What a year it has been – I needn’t say anymore. But finally, we have some real hope of returning to life as we knew it. Millions of us have had our life on hold, either due to being furloughed, having to home-school or just having  / because of a loss of direction caused by the pandemic. Now the schools are back it means that for those business owners with children, like myself, we can start to re-build our lives and our businesses with a real purpose, but what do we do first? Well, apart from sitting down in peace and quiet and having a hot drink with no one to bother you…

  1. Get Out There Again: Obviously we can’t actually physically ‘get out’ yet, there are no face-to-face networking events or conferences to attend and few meetings taking place in person but raising a profile and being more visible can easily be done online. Update your website, write a blog, make a vlog, live stream some content, re-start a social media strategy, engage with your customers/clients with an e-newsletter, launch a “welcome back” campaign, reconnect with old contacts and associates. Let as many people know that you are back and working full time (or as much as you do).
  2. Review Your Business: What has worked, what hasn’t worked – what brings in results i.e. sales, new business, recurring customers, interaction, recommendations or just hits on your website – whatever success looks like to you. Evaluate all activity, prioritise and invest in the most successful activity and drop anything that hasn’t performed.
  3. Brainstorm New Initiatives: Where do you want your business to go? Have you had new ideas over the past year that you now want to act on? Now is a great time to re-fresh your business, brand and marketing activity. Look at what your competitors are doing and saying, think of the target market you want to sell to, this will help keep the business focused on regular marketing activity and ensure you are able to move quickly if things change within your sector.
  4. Look After Existing Customers: Remember the Pareto principle, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, therefore look after them first.  Focus marketing efforts on the existing customer base and market to them, send out content with business news, new products or services, create special offers to encourage repeat purchase discounts or loyalty offerings, use social media channels to target look-a-likes etc.
  5. Look Ahead: With a date of 21st June in the diary for (hopefully) an end to all lockdown measures, start to look ahead to what the future holds. Organise a summer meeting for your business associates, look to visit clients, attend any events, shows or conferences that are being booked for next year. Think of how your business can develop, grow and reach new audiences through physical interaction as well as the online side. Finally, organise some real-life drinks with work colleagues and third-party connections to find out what they look like off camera.