Business owners need to be much more proactive in response to the current financial crisis in order just to simply survive in the short term, eventually prospering when things finally improve. Disappointingly, having looked into this situation by undertaking research into several smaller enterprises reactions to their predicament, I found it surprising just how complacent they are by simply sitting back and waiting for these problems to resolve themselves. There was virtually no marketing taking place, no kind of company promotion, any cold calling or research into possible opportunities. This combined with a website with little or no Search Engine Optimisation applied and with no control over the Content Management System left them totally stranded from reality and with a diminishing customer base.
Probably one of the first steps companies should undertake is a financial audit of costs. Remember savings here have a direct and positive impact on the bottom line. It will be seen that there are areas in different cost centres that can be pulled together or streamlined to reduce resources and save cash. Many will be surprised at the amount of savings that are available with better management of these resources. Business owners need to have trust in their staff and include them in any consultation process and in particular, this important cost saving exercise. Sometimes there is the painful process of placing people on short time but by good communication, the majority of staff will understand and accept it is better to put up with less income now in order to overcome any short term problems in order to have a future.
In parallel with the cost saving element of the exercise, there needs to be an appraisal of where new business can be derived in the fastest possible timescales. Naturally, every company has a customer database; these customers should be contacted to see if there are other products and services that you could sell to them as well as those they are already purchasing from you. How often do you communicate with your customers, past or present? Taking account of one’s own products and services, are there other things of a similar nature that could be brought into this range. Sometimes machinery used for one purpose can be adapted for use in another process.
The one thing companies cannot and should not avoid or reduce investment in, is marketing; any cost savings diverted to this area of fundamental importance will inevitably pay dividends in future. The web site is the most important tool in the drive to acquire new business, apart from customer referrals naturally. Learn to use the internet to your advantage. There are a number of free directories which will automatically notify you of people searching for your products and services via the keywords you have input.
If your website is of a poor standard and has little of interest, never changing, along with poor or no search engine optimization, it is virtually useless in increasing your business or your profile. One thing history tells us is that the companies that don’t invest and furthermore don’t invest in the right areas in a recession, inevitably fail. Even if they get through to the end of the crisis itself, lack of investment can costs them dear. Your website should be your biggest marketing asset. Creating a company Blog is another way to reach your community but again it must be regularly updated. Write press releases and articles about the subjects relevant to you and your business, this can be a valuable source of backlinks.
There are many attributes to having a website, not just somewhere to display company products and services. With proper on-page SEO along with a dynamic site map, customer testimonials, good graphics and one of the increasingly important additions, a company Showreel of several minutes in length of quality video displaying products and services, staff and especially customer testimonials will inevitably help the profile. I have written about the importance of these short videos before and I would just like to emphasise the point again here. This will also help with the rankings provided white hat SEO techniques are used along with acquiring good quality backlinks and participation in Social Media interaction, a company Facebook page is now essential too. Don’t wait any longer; nobody else is going to help you so get started today!
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