How To Start A Business In An Unstable Economy
If you’re hoping to one day start a business, then you may be waiting until economic conditions are more promising. Unfortunately, you’re likely in for a very long wait.
Life is short, and there’s no time to waste. After all, the UK is currently in the midst of a very “fragile” economic recovery, and things could get better or worse at any given moment. Years of poor leadership and pandemics have destabilised everything, and the only route left is to take matters into your own hands somewhat.
You can still start a business now and have plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Keep reading for some guidance on these matters.
Identify Public Needs
An unstable economy is an unfortunate circumstance for many people. However, it can also be an opportunity for business leaders.
During times of crisis, it’s perhaps easier to read what customers need and best respond to. For instance, online shopping became more popular, giving people a way to peruse and purchase without risking their safety. Some customers may now prefer this experience overall, too.
The appetite for buying things is always present, with some people experiencing a newfound appreciation for shopping after years of lockdown. However, you should try to gain precise results through your market research. Where are other firms falling short in answering their customer’s needs? Has the pandemic changed what types of products and services people are drawn to?
Favour the Digital Economy
As the traditional economy declines, the digital economy arises. In this space, you can start making money more quickly and reliably than ever before.
The digital economy isn’t subject to the boom and bust of the traditional economy. Actually, the former can often be given a boost by the failings of the latter. Your venture also won’t be a prisoner of global events, thriving throughout any circumstances that occur. Obviously, the peace of mind you can be afforded here is unrivalled.
One great way to persevere in trying times is to start an online coaching business. Thankfully, there are many mentors in the industry such as those at Sell What You Know who can help you learn how to sell your expertise online. Your professional experiences in the past can be turned into moneymaking opportunities of the present, giving you certainty and confidence in everything you’re doing. It’s quick and easy to get started, and there’s plenty of room to grow your business too.
Utilise Let Go Talent
Unfortunately, many people have been released from their employment contracts in recent times. The majority of them will have been good, loyal workers, and they’re now ripe for the picking.
A startup requires dedicated workers who’re willing to go the extra mile. They’ll need to develop the business through its infancy and perhaps even be ready to be a permanent fixture on the payroll. Therefore, only the best workers will do.
In addition to posting job listings the traditional way, try to ask around your personal network about who’s been let go recently and needs a job. It might be that you’ll get access to a desperate good worker who’s fallen on hard times. If you can give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives, they may repay you with loyalty and hard work.
Over on the Insiders I had this question asked. As a business and life coach with extensive experience of what makes us busy business women tick and how to use that to achieve more. I wanted to give you some ideas so you can confidently say “this is our price!” without feeling like you are being greedy or risking business. Let me know how you get on.
The phone rings and you do the happy dance because out of the blue someone wants what you do. Great feeling isn’t it?
(Well okay not out of the blue if you are an Insider or one of my client’s you know it’s about the branding, the vision, the mission, the marketing, the ethos and then it’s about the products and services and a ton of other things too (especially the actions and mindset!)
The point is, this is what business is about. Getting the sales.
You then discuss their needs – ensure you utilise that information in your follow up conversations and communications (top tip!) and get a proposal over to them.
They say “great, lets’ do this.” And you get the purchase order arranged, a date in the diary and it’s all systems go. Except…
Then you get the message. “Just wanted to check if;
The list of “Can you just’s” is long and it is often so subtle that you find yourself thinking things like;
And that’s the point, you are so intent on doing your best, delivering to the very best of your ability that you miss that you are now working for free.
The problem is that while you may recognise these statements, there are probably subtle ones going on right now in your business that you give in to. And by doing that you could be;
And that’s just a few of the issues I see arise from coaching clients because they are really nice business owners who give too much.
So we know what’s going on, but how do you fix it?
With new customers and regular ones you are never going to turn into a Highway Cowboy robber and start shouting “Give us ya money!” are you? However in your head you may well be thinking, this just is not viable for us. Is this a loss leader or is this damaging our success? And ultimately what you want Is more money, however you never need to say this. Ever.
