During an economic recession, small businesses are often the most affected. The reason for this can be due to budget constraints, insufficient preparedness, or reduced spending ability. A slumping economy can make it difficult to stay afloat, and knowing how to save a struggling small business can seem impossible.
But, in gloomy economic climates, businesses in the past have demonstrated exceptional flexibility and creativity that kept them surviving and thriving. It's essential to adapt and mould your business to a changing market in challenging times like this. We continuously face challenges in the business world, and sometimes it's important to refocus and take stock.
In this article, we will go through a few areas that can help improve or even save struggling businesses; our aim is to positively impact revenue and help your brand flourish.
Create a marketing plan
Having a solid plan is always the best way forward for any business. Organisation doesn't just belong in your home, but in your career too. Business owners can sometimes find it all too easy to overlook the time, money, and measurable results that are lost by not having a clear plan.
This philosophy particularly applies to small businesses that have neglected their marketing strategy. A well thought out plan of action is one of the best solutions to boost struggling small businesses. When selling online, brands encounter a much larger range of competitors, leaving companies without a substantial marketing presence falling by the wayside.
Getting customer attention isn't easy, so creating a marketing plan is an excellent way to start improving revenue and converting browsers to purchasers. This approach doesn't need to be time-consuming or costly; even small changes can have a significant impact.
To get started, plan to:
- Send marketing emails: Send discount codes, free shipping deals, and product previews to email addresses you've already collected
- Improve content marketing: Are your product photographs enticing? Is the promotional content you post online on-trend? Try to utilise recent social media trends?
- Increase your SEO: Is your website optimised so that searchers can find it? Try to use the best keywords that will make finding you easy for customers
- Build your social media: Run ads through Facebook or Twitter - with 2.99 billion people on Facebook alone, these ads can definitely help improve website traffic
Even just creating a brief outline of what marketing ventures you would like to try will help structure your time and will be a big help to remind you what's next on the to-do list!
Listen to customer feedback
Keeping customers happy is the no.1 goal for brands today. In our ever-demanding world, consumers' needs and expectations are continually rising, and they aren't afraid to have their voices heard! Customers have never had more choice, give them a reason to choose your brand! Listening and learning from customers is a great way to save small businesses from going under. Let's go through why this is important.
Listening to customer feedback can help failing businesses in three ways:
- Allows you to know what customers want. They're the ones browsing your products and website, so knowing their opinion is vital to growth.
- Hearing what works well in your business can allow you to know what to promote and push forward in physical stores and eCommerce platforms.
- Fixing holes in your customer services. Suppose your website only allows customers the option to email, and they are disappointed with long waits for replies. In that case, you can add a phone line or live chat option.
Gathering feedback information via review sites, pop-up review surveys, or chatbots will give brands solutions to small business failure and protect them against economic hardship. Turning a blind eye to customer opinions means potentially giving business away to competitors, so taking the time to listen is key!
Take us, for example, at Interparcel; we listened to our customer feedback and the biggest request? Good old fashioned Customer Service. To be able to talk to a human. Our phone lines are open from 8 am – 8 pm Monday - Friday with live chat, telephone, and email avenues available. We've recently extended our Call centre opening hours too, based on the feedback we received, so we're now open on the weekends from 9 am - 1 pm. Your business doesn't stop for the weekend, so why should we?!
Cut inessential costs
As a business, making sure your costs are as sustainable as possible is vital in maintaining long-term growth. You don't want to be paying out vast sums of cash for no good reason! So now is a great time to make a list of all of your expenses and see if there are areas you can reduce spending.
It's often said that 82% of small business failure occurs because of money distribution issues, so managing your money efficiently is really important. Apps like Wave can help budding brands with their accounting. This is a cheap and easy solution to monitor outgoings, invoices, and financial reports.
Try to cut discretionary costs first; streamline supply chain expenses before making more drastic cuts like redundancies. You may even want to consider making your business remote and remove the added cost of rent, utilities, and travel. Plus, if you aren't already aware, selling online is BIG business! Setting up a business from home and trading with the likes of Shopify or WooCommerce can broaden your customer reach and dramatically boost sales!
These changes are all well and good, but the biggest and most beneficial savings come from using a courier broker for most brands. With Interparcel, small businesses can access and offer discounted parcel delivery services to their customers. They are saving money and, ultimately, their business at the same time! Our Shipping Manager integrates with all the big names in eCommerce so you can fulfil multiple orders, collate addresses and send orders with the click of a button.
With our reliable and easy to use services, we can send almost anything, anywhere! Get a free quote today to see how we can minimise your businesses time, stress and costs today.
Review your brand experience
Your brand experience is who you are as a business and how you value your customer's time and money. We all love a brand that makes an effort to thank us for our purchase and sends a thoughtfully packaged product to round off an excellent brand experience! So put some time into it.
Improving customer experience is not only an excellent way to build customer loyalty and retention but can also be an excellent solution for struggling business - have a look at these areas and their potential:
- Customer service: ensure you have open communication channels, speedy replies, and a positive manner when interacting with customers
- Follow up: make sure you thank customers after a purchase, consider sending abandoned cart reminders and a brand newsletter to maintain engagement
- Packaging experience: pay attention to detail, provide unique packaging and branded filling, stickers, thank you cards, or sustainable materials to stand out
- Offer discounts or incentives: reward regular customers with discounts and competitions
Customers' experiences with your brand should be positive and fun! Parcel tracking is often a gratifying part of ordering online, so why not use our new branded tracking feature that allows you to create a personalised tracking portal for your customers to access.
This tool allows businesses to access our cheap and fast courier services while maintaining a consistent brand experience. Save small business and give it a try!
Define your pricing strategy
Setting your prices too high or too low can have a detrimental effect on sales and can be a catalyst for struggling businesses. When settling on how to price a product, it's important to consider factors like season, economic climate, and competition. But no matter the month, your pricing will always reflect your products' value, so don't under-price your products to stay competitive! Instead, try to:
- Understand your customers: what demographic are they? What can this age group realistically afford?
- Research your industry: are there new insights in your field? What are your competitors doing, and how can you do it better?
- Stay flexible: prices are never static. Roll with the waves of the economy to stay affordable for your customer base and cover supply costs
You'll need to factor in the cost of shipping when calculating the price of your products. With Interparcel, brands of all sizes can access the cheapest UK shipping so that they can keep prices as attractive as possible. With our low-cost parcel delivery services, failing businesses have even been able to thrive through offering free shipping - retaining loyal customers and offering flexible delivery options.
If the price is right, your business won't struggle for long!
Consider financial grants/loans
Hard hit by the lockdown, small businesses are now experiencing the worst of the economic downturn. But, all is not lost; you may be able to apply for a small business loan or even a grant. Just check if you are eligible.
The main difference between a loan and a grant is that you must pay back a loan, whereas a grant is yours to keep. However, some of the available small business grants available from the government will expect you to invest the same amount into your company. So if you receive a £5,000 grant, you will be expected to match this amount and also invest £5,000 into the company.
Throughout the UK, there is a range of grants for young people's businesses, New Enterprise Allowances' and apprentice grants. No one wins if you suffer in silence, so have a look at the financial help you could receive to help you stay afloat during this difficult period.
Chin up, small business owners! There's always something that can be done and help available to keep your business going. By taking small actionable steps to save your struggling small business, you can make a huge difference. Customers know how murky these times are, so don't be afraid to be honest, show your struggles. Consumers will appreciate the efforts you are going through to survive.