you are doing so in a personalized tone, rather than leaving it to someone else over a faceless email or telephone conversation.
Facebook is another excellent free marketing tool for small to medium-sized enterprises to take advantage of. You can set up your own page and easily send out either group messages or wall posts to all of the people that ‘like’ you.
It is an excellent way to promote offers, whereby people could receive a discount or freebie if they mention the social media deal – which should also ensure that other people are told about this great service too.
When compared with other costly methods of marketing social media really is spot on, especially at a time when Brits are more connected than ever before thanks to tablet computers and smartphones. Activity on these websites can also be backed up by email marketing – another free tool which small organisations can take advantage of.
You could look at leafleting through people’s door in order to reach a more localised audience, however you have to pay expensive printing and material fees, while you need to think about who is going to brave the cold, wet and snow to post these through letterboxes.
Furthermore, you do not know who lives in these houses. If your products are aimed at teenagers, then your leaflets might well go to waste if none live in the vicinity.
Businesses should explore every option at the moment. Preparation, research and marketing are all vital tools which will give an organisation the best chance of survival, steering yourself away from potential bankruptcy if the worst case scenario was to happen.
Taking advantage of free services is one of the best ways of doing this, especially when the results could be spectacular. It might take a little bit more work on your part, but gives your business the best chance of growth in the current climate.