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HERTS | BUCKS | BEDS

Future-proofing your business

August 8, 2020

by Sarah Cooke

Right now we are obviously going through some strange & uncertain times, but I don’t believe that means you have to compromise your business – it IS possible to have a business that you love and that works for you on your terms.

Even if you’ve had to temporarily close your doors to face-to-face and in-person customers, there are still ways you can bring in money and build the foundations for a sustainable business going forward.

There is a 5 step simple process that I’ve created to help you and I truly believe that when you have clarity and strategy you can achieve your goals

 

 

1. Knowing where the world is right now helps us plan for the future

It helps us see what we could do or should be doing too.
We are in a rapidly changing situation. A world where the unknown has become our new normal. Lives have changed, the world has changed…and we, as business owners, need to adapt too. Wouldn’t it be nice to have certainty with your income though?

The status quo isn’t enough anymore and those that take action and evolve will see success. Those that expect everything to “go back to normal” will be left behind.

But that means taking action. It isn’t about just surviving this time…but rather thriving and that may mean you need to step outside of your comfort zone to future-proof your business.

 

2. What this means

It’s clear that the world is in a state of change and the future is uncertain but what does this mean for us as business owners? There are two parts to this…Firstly your clients & existing audience and secondly the sustainability of your business.

●       Your Clients & Audience

Marketing is key right now but you need to make sure you’re visible in the right way. People are emotional. They are experiencing rapid change just as we are. There is anxiety about the unknown of what’s to come and when.

Knowing how your clients are feeling and what they need is vital in you helping them both from a marketing content perspective but also which products and services to offer. Keep checking in with them as emotions will change as the situation changes.

●       Reflecting on your business

The second part of understanding what all this means for us is the direct impact on your business and how you want it to operate going forward. I’d really encourage you to look at your business from an objective and open-minded perspective.

>> Consider how your business operates.

Do you have a sustainable, flexible model that can adapt to anything…what if you get sick? What if your child is sick? What if when the pandemic ends, you want to take a holiday? Will you still have money coming in or does your business cease to operate if you’re not physically there?

>> Your role in your business.

I know we, as business owners, hold many hats! But are you acting as the CEO or the person running around with the daily operations of the business? What decisions are you making to future-proof your business, your finances, your flexible lifestyle?

Some other key questions to ask yourself as the CEO of your business are: Do you have a sustainable income? Do you have recurring revenue? Do you have multiple revenue streams or relying on a single service / product?

Having the clarity on the type of business you want both from a flexibility and financial perspective are key in deciding what actions you want / need to take.

 

 

3. Immediate Actions

Having a sustainable and future-proof business isn’t about taking advantage of a situation but it is about using the opportunity to analyse what’s working and what’s not. It also enables you to think about what support you can provide for your clients.

●       Give Value. Never assume how they are feeling and what they are going through. Instead, ask them and provide that support. This will go along way in building and maintaining relationships with them.

●       Acts of Service. There are lots of ways you can engage and show people you care as well as offer your expertise to others:

○       reach out and check in with current & previous clients

○       offer to share your expertise through trainings / workshops etc for other people’s audiences (even corporate companies)…your knowledge may be really valuable right now

○       reach out to local businesses and see how you could collaborate / support each other

○       look at ways you could re-purpose your products / services / distribution networks to support others (including your audience)

 

4. Assess Your Business Model

The best way to look at your current model is to do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

Think about your internal business factors as well as external factors e.g. finances, products / services you offer (or could offer), government decisions, lockdown measures, client emotions / needs etc.

You can also think about it from a personal perspective e.g. what are you good at (strengths), what are you interested in (opportunities).

There may be new income stream opportunities, new collaborations, new ways of working, more business efficiencies etc. You will gain so much insight by doing this simple activity and it will enable you to see where you could be focussing your efforts depending what your business & lifestyle goals are going forward.

 

5. Protecting for the future

By doing the SWOT analysis, you’ve probably realised there is A LOT you could be doing to help create your sustainable future-proof business!

The next step is to decide which are the most important areas for you and your business and which ideas you can implement.  You then need to put this into a plan to prioritise which areas you focus on first.

Right now there will be businesses who pause or even cease trading altogether. History tells us that those businesses which keep going, are proactive and give value to their audience will emerge from economic shocks ahead of their competitors and be more successful.

> Protect Your Budget and Your Time

Invest in the ways that support and help you grow e.g. in marketing, business development

> Protect Your Brand

Strong brands (remember you are your brand!) that consistently show up and give value to their audience will recover quicker than those that don’t. Even if your clients aren’t in a position to buy from you right now, they will remember the value you gave them and will return as soon as they can

> Celebrate the milestones

Where appropriate share your successes with your audience. They are looking for support but also inspiration and good news.

 

 

Creating a multi-tiered business model

In my opinion having a financially sustainable business comes from a multi-tiered business model which has various revenue streams that don’t all rely on you being present.

I realised this very quickly when I became fully-booked in my holistic health & massage therapy business…I physically couldn’t see any more clients without working 24-7 and that was not the life I wanted to create for myself. It also meant I had an income ceiling – I literally couldn’t earn any more money so it forced me to analyse and create various different streams for my business including a product line, workshops, courses, digital products etc and I now help other health & wellness professionals do the same.

Our current situation just reinforces the importance of not relying on just one income stream, whatever industry you’re in.

It can sometimes feel hard building your business, especially if you have been forced to close your doors and / or have lots of ideas but don’t know where to start…

But having clarity, together with a strategy is key. You CAN do this!

 

If you’re in the health & wellness industry and would like more tips to help you create a sustainable business on your terms, I would love to support you and to take away the confusion. Come and join my FREE Facebook group “Healthy Business to Wealthy Business

 

by Sarah of Sarah Cooke Marketing