Often before I help clients find new markets and more customers I help them look at the calibre of clients they already have. And if we discover they aren’t fitting into the business model of the company then we do something about it. Ultimately what happens is the business owner either renegotiates with their current customers because their prices probably haven’t gone up in 4 to 8 years (and yet their costs have so their profit margins have suffered!) or they explain what will be tangible moving forward. Rarely have I seen a client lose business, if anything their customers are loyal, love working with my clients and are keen to ensure it’s a fair relationship so fees go up. And if they do lose clients, it’s a real relief to get rid of the customer that was sucking them dry. (This also makes room for more great customers that do pay a fair price for an awesome job. So first things, first – know your numbers;
If you are an Insiders check out my Profit calculator so you can ask yourself “If I was working the maximum hours with fee paying clients would I be making the profit margin I want AND have the life and business I want?”
When you know you have the right customers It’s never about saying give us more money. It’s about analysing their needs, understanding their budget and working out where that can meet. It’s great to show you care and give more, however if giving more becomes you reverting to the negative observations above then you’ve given too much. Learn to communicate in a powerful way. What words do your customers love to hear, what words feel your customers with dread(sometimes they can be very powerful in your negotiations – for instance if you customers hate the costs associated with rehiring staff and that means they feel stressed out trying to find the right staff and then there’s the hassle of training them, and will they stay, etc – if you only talk about ensuring you hire the right staff can increase profit margins, you are aren’t talking about the deep down real issue to the business owner (who obviously wants to make more money) the real issue is the grief, stress and sleepless nights its going to personally cause them too. Including the positive and the negative in the right quantities really helps you communicate with power. I find coaching style questions taught to my clients can help them find these answers and really understand the needs of their customers while still ensuring your needs are met.
A great question to ask is “What is your budget?” For me I say I can cater for most budgets (you will see why in a later top tip) however this makes it clear that you are not going to give them the moon on the stick but that you still will do all you can for them. Remember these words “We are a business, not a charity”. (That works well for many of my clients!)
A big area that many business owners get themselves in a pickle is around price. The business owner is thinking “We need to make £X an hour” and the client has their own agenda. With these 2 thoughts bought together you get one price. However the interesting bit is how one photographer/coach/Copywriter/baker charges ££ and another charges £££££ – how is that possible? Because the ones charging a great rate and attracting awesome customers doesn’t use the above equation to work out their rates, they work on value. For instance, take my job. I charge £175 per hour. Do I then charge £175 to work with me for the day? No, how is that possible? Because if I’ve got 12 people working with me in a room for the day that in theory is £1400. However what is that day worth to the individual? To the company?
If you start to consider this then you can see there is a very different equation at work here. Don’t charge people according to what it costs you an hour, charge people according to the value they will tangibly get from their time with you. For instance if I work with 12 people and reduce stress in the office every day, help them to increase productivity, work smarter and increase profit, that’s worth a lot of money to that company. And while I’m not going to charge them the full value of that, I will charge a fair fee. It’s far easier to do this when you see the true value you bring. A word of caution here – don’t get wishy washy about it. Be real. Be honest. Making people happy or making something that’s pretty maybe nice but what is the tangible result of that?
Still struggling to communicate powerfully “this is our price”? Take just 4 minutes to total how much you’ve spent on your career – the training, studying, research, books, resources. Now add the cost of your office costs, commute costs, etc. Factor all of these in and you start to see that your rate is far more than just fair. Your experience, investment in training, knowledge, staying up to date and cutting edge – rarely do I see an hourly rate that reflects this. Even if you don’t increase your rates to reflect this in its entirety knowing this information usually ensures you’ve no issue in increasing your rates by some percentage.
Remember if you can’t value your time then why should your customers?
