Guidance and assistance for UK small businesses. Irreverent and most certainly disruptive. Starting and running your small business, facts figures and helpful guidance.
UK Start Up and Small Business
The Richard Smith .com October 2020 - Small Business Podcast
Here we are, back again with another – loaded with content small business podcast. Plenty to go on in here.
Get in touch when you need any help with this stuff.
1. This is the new normal.
Post the big lockdown it seems we are going be having lots of mini lockdowns.
Further, Brexit, changing workplaces and of course changing consumer habits.
All of these point to a change in businesses in all sectors.
More online and delivery.
More click and collect.
E- Shops now widely available at relatively low cost.
Good website hosting sorts the speed issue out and, security fears and data loss can be resolved quite easily.
Bonus – More online working and file sharing
More remote work – fewer client visits – against an increased spend on tech.
2. GMB (Google My Business) – how to sort these out once and for all.
Google are promoting Google My Business in the USA as a paid-for option.
As a UK based business, there are several benefits to using this as a tool for your business.
Frontpage listing in many instances.
Can add content and showcase work
Can collect reviews and endorsements
Can engage with new and old clients – even new ones
Stats are impressive.
Even better news is – most local firms won’t bother.
But even if they do –
If your business has a hundred great reviews
Is fully populated with information and possibly vouchers
Has updated and fresh ‘non salesy’ content
Your competitors will take a long while to catch up with you.
3. Thriving – engagement – share the love, be nice.
Social media is seen as the one tool that changes everything for businesses. Sure I would agree that it makes sense for many to have a presence. That said, it’s a time sink and can become addictive – and produce limited results. Importantly, if you consider the changes in recent years – to Facebook for example – it used to show your business posts and promotions to all of your followers and now it doesn’t, similar rules in place over at Instagram.
Importantly, there is the issue of true engagement. Who is really engaging with your content and what do they do next. With most of the social platforms – it’s controlled by them. So you have to be careful as to how much time you actually spend on producing content just for the social platforms. One answer here is to take all of your content.
Focus on your customer, how much you can share with them, how much value you can add.
Multi purpose that content, break it down into usable chunks – mini-posts, and then use an automated tool to slowly drip content out.
Then use it as content for your website, podcasts, short videos and cross sharing on social media.
Then make sure you use as email content to engage with and fire up existing customers – these are the people that already know you and
Importantly, email, sms, whatsapp all allow you to keep control of your customer so you can message them directly.
They do want to hear from you. They do want to know about your products and services, they are interested.
Treat every customer as though they are going to be a customer for a hundred years.
4. Facebook advertising.
Next month – how I fared with Facebook advertising?
www.therichardsmith.com www.smallbusinessninja.co.uk Leave a review. Please.
Small Business Mindset/Marketing – August 2020 Follow on Podcast
In this ‘rough’ podcast I talk about the things I’ve been working on this month.
Each audio was recorded in the car, after my client meetings.
These are the issues that they are having and I provide some of my solutions.
Small Business Help in 2020-Administrator – Sales and Marketing Professional | E-commerce and online expert
Small Business Automation - Post Covid 19
Post Covid – 19 Recovery For Small Business
So we know the world has changed.
In this podcast I want to cover some of the important things to focus on and give you some pointers as to the right way forward – I’ll be honest – there is a lot of rubbish out there.
There are two parts to this.
Changed World – Changed Consumers
Business Automation – It’s all online now
There is nothing to buy in this podcast, but if you want some more information about how I can help – then the show notes have all the information you need.
Changed World – Changed Consumers
It’s now all about the three C’s.
If you and I can get these three things right – everything should be ok.
These are not my models, not my view of the world. But having spent the last ten years working with small firms I have seen all the mistakes – made some myself. But, I have also seen how the ‘big players’ are doing it – not that they are always right. It’s the principles I am interested in.
Little thing. Amazon collect email addresses. It’s probably easier for them to use a Social Media feed to provide updates and information about your order. All of the social platforms allow ‘access to tools’ however – then ownership remains with the platform which means you are locked out if THEY decide.
Owning your customer data is the start – hence email/sms/letters – yeah shocking eh.
Your customers are now more discerning, have more choice. And, at the moment time on their hands – time to search and check, time to compare and watch – then decide.
They have less cash – well at the moment they probably have more – hence the increased sale of hot tubs – but that will change as the real effect of this Corona thing comes into play.
So cash maybe at a premium – getting customers to spend is likely to be harder than ever before – as if it was easy before March 2020.
Less cash, more discerning customers, less affected by conventional marketing.
But greater engagement with social media, more tools to help you grow a business provided you have something to offer and you can show your audience how you solve problems for them how you can make sure the sun shines on their parade.
If you want more long term customers. Spend less time selling and more time engaging and then cross selling them something – be more human, be nicer. Nice people sell more.
Business Automation – It’s all online now
It used to be the case – get a website, get online – done.
Businesses flew – sales went up and everyone was happy.
Along came Amazon and Ebay, Argos. Then everything was f****d. There was no going back from that.
Then some small firms went all ‘light the fire’ and small upstarts started to take major shares of the market place. Brewdog appeared to take on the big pubs and brewers. A million different types of Gin appeared.
Environmentally friendly toilet roll suppliers started to take shape and share in the market place – see it’s damn easy to take 2% of a £billion pound market place and have a great business.
Richard Smith August 2019 Podcast - Our Changing Business World
I’ve written before about this world of ours, how it changes, what it becomes.
Your business, precious as it is, will likely end up smashed and broken as the model changes, as products come and go, as things go out of fashion and become something else.
