As we move into a more free period, after months of lockdown – with non-essential shops now able to re-open as long as they are able to support social distancing – what does this mean for the wider business community?
At Super Structures Associates, we’ve been affected by the impact of lockdown, as I’m sure you have been too. But we have been able to keep working remotely, with domestic clients taking their own measurements, and with me taking on any commercial site visits, so that my team are not put at risk. This is now changing to doing more ‘normal’ site visits with social distancing measures in place.
But of course, there have been some elements of our projects that just can’t happen. And people are reticent to start a new project even when they themselves are doing OK. When people around you are losing jobs and losing clients, the uncertainty encourages people to sit on their hands and their cash.
So what can we expect now, as things begin to open up? I think we’ll see only a tentative return to “normality” as many people continue to stay home. I would hope to see an initial rush, as people and firms who were part way through a project, or about to start one at the point of lockdown, spring back into action. But it will not be enough to save us from some difficult times ahead, and a potential recession.
This crisis has shown that it is a good idea to have 3 to 12 months of expenses saved up – whether you’re running a business or a household – and some who hadn’t managed to do this will now recognise how vitally important it is. Therefore, it seems likely that saving will be a priority for those who can. I don’t think that this coming recession is one we can bank on people “spending their way out of”.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are definitely people and businesses who’ve been largely unaffected, or may even have benefited from the crisis. And they will still have money to spend.
So one of the keys to success is to ensure that all of your business processes – especially in the area of sales and marketing – are up to scratch. If you’re still quieter than normal, in terms of paying clients, invest that time in ramping up activity in this area of business.
Here are some examples of work you could be doing on your business to increase the flow of leads and clients:
Targeted letters – I have a letter I have been sending out to architects to arrange meetings for more than 6 years. So far, it has generated a 496, 700% return on investment for me. What could you send to your ideal clients and/or potential referral partners to arrange similar meetings?
Targeted personalised emails – I don’t advocate mass sending of cold emails, but a highly personalised approach to people you would like to work with can be effective. Likewise, getting in touch with past leads who never became clients, as well as previous clients, can also result in some new work.
Make use of your local press or business magazines. What are you doing differently or what are you doing that’s newsworthy? Write a press release and send it out to local journalists.
Respond to media requests to get publicity for you and your business. Search #journorequest on Twitter to see if any journalists are looking to interview someone in your industry or with your experience.
Set up a schedule and post consistently on LinkedIn, or on the social media channel your ideal clients are most likely to be active on.
Start a regular blog/email like this one, and set up an opt-in on your website so that website visitors can sign-up to hear from you.
Ask your clients to leave you five-star reviews on Google, as more positive reviews will encourage people who find you online to get in touch with you. It will also potentially improve your Google ranking.
Clearly there is much more you can be doing, but start with one of these. Once you have one in place, move onto the next one. Taking one idea at a time tends to be more effective than taking a scattergun approach that means you never get one idea properly off the ground. It’s really common for people to fall into that trap – due to our natural “shiny object syndrome” – but it’s best avoided.
And if I can help or advise you with your marketing efforts, or if you need assistance with the structural element of a project, please do get in touch.