If someone really doesn’t have the budget (and this is something I see) then how could you still help them? A few years ago I realised there were a lot of people I’d love to help however they just weren’t in the position to invest in my coaching (although funny, how we justify somethings but not others? If you’ve got potential clients who quibble your fees but have perfectly manicured nails, drive a new car and have perfect hair that is freshly styled at the salon, it is possible it’s not that they can’t afford it, it’s more than likely that they don’t see the value or feel it will work for them so either change your marketing or stop chasing the wrong type of potential clients.) As a result of wanting to help more people I set up the Insiders, my online courses and books. I’ve been told I could charge double for the Insiders and they’d still pay and I could charge 400% more for my courses and they’ve have still bought them. Will I put the prices up? No, because its part of my mission statement and ethos to be accessible to all that want help. So if someone doesn’t have the budget and you are tempted to give it away, how could you help them and honour your business?
Automated courses, books, group sessions are a great way of helping more people without damaging your ability to make a profit, not kill yourself off and achieve what you want to personally and professionally.
Some people will always try and get free. They will corner you at events, ask questions on line and even phone you for advice, will they ever spend money with you? No. These people don’t even realise they are doing it, however you need to be able to spot these people and maintain your integrity but ensure they don’t sap your business dry. My saying may help;
If you want V.I.P then you need to pay, if not you can still get some in the cheap seats – VIP or Cheap seats? Their call.
Remember when you attract the right customers they expect to pay for your services. They aren’t trying to get something for nothing. They will negotiate with respect and turn up with some idea of budget. And if you find yourself constantly dealing with price quibblers, maybe ask yourself how is our marketing communicating to people? And that’s an article for another day or head over to The Insiders to continue this conversation and get more ideas.
If you want to keep up to date with me you can access all of my social media via my site here. And I’ve not added any links to my books or courses so you know that this is just me overdelivering to those are care most about. xxx
I know that for Insiders the issue of coming up with great content and what to write comes up a lot. Have you ever found yourself sat in front of the screen and thought “I’ve got 2 hours to come up with the content here, why can’t I think of anything?”
“I only need to think of the name for this and I can crack on, why won’t my brain work!”
“Aaaaa I haven’t got a single good idea in my head!”
If you have faced any of these scenarios you will know how frustrating it is. You’ve made some space in your mega busy diary to get creative and move your business forward but your brain won’t help and before you know it you’ve commented on someone’s Facebook video of a cute dog and not wrote a single word!
But you know that right? And so you end up getting more and more frustrated, staring at the minutes wasted away and worry some more. So how can you overcome writers’ block and come up with the great ideas?
It’s commendable to sit at your desk for hours looking to get your business seen and loved. But with some things in life it’s better to lean on others and find experts to help you get where you want to go. Just because you know what your dentist is doing you wouldn’t start sticking appliances in your mouth and doing it yourself, would you?
Sometimes it’s a good idea to outsource what is really challenging you. If you are finding this is consuming your precious time, it’s time to ask yourself how can I get the results I need faster? But remember even if you outsource it you are still going to have to tell that VA, PR company, copywriter or marketing company the following;
Who am I speaking to?
What do I want them to do?
What results do I want to get?
What do I want them to learn?
What matters to my target audience (s)?
How often do they want to hear from me?
Hope this helps. This is a confidential article for Insiders only. Please do not share this content. However please do share on the Insiders Facebook page how it helps, what you need next and your articles for us to read and review too.
Elene Marsden rocked it at our Marks Tey Hotel event in Colchester this January with 50+ business women left wanting more. And 2 lucky business women will be featuring in Elene’s YouTube TV Show very soon. Well done Melanie Winning and Sandra Sparrowhawk! Sandra will be presenting a 10 minute how to use scarves to make a statement and Melanie (award winninng Make Up Artist) will be sharing how to create the Audrey Hepburn look!
(Well done ladies and we look forward to seeing more!)
Elene loves the BWN so much, that Elene has signed up to be a member too! Here Elene shares how to create a successful YouTube Channel, thank you Elene!
With over 1 billion users on YouTube and viewers spending on average 40 minutes a day watching videos, isn’t it time you looked at using YouTube in your business?
What are the benefits?
Once you decide to use YouTube you’ll need to create your own channel. Follow this link to set things up https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1646861?hl=en-GB
It’s also important to set goals, e.g. how many subscribers do you want, by when?
