Small businesses and how they can prosper. Sounds like a bit of an elongated oxymoron doesn’t it? The High Street is now being clogged with charity shops and bakeries (How many sausage rolls can you eat in 75 yards anyway?) as they fill the empty shops vacated by small independents that we all loved a few years ago. And who’s to blame? The economy? Superstores? Banks? Cost of living? Answer yes on all counts, and although it’s always a combination of things that contribute to the unfortunate demise of a business, there are other reasons a lot closer to home.
No Magic Bullet
It is very rare that you will hear a small retailer admitting that he just didn’t think ahead when everything was going well. It’s even more rare that anyone will admit to taking business advice from a friend rather than a professional. It is extremely likely however, that many small businesses will leave it far to late to mount a successful recovery. Unfortunately, in our industry, we see an awful lot of the latter. Business people come to us desperate for Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to be the “magic bullet” that will turn their fortunes around in two weeks and no, they can’t commit an adequate budget because things are tight.
To be fair, it isn’t easy for some small retailers to make a decent living, you only have to look at the news. The banks aren’t lending enough; the economy is still depressed, January is very quiet and shoplifting is at a nine year high. It’s not all bad news; The Guardian tells us that 2014 looks bright for Entrepreneurs willing to take risks. Risks! Can the small independent afford to take risks? Isn’t trying to trade on a day-to-day basis risk enough? So why do some prosper where others fail?
Plan, Plan and Plan
Well, it’s all in the planning. Not just before you open the doors to your business, but during too. Ok, your up and running and things look good, for how long though? It’s almost counter intuitive to try and think how you are going to survive the future when you’re doing so well in the present. But that’s exactly what you must do.
Take our businessman above who has left it too late because he hoped the economy would turn around or/and his friend has told him he has a mate who can get him to position one on page one of Google. Sadly, It just isn’t going to happen.
Some Good News
So, what’s the answer? If you are in the same position as our businessman above, then sadly not a lot. If, however you are starting out or you are currently enjoying some success as a small business, now is the time to act but first, some facts.
Britain is the largest online shopping nation in the developed world with almost TWO-THIRDS of adults using the Internet to buy goods or services.
Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that six out of ten British adults use the Internet to buy products such as food, clothing, music or holidays.
Britons spent £68.2 billion on the Internet last year, an increase of almost £10 billion on the previous year.
Could you do with a slice of that? Of course you could. The chances are that any service or product you sell can be marketed very successfully through the Internet. So why wouldn’t you?
Use Professional Agencies, not “Mates”
Don’t leave it until you have a problem. Don’t go to a mate for advice; go to a professional online marketing agency for help on SEO and PPC and that are Google Certified. Listen to them and accept it’s going to take some work and it will certainly take some time. But doesn’t everything? If it was quick and easy you wouldn’t be in trouble, would you?
Data provided by The Daily Telegraph.