They either come swaggering out, shimmying into the sunlight without a care in the world. Or they scuttle around the rock, desperately seeking shelter.
When life as we knew it flipped upside down, we all responded differently. Some of us, even now, are only beginning to take our first tentative steps out of the shadows. But when it comes to our business, what’s the best approach to post-lockdown re-emergence?
Here at Fox, we’ve come up with 10 ways to strengthen your business in these testing times. So seize this opportunity to evaluate your prospects, redefine your mission, and sharpen your focus.
1 – Plan
Where do you want your business to be in 2 months, 6 months or 2 years? Visualise your goal, and work backwards. Whether you’re scribbling it on a mind map, or you’re colour coding it within an inch of its life, get your plans down on paper. Make it real. Concrete. Involve your colleagues in the process, and welcome their input.
When we have a plan, we have a target. And with a clear journey ahead, we can grasp the steering wheel with both hands.
2 – Be visible
Wearing a high-vis and hoping for the best just won’t cut it, I’m afraid. You’ve got to shine, and be heard above the clamorous din of this new normal. Your presence on social media is more important now than ever before. And remember, quality interaction with established connections is equally as important as growing your army of followers.
If you’re just starting out on your social journey, follow an influencer in your field, and engage with their content. You’ll soon see the likes and comments begin to be reciprocated.
And when you’re sharing content, keep it upbeat. We’re naturally drawn to those whose glasses are half-full.
3 – Network
Let’s face it, before COVID reared its ugly head, many of us hadn’t even heard of Zoom. But now, it’s a staple part of our weekly diet.
If you haven’t attended a virtual networking meeting, do. It’s the perfect way to keep your business visible. They’re also a great way to build connections with like-minded colleagues from across the country. Each person on the screen is a potential client. You’re not only presenting to them; you’re presenting to their network too.
And for those of us who are missing the office banter, having the opportunity to listen to an actual human, speak actual, audible words, can be overwhelmingly positive for our own mental wellbeing too. And you can stay in your joggers. So what’s not to love?
If the virtual world is not for you, you can even try netwalking. (Yes, it’s a thing.) Networking (whilst walking) is the latest craze hitting parks near you. A great opportunity to do business, enjoy the fresh air and get fit.
Networking is marmite for many. But if you invest in it, you’ll reap the rewards.
4 – Pivot
With professional spheres evolving around us at a rate of knots, now is the time to embrace change.
Do you have any specific skills from a previous role that can be used to strengthen your business? To add income streams, products or services?
Many moons ago, I used to train the long-term unemployed how to get back into work. These coaching skills have been instrumental in our client support meetings here at Fox. We learnt long ago that when creating graphics for a client, we must first fully appreciate every aspect of their business.
5 – Be a LinkedIn ALL STAR
Achieving an ‘ALL-STAR’ profile on your LinkedIn page will help to keep your business visible. Loved by the platform’s algorithms, this easily achievable status adds kudos to any profile. Just grow your network, engage with your connections and post regularly.
Also, consider how professional your profile appears. Why not sharpen up the content, and add further detail to your education and work experience sections? Your LinkedIn ‘About’ bio should inform your connections who you work with, and why.
When posting, portray the ethos of your business. Align yourself with professionals and companies who uphold similar values.
6 – Rebrand
Even the sight of the word gives the team here at Fox the tingles. Rebranding is our speciality.
Use this period of flux to improve your branding and messaging, to ensure your written and visual communication hits the mark. Branding is far more than a quirky logo. Each aspect of the brand needs to be consistent, from typography to tone of voice.
As we always tell our clients, making an investment in branding can be one of the most lucrative business decisions you’ll ever make. Here at Fox, we work with our Marketing and Branding Strategy Workshop clients to create a killer sentence. A sentence that packs a punch, and perfectly defines the company’s purpose and goals. This then forms the basis of the rebrand moving forward.
7 – Get feedback
To further strengthen your business, request recommendations from both previous and existing clients. Doing so suggests that you care deeply about client satisfaction, and your own professional development.
Not only are testimonials the carrot on the stick for potential new customers, they are incredibly motivational to all those within the business, you included.
To support whoever is writing your testimonials, you can even provide a loose template for them to use. Ask your client to overview: what they needed help with; what you provided for them; whether or not they were satisfied, and if they would recommend you.
8 – Solve problems
Words and images must effortlessly combine to form a cure for your clients’ quandaries.
In this fast-paced world, we all want to know what problem you can solve for us, and how quickly. So however glossy you, your product or your service are, potential customers are only interested in how your business can make their lives easier. So tell the world what your business can do for them.
9 – Keep moving
We all know the transformative power of video and animation.
Disney called moving image the ‘most versatile’ means of communication. And he was right. Used well, video encourages brand interaction, increases organic traffic, and improves sales.
You’ve only got to look at the phenomenal success of TikTok to see how hungrily consumers are engaging with video content.
So if you want your business to be noticed and taken seriously, this is the time to invest in professional photography, videography or graphic design. Cut corners, and your business will appear cheap.
10 – Remember – consistency is the key
Think of your favourite brand. Then think of their social handles, their website, their blogs. What you’ll notice is the consistency across all aspects of their branding. Colours, messages, fonts, photography, tone of voice – they remain consistent. To gain our trust, and to ensure the business remains distinguishable and recognisable.
If you want to discuss your branding, why not attend one of our dedicated networking events, and get advice from some of Manchester’s brightest business minds?
In a branding pickle? Got a vision but not sure how to bring it to life? Haven’t the foggiest how to use LinkedIn?
Then call one of the Fox team today on 01625 468038 for free support and advice.