Follow these steps once you’ve created your YouTube channel
Creating the channel art can be tricky, here’s a link to create a template using the correct dimensions
Now it’s time to OPTIMISE YOUR CHANNEL
Divide your own content into playlists and also create playlists using videos that you’ve curated from other channels that complement your own content.
Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our Preloved Chica Channel where you’ll see these recommendations being put into practice
“Share our Passion for Fashion.”
1. Know why you are exhibiting. Yes you want people to buy from you, but what else? Signing up to your newsletter? Getting to know you on social media? What actions do you want people to take? And don’t assume anything, if you want people to connect with you on social media, have a clear poster that gives a QR code and says “Use this QR code to keep in touch. (You can create your own QR codes easily, just Google it);
2. Exhibiting is just that, a chance to create a shop front that enables people to see how you can help them. The full scope of what you do. Think about what are the assumptions that are made about what you do and ask yourself do we address them on our stand? Do we answer the “No’s” that people have? (A top tip here that by knowing and understanding the “No’s” that stop a sale, you can get them into your marketing to break down the No’s. Cool right?)
3. What are the big goals? Okay so you get them to sign up to get to know you on social media, they want to know more and sign up to your newsletter and email campaigns but what would the ultimate goals be? If you sell something what would the follow up purchase be? What else or how often do you want them to buy? Do you tell people about these opportunities when you exhibit?
4. Tell everyone! Okay so with The BWN you know we go out of our way to promote the fact that you are at our events, however it is not an assumption you can take the risk on taking. What warm leads do you have that you would love the chance to tell them more about what you do? What connections do you have that could also benefit from this event? By spreading the word this can help your event success in a number of ways; firstly you get to spread the word on the event to increase the foot fall, secondly you get the chance to remind people why you and how you invest in your business and the professionalism of your company and thirdly think how much the event organisers will love you for spreading the word. The next top tips share how to do this!
5. Share the link to the event you are exhibiting at on your social media. Include the organisers social media (ours is @BWNcouk in case you were wondering!) so that they too can spread the word on you, promote the event and raise yours and the events profile. The more people that know about the event, the more people know about you and your business.
6. Tell people in your next newsletter or email campaign. Writing a blog article? Add in there something like “If you would like to learn more I will be offering taster sessions/bringing this fabulous product to this event, and it would be great to see you there. Include a link. Remember marketing is about making it easy for people to get involved.
7. If you are networking, add it to your 60 seconds promo slot. The more people you can get to your stand to see what you do and how you help people, the better.
8. What do your guests get? So a freebie chocolate, free pen, pad or entry into a raffle may get you a smile out of a delegate, however if there are 20+ exhibitors in the room will you be remembered in a weeks time? What can you do to ensure people stay in touch? What about saying thank you or “Hi” on the coordinators social media. Getting in touch after the event. Remember to be consistent, relevant and non salesly. If you have attended an event its highly likely many will automatically have added your details to their data base. The epitome of salesly, no respect for your time attitude that can seriously risk your ability to create and nurture a new relationship that will enable business to happen, so what would work?
9. Think about the delegates event experience. By the time they get to your stand, they’ve been asked maybe 20 times “What do you do?” “What do you think of the event?” “Do you use X?” How can your stand have an impact? How can you ensure people walk away from your stand smiling and thinking “That was good!” rather than here we go again!
10. Don’t stand behind your stand. One of reasons you are exhibiting is so you can expand on the business card and 60 second promo slot so that people want to buy from you. To do that you want to build relationships either with people that don’ know you or who know you a little. A table is basically a physical barrier between you and the delegate. It can send a sub-conscious message to the brain that says you are unapproachable. When The BWN exhibit, we put the chairs to one side of our stand and encourage delegates to take a seat. Most women are in heels and guess how popular we are when we encourage people to have a seat and tell us about their business and how we may be able to help? By being on your delegates agenda and finding out how you can help them, you can really start a great relationship. And exhibiting is about creating a shop front that people want to stick around and learn more about and then buy. So from today to the event, make the journey into a sale a fun, enjoyable (and easy to achieve) one!