Don’t believe me – go think about the last ten years – how much as gone how much has arrived?
There has been an exponential shift in things, it’s now all at the speed of light. Everyone is a builder, plumber, social media expert, Google specialist. Whatever you want to do there’s an app for it – something to ease the pain.
Want it delivered no problem, that be arranged. Just click here and it’s yours, credit cards accepted.
Same with money – one of the best regarded fund managers in the country (Woodford)- has just turned into a crock of dogshit, like overnight. No messin’, no delays – boom it’s all collapsed. Like Brexit, Trump, it’s all changing.
Why shouldn’t you be affected? Of course you will – your business is no different to others around you – if you don’t make sure the foundations are solid – then boom – it could go at any minute. Blink and it’s all over. Gone.
Everything is moving at a thousand miles an hour. No one can keep up – few are keeping up. Your life, businesses and everything you thought wouldn’t change has. It’s going to keep coming. Relentless change. It’s going to crush you in the same way as it’s crushed others.
But, the brilliant news is this. For those smart and wise businesses that get it, expect the change – want the transformation and embrace the new world that’s coming will pick up the lions share of it all. They won’t care if there is no grass to eat – they eat meat and for the moment they ride the storm and eat whenever they want.
That’s where things are at. You either run, defend or die. And it’s happening now, as you read this.
Sit back for a minute and consider carefully where your business is at, what is really happening in your market place, who is upsetting it, crushing it, losing market share. Just peer under the carpet for a few minutes and observe what is really going on and then make sure you react to the information. It’s probably the most important thing you’ll do all year.
That Voice In Your Head – May Podcast
That Voice In Your Head – It’s not you…
In these posts, I share a little of my life, what makes me, me. Often the content is a bit strong – you have been warned.
This voice has been with me all of my life, it’s never been positive –
it’s never really helped me or protected me – it’s just been there to
reinforce what I was told by just about every other adult – I was not
worthy, I am never good enough and I always mess up. I’m not educated
enough, tall enough, not fit enough. Come on, you know how it goes.
This is the same voice that you have – only mine is mine. I have no
idea what purpose it serves, if it’s my ego – my inner voice, I don’t
know. Honestly I don’t care what it is – I just know it’s a liar. Every
time I ignore it – life turns up a surprise, to show me that the voice
was wrong, that it didn’t know, that it shouldn’t be listened to for any
reason. In fact, I was in my forties before I realised this. Before you
read on try this.
You can’t taste your tongue – go try. You can’t, that’s because it’s
part of you (don’t get in touch with a biological explanation – I am not
interested) your tongue is part of your dna, your makeup your whole
being. That’s why you can’t taste it. Using the same thought processes
think about the voice, that inner arse that talks to you all day. You
know it – you’ve heard it.
Read this slowly. If that inner voice was really you, was your guiding conscious, your ever knowing ‘inner you’ you’d never be able to hear it, for the same reason you can’t taste your tongue.
As always with my podcast, parental advisory and all that. If you are listening in the car with the children -stop.
Please let me have your thoughts, they are important to me.
Garage and Car Sales – Make more from what you have.
Garage and Workshop Marketing – – Podcast April
Since the last podcast and comment on retail businesses today I am going to focus on a different type of business to consumer model – garages, both repair and sales businesses.
Small garages and workshops need to keep an eye on their customer service and also make sure they end up with plenty of repeat business – in fact, they are no different from any other business in this regard – but just how few are actually doing this is alarming.
Podcast is here
The talk amongst business owners is all about customer service and systems – but the overwhelming evidence is that there are few that are using systems and even less that really under the whole issue of customer service – like how to make it add value instead of it being a cost. Sure I’ve seen some ‘top end’ firms making the most of great customer service – but like a Saville Row suit or a new Bentley – if you’re spending thirty or forty times more than average to be clothed and probably more than that on a child transporter you’d expect to be treated differently. That’s how Bentley and Saville Row businesses survive.
The long term value of a customer is worth a gazillion times more than the money you make from this sale – yet, there is plenty of focus on systems and processes to get the punter in the first place – but few to make sure that they keep coming back.
Just think for a moment – if your garage (same applies to any small business) starts to treat customers like they’ll be around for fifty or even a hundred years you’ll start to treat them very differently. Lifetime value is measured in many tens of thousands in profit and a guarantee that a business will survive. I don’t fully get – why you wouldn’t make the most of long term plans – and assume your customer will be with you for ten or twenty years.
Looking back in history there used to be plenty of people who’d be pleased to state ‘I only ever drive x or why’ only now they don’t because customer service is pants and we all seem to have a short term goal – sell more stuff and no long term plan – really look after customers.
More and workshops and garages are relying on hope marketing – hoping that the customer is going to come back rather than making sure that they do, the odds are stacked in favour of them not coming back. Simply because if you are not doing anything to make them come back – there is a good chance they won’t. With modern technology and automation – like having a website that is actually working for you and some simple tweaks – making sure your customers don’t forget you is quite easy.
Just look at the world or marketing – all of your customers are being assaulted on all sides – advertising, social media – offers and deals are being presented all of the time from all of the sources. This is why changing your approach is the only way forward if you want to ensure success.
By making a few changes to your own systems and processes, it is certainly possible to guarantee that existing customers, the most valuable customers you have keep coming back for more and more.
If you are doing nothing to keep them, nothing to make sure they’ll come back – then you are relying on hope marketing – you hope they are going to do the right thing and come back to you – nothing guarantees they w...