Boosting Profits in a Time of Crisis: Interviews with Small Business Owners
As any business owner will agree, you can’t predict the future. Outside circumstances can change, the economy can change, and there are many twists and turns on any business journey which require adaptability to survive. But what happens when there is an international crisis? The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented and has come as a major surprise to even the most comfortable of businesses.
As business expert and coach Tony Robbins says, “Willpower by itself is not enough. If we want to achieve lasting change, we must have an effective strategy.” As the future proves itself to be somewhat unpredictable, it’s more and more important for businesses to create solid strategies, to protect them against unexpected events such as the recent crisis.
We’ve spoken with some successful UK business owners on their approach to surviving difficult times. Specifically, how to ensure profit and even boost it, in a time of crisis, like the one we are experiencing now.
Georgia Newton - Arlo Wolf Eyewear
"This has been a shock to the system for many businesses, but I think that learning to cope in a time of crisis is what makes you a better businessperson in the long run. Even the best of us are just learning as we go along, and being open to learning rather than assuming you know it all, is a good place to start!
"For me so far, I've found that the best strategy is keeping your customers at the forefront of any decision. It's crucial to look after your existing customers and make them aware that you are there for them.
“Part of this is the ability to still be flexible and adaptable to their needs, even when times are harder than usual. A level of loyalty and care is needed right now, not least because it leads to confidence in your business, which will pay off in better times. Keeping processes flexible, being available, and caring about them, as simple as it sounds, is something that the customers really need right now."
"The other thing is to try and not live in the future too much. We don't know what the future holds, we can only affect it by what we do in the present. So focus on what you're doing right now rather than worrying about 6 or 12 months time."
Check out Arlo Wolf here.
Lee Chambers - Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing
“In times of crisis, people start buying on need, and on solving problems. Isolation in itself has changed consumer and business spending habits, so take some time to research these while you consider your own sales strategy.
Pivot decisively. Having looked at the bigger picture, if you need to pivot your products or services, plan and make the decision, and start to implement it. In times of crisis, innovation and creativity flow like a river, so focus on opportunities rather than being mired in the challenges.
Find out what your current business relations need. Not all businesses and customers will need exactly what you're offering right now. Don’t try and pressure the sale, gently remind them that you are there when they need you, and you can stand out from the crowd who are still pushing the sale.
Also, look at your marketing. With more people now working, educating and living from home environments, social media and screen time have increased. Think about how you can utilise this to get in front of the eyes of potential customers. Your online presence is increasingly important when people are spending more time online.”
See more about Essentialise here.
John Attridge - BBX UK
“Although we may not be able to physically engage with customers there is still lots we can do without having to leave home. Facing the crisis head-on and being agile to change, could ultimately make your business more resilient and your team stronger than ever before”.
“Boost customer engagement, build a community, improve your website, and work on your SEO.”
Find out more about BBX here.
John McCaffery - Alexander & Co
“In times of a crisis, having your house one in order is key to maintaining profitability. One of the key issues will be maintaining morale and enthusiasm amongst the staffbase and managing stress levels. Accountancy is a people-based business and a pretty difficult one. You have multiple demands from multiple clients and high levels of technical expertise are required.
There needs to be constant communication between staff and between the firm and clients and the leaders of a firm need to encourage a culture where everyone is working towards a common goal of maintaining and developing the business and supporting each other and their clients.
You also need to be proactive with clients in terms of solutions to assist them and basically work even harder to help clients achieve their goals.
“A motivated staff base is in a better position to achieve this and assist clients with their issues and opportunities”
Find out more about Alexander & Co here.
By Kirsty Rigg, Digital PR Executive, Firecask