We hope you find these top tips helpful. There are lots more resources on our website under blog and reports and our founder Mandie Holgate‘s Website, who will be selling her books. Ooo did you see what we did there!
See you at Our Big Christmas Events this December!
If you are a regular at BWN events you will no doubt have seen me snapping away at the monthly meetings – I’m Jayne Lloyd, and for the last year I have had the pleasure of being the BWN Colchester’s official photographer.
I always try to capture the feel of the event so that people can get a real sense of what the meeting was like, as well as providing a record of the event for those who were there. After the meeting I process the images and add them to the BWN Facebook page, where each businesswoman is tagged.
It’s a great way to show your Facebook connections what you’re up to and keep the conversation going beyond the event itself, as well as being a great opportunity to add some professional photographs to your online marketing.
I’m really happy for attendees to use the watermarked web copies online – so if I take a shot you’d like to use as your profile picture I’d be delighted for you to do so! I just ask that you let me know, credit ‘Jayne Lloyd Photography’ and include a link and tag where possible.
As an extra bonus for regular BWN attendees, if you would like to use any of the images at high resolution for your marketing materials you can purchase the digital file for a special rate of £15 and use it for all your promotional needs. All the images from past events are available to view on my website, where you can order the files directly: www.jaynelloyd.co.uk/bwn
I look forward to continuing to work with the BWN and with all the fantastic businesswomen I meet at each event.
Do come and say hello, and if you’d like to connect in the meantime please feel free to add me on Twitter: @jaynelloyd,
Jayne Lloyd is a freelance photographer based in Colchester, specialising in working with businesses and organisations to create images that communicate their brand visually.
Here our international marketer and Media personality and master class presenter for our Five Lakes Crowne Plaza event speaks about her career, and why you shouldn’t miss this event!
“My grandmother use to say “Kubi, reach for the stars, and you might just get the moon”. I took her words literally, and as a child I couldn’t stop dreaming big. Before branding entered my life I was consumed with dance and it was only after suffering an injury to my knee that I changed direction.
Once they told me I could no longer be a semi-professional dancer, I figured, if I couldn’t be in-front of the camera, I would at least rule behind it!
Reach for the stars, and you might just get the moon…
Granny was right…here’s my portfolio;
So, by the time I was 21 years old I graduated with a BA Hons in Commerical Music & Marketing and secured two internships, the first was in the UK with MTV Europe and the second was with Blue Flame (Puff Daddy’s Marketing & Advertising Agency) in New York. Fast forward 19 years, Lord I am getting old 🙂 and I have developed an international career with a focus on consumer marketing and branding. Working across Entertainment, Fashion, Sports and Lifestyle brands my resume includes Nike, Blackberry, L’Oreal Professionnel, Justin Timberlake/Sony BMG, Manchester United Footballer Rio Ferdinand, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Sleek Hair, OHTV, MOBO Awards and the Sex & the City Movie Premier.
Today, I still have an international career but now I juggle it with being a mother to Angel, my very talkative 3 year old daughter. When I am not on mummy duties, I tend to be in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean or the Middle East, helping consumer brands to internationalise their proposition. Most recently I have been working in the Caribbean with Jamaica National Bank and Caribbean Fashion Week. This summer I am launching Malaysian Fashion House Mimpikita into the UK market, e-tailer DFNG into Africa and one of Asia’s biggest F&B (Food & Beverage) brands into the US market. I am a “money girl” and simply love helping my clients to commercialise their brands – to turn their ideas into a financially successful venture. Delivering brand audits, capacity building, strategic planning and brand deals, I can honestly say…I love my job.
As life would have it, 20 years after injuring my knee, I now have the best of both worlds as a Brand Consultant and Media Personality. Presenting and producing business related TV and radio shows has made me an award winning media personality, and it’s amazing because now instead of doing pierrette’s, I get to use the power of the media, to empower you!”
To say we are excited about Kubi speaking for us, would be an understatement, So spread the word, and lets rocket your success too!
How can it be that one business woman can walk into a room full of networkers and gain a new lead and an opportunity and another walks out despondent thinking “What did I do wrong?”
Personally I’ve walked into a new networking group that I’ve never attended before and gained a new client. I know that it is not about expecting that, that it is about building good relationships, growing your network to raise your profile, improve brand awareness and get known as the thought leader in your industry, so that when someone is ready to buy it is you they buy from. However it is not a one off that I’ve gained new business on my first visit to a networking event.
So here is my top tip guide as a sneaky peek to 2 of the speaking engagements I have at the BWN this Autumn. I like to keep my speaking engagements relevant, interactive and packed with real time solutions, so feel free to bring your questions for me to answer for you on the day.
And remember if you get the above right. If you come across in a genuine, useful and friendly way then people won’t let you fade from their minds. If you rearrange the above top tips the first letter of each word will spell the word Fades, and trust me that is the last thing you want to see happen that you fade from peoples minds. That would be a waste of your time and money and could jeopardise your business success, and who wants that?
I look forward to seeing you at our September line up of events. Check out our home page to see what is coming up in your area. Don’t see what you are looking for? Then let’s talk about bringing the BWN to your area and helping you to get paid to network.
When I run Business Growth Training Programmes at some stage this question will come up and my Sales Mountain helps business owners ask questions like “How can I help people be more aware of our products and services?”
“People aren’t buying our products that really generate profit, how can I turn that around?”
So if you would like to increase sales at the top with the flag flying high for your business success and profit margin, ask yourself how do you get people buying at all levels?
Want more advice like this? I’m at every Essex BWN event and happy to talk about your business. You can also work with me from £8 here or invest £750 + VAT and become one of my Growth Accelerator clients. Learn more here.
This week I’ve been at the hands of 2 businesses getting their words very wrong, and because of their words it has directly impacted on my view of their organisations. Think that’s no big deal?
Which in hard facts translates that I’m unlikely to buy from them in the future.
First example is Booking.com (sorry no hiding the names to protect the innocent here because in my view they are not!) I booked a short break for me and my family and when the confirmation came through we went ahead and booked ferries, kennels, etc. Well the bottom of the email did say this:
2 days later we received an email pretty much saying “sorry we double booked you, here is a hotel nowhere near where you want to be, offering you none of the facilities that you were looking for.”
I thus spend a couple of hours on the phone, emailing etc trying to rectify this error. In their favour the 2 super people I spoke to at Booking.com were…well…..super and really apologetic, but that hardly puts me back in my French fishing village paradise within strolling distance of the restaurants does it?
And although it’s all sorted out now, what feelings do I have about Booking.com?
Don’t dismiss feelings as a girly thing to say when it comes to sales, the fact is we buy with our emotions, and Booking.com have created lots of unpleasant ones for me, before I’ve even locked my front door and said goodbye to my dog!
Booking.com you don’t sell hotels and holidays you sell memories that I will treasure (as will my kids, hubby and parents) for the rest of our lives.
Clarice House – I have a voucher for a Germaine De Capuccini Facial, the paper work came through to confirm mine and my Mums upcoming pampering, only for the description to have changed to “Express”. On phoning them I was informed “all facials unless otherwise stated are 25 mins long” hardly that pampering, relaxing hour I was anticipating. Okay so I assumed (and we all know the dangers of THAT word!) that it meant a full hour facial, but then Clarice House hardly did anything to help me assume otherwise did they?
The fact is as a consumer before I’ve even walked through their doors expecting relaxation, stress free girly time with my Mum, with good food and a day of sheer bliss – there’s that little bit of a nasty taste in my mouth, like I’ve been duped. And how does that make you feel?
Ready to go back and buy again?
Desperate to book another spa day before I’ve even walked out the door?
A business that forgets that a consumer buys with emotions forgets at their peril. Good businesses aren’t just about the sale today they are about the sale tomorrow, next week, next year. Loyal customers, don’t just comeback they tell everyone they know – why your products beat everyone else’s. So when you read your business literature how is it making people feel? And can you deliver what you say you can?
The moral of this business story is – chose your words carefully and ensure you create the right emotions in your customers, everyday – even when they are not ready to buy!