Let’s face it, 2020 has been – for the majority of businesses out there – a nightmare come true.
Surely now, all you businesses that are lucky enough to still have your doors open should just save the pennies and wait this pandemic out, especially over the Christmas period?
According to Business live, the following high street chains are either in serious trouble or have already closed due to the global pandemic and resulting lockdowns (this isn’t even 1/5 of the businesses that have closed their doors already):
- Bonmarche – Now in administration.
- The Arcadia group (that’s Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Miss Selfridge – Went into administration on November 30th.
- Peacocks and the Edinburgh Woolen Mill – Went into administration on November 19th.
- Harvey’s, the UK’s second largest furniture retailer – Went into administration on the 30th
- Victoria’s Secret – Fell into administration in June.
- Oasis and Warehouse – Went into Administration in April.
- Debenhams – Went in to administration on the 1st April
I don’t have the heart to mention any more – but there are loads, from just about every business sector, from entertainment, to hospitality, to food and drink and fashion.
At the last count, nearly 750,000 jobs have already been axed in the UK due to Coronavirus and the unemployment rate is set to top 2.6 million by the middle of 2021.
Let’s add Boris Johnson’s festive:
‘Tis the season to be Jolly careful.’
Which many business owners have taken as: stay home, don’t advertise and hide under your proverbial bed, hoping your existing clients will stop delaying on paying their bills to you, and pray that no more expenses should rear their ugly heads before the new year.
I know what you’re thinking:
“I’m a jolly soul aren’t I, and why haven’t I ever considered a career working for the Samaritans?”
Being a part of AWE business networking UK has given me a different insight into this pandemic. The business owners in our community have, for the most part experienced difficulties, for sure, but not so much as one might expect.
Every week, throughout the UK, I see our business owners and entrepreneurs turning up to our networking meetings, not just looking for money making prospects but actively searching for opportunities to help our other members.
This pandemic has helped us appreciate the value of true human connection.
I’d like to share with you a few networking pearls that may help when deciding how best to promote your business our over the holiday season:
1. Misery Loves Company.
If you are one of the thousands of business owners not sure which way to turn, then turn to someone who knows exactly what you are going through and will help.
Join a good strong networking group and garner the support that you absolutely need right now.
Many networking groups have introduced the facility to operate hybrid online meetings. This means you are not restricted by geography. You can make valuable connections literally anywhere in the UK (or the world).
And because you are engaging in an online meeting, you only need to get dressed from the waist up. Just don’t forget mid meeting and go to grab a cup of coffee!
2. Learn from successful business practices.
If you were to combine all of the skills and the winning, tried and tested strategies from all of the entrepreneurs in your networking group how can that be anything other than a recipe for success?
In AWE business networking I am continually picking the brains of other members and gratefully accepting help and guidance from people who actually care and want to see me succeed. What follows is a ripple effect in practice – I seek out opportunities to use my professional skills to help out as many different businesses as I can.
No one ever became a huge success by operating in a vacuum (well, apart from Dyson).
3. Look for opportunities to work WITH other businesses.
This is a particular favourite of mine. We are all better in business together.
I want you to picture your ideal clients right now. Are you doing it?
You know, the ones that you’d welcome into your home and give an endless supply of Jammy Dodgers just to have them swear their constant allegiance to you.
It may surprise you to know that those people are also the dream customers for another, non-competing business out there.
And by ‘out there’ I mean, someone already in your current business-networking group!
Imagine the possibilities if, instead of competing with these businesses, you were to join forces and work together, collectively sharing the market share and profits whilst also sharing responsibility, work hours, and the exchange of amazing ideas and strategies.
4. See how other sectors can instruct your own practice.
When you come from a place of connection and understanding then you cannot help but to take an interest in other sectors and sometimes, successful strategies can help you think outside the box and become your very own winning formula.
I’d like to share something I have learned by speaking with financial advisors and wealth management entrