Many businesses are quieter than they would ordinarily be at the moment. Some are laying off staff, others are furloughing employees. But in our view this is a golden opportunity for many to do what they ordinarily might struggle to – work on the business, rather than in the business (to be clear though you cannot do this if you have been furloughed). We have put together this check list of 20 things to do, to put your business in the best possible shape for recovery from Coronavirus. Not all of these will be applicable to all businesses and they are not in any particular order but we hope that there will be plenty that will apply to you. To make this list more manageable we have broken it down into a two part blog. Here in part one we cover 1-10, watch this space for part two.
1. Survey your customers.
When did you last survey your customers, to gauge their level of satisfaction, discover what about your products or services they would like to change and anything that you can do to improve? Such a survey can also be a great way to capture testimonials for use in marketing or on your website. Our survey tool of choice is the Gloucestershire survey company SmartSurvey. The chances are are that you will get a better response to your survey now than in more normal circumstances (not least because of less cluttered email boxes and some people having more time), but if you are concerned about take up, then why not pledge a charitable donation for each survey completed?
2. Claim your Google My Business listing.
Hopefully most reading this will have already done this, but if in doubt do a google search for your own business and see if the listing top right has an option to “claim this business”. These listings are becoming increasingly important for all businesses, but most particularly those that attract business from the local area. For a vaguely light hearted look at the consequences of not claiming your Google My Business listing read our blog from last year. Once you have claimed your Google listing, then do the same with Bing.
3. Check how you rank against your competitors on Google My Business.
Check out Google’s own tips on improving your ranking here but in our experience we have also found it to be highly beneficial to have more reviews and a higher score. Ideally you want to be in the top three of the most relevant category for your business in local searches.
4. Consider registering your Trademark
If your brand is important to you (and who isn’t it for) then consider protecting your name by registering it as a trademark. There are other defences if people start using a name that is a bit too close for comfort, but prior registration of your trademark is likely to be one of the most effective. You may want to take legal advice on this. Our trademark was registered for us by our Solcitor clients Hughes Paddison.
5. Review your websites Google Analytics
We are going to assume for now that you will have Google Analytics on your website – in our experience most do. Equally though in our experience, far too many organisations then don’t look at these figures to benefit from the invaluable insight they offer. Where are your visitors coming from, what pages are most popular, what goals are being triggered and what traffic sources led to these – there are just some of the insights that you will glean.
6. Carry out a brand/proposition review
In this day and age, your organisation can be found in lots of different places – your own website, generally online, social media, business directories and of course your own literature. But when did you last review how consistent these are and whether they present you in the best possible light? How likely is that they way you describe yourself will resonate with potential customers. We can help with this, by giving an impartial viewpoint and an exercise we can carry out with you, can help create what we like to call a “hierarchy of messages”, that will make it much more likely that you use the most important points first going forward.
7. Review your GDPR policy
It might seem longer ago, but GDPR was introduced nearly two years ago in the UK. Most organisations at the time wrote GDPR policies to help ensure their compliance with the information requirements at the time. But how many of those organisations have reviewed their policy since – despite the fact that the data they hold and what they use it for may well have changed. Also ask yourself when your company last did any GDPR training. One of the activities you can ask furloughed employees to do is take part in training.
8. Keep prospects warm
This is particularly relevant to those businesses that are fully closed currently. Ask yourself how are you maintaining contact with people that were in your pipeline at the time you mothballed your business? Also what about new enquiries you have received whilst you are closed. Perhaps you can give those people priority when your business starts to get going again. As a minimum are you getting people to opt in to future marketing.
9. Ensure that you don’t go silent on social media
These are challenging times and it would not be appropriate to simply post the same content that you would ordinarily. You need be sensitive to the general mood, but equally now is not a time to go silent on social media. It can play a vital role in re-enforcing your businesses presence (reminding people you are there). Think about how you can use your social media to help others whether that be sharing freely expertise like we are doing here or simply being supporting of other organisations in your local area. Incidentally remember to check what percentage of your website traffic comes from social media, this will differ for each business, but as a rough rule of thumb we would say you should be getting at least 5% of your website traffic from social media.
10. Form a recovery plan
It is difficult for us all to envisage what recovery will look like, when it will happen, how fast will it be? But this is one thing you don’t want to make up as you go along. Think – what will you do first, how much will you spend and where will you spend it. What steps do you need to take to get your business fully up and running and how do you make sure that business does not fall through your grasp in the process. The businesses that come out of this the best, will be those that have spent the time creating a recovery plan that ensures they maximise the benefits of the recovery when it comes.
We hope that you have found this part one of our list of 20 things you should do to put your business in the best possible position for recovery, useful. Keep and eye out for part two next week and we can help with any of the elements of the first ten steps, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.