Growing your business in uncertain times

By Simon Ponti, Business Consultant at Centrepoint Alliance

Uncertainty has become a constant part of daily life for many of us in recent months, and we are all wondering what the future will look like in the weeks, months and years ahead. Are you asking yourself whether this is the new norm, will things ever get back to normal or are we going to see ongoing periods of disruption?

What can be done to position yourself and your business in these times of uncertainty? Have you stopped to consider whether you are able to grow your business, or can you position yourself for growth in the future?

Given it is the start of the Financial Year, it’s now time to refocus on your business and here are some suggestions to help ensure the resilience of your business, and even achieve growth, during periods of uncertainty.

Identify your ideal client

You should regularly take time to revisit your client strategy and correctly identify your ideal client. Time and circumstances changes, and with it, so should your strategy. Revisit your Client Value Proposition, what you stand for and the value you provide your clients. Importantly, you should be sure you understand the value your clients perceive they get from using your services and why your clients enjoy working with you and refer you to others. Reflect on your why. Why you do what you do. Why doing those things makes you feel good, and why when you do those things you attract and partner with like minded people - be it existing, new clients or referral partners.

Attract your ideal client

Once you are clear on who your ideal client is, it is time to revisit or develop a new marketing and business development plan to effectively increase your presence or relevance to these clients. The objective of the plans should be to increase organic growth, attract new clients or develop a new service or offer in order to amplify referrals from existing clients.

Market of one

Implement a ‘Market of One’ approach. This means, rather than looking at your panel of clients in the same way, take the time to narrow in on one of them; customise your communication or service so that client feels that they are an exclusive or preferred client of the firm. By focusing on your ideal client, you are spending time to understand their current situation and sentiment. Consider what is happening in their world and what is something that would help or be of interest to them. Develop or enhance the relationship and use the opportunity to establish or hold regular communications, say a monthly telephone call or meeting.

Differentiate communications

How you communicate can be as important as what you communicate. If you usually just call or email your clients, consider texting, sending a letter or using messenger apps. Mix up the communication to differentiate yourself and your message. Consider starting a blog, a podcast or a regular video or facebook live session. Communicate with your clients when they want to be communicated with (for example in the evening) and ensure you are providing them with relevant information that is of interest to them. Be creative and unique. Cut through to what the client values or wants.

Digital – everyone is doing it

If you have not already, now is the time to embrace going digital. The future of our relationships is digital and it’s already here. Tailor your digital activities to the specific needs of your clients and adjust your relationships accordingly. If your clients prefer video conferencing, use it. There are many different systems and capabilities in place that make it easy to use and build connections with. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, Webex are just a few. You can build robust and meaningful relationships with clients or colleagues including ones you have never met in person.

Consider digital marketing strategies and consider moving your business to the digital space, are the tools, resources and everything you need in the cloud? If not, what should you consider enabling you and your team to be able to work effectively from anywhere?

Network

Reach out to client and prospect networks and other providers. Identify what they are doing and seeing. Discuss with your stakeholders and suppliers who are most likely wanting to collaborate and work together with you to get through this issue.

Processes

Spend some time analysing your internal processes, focus on your CRM, focus on what is working and what’s need attention and address these issues. What are the areas in your business that you have been delaying addressing? Use this time to fix them, to ensure they become resilient, efficient and increase your profitability.

Remember your value

Understand that the service you provide existing and new clients is crucial and so important during times of uncertainty, what you do assists clients achieve their goals whilst mitigating the external risks such as the current one and this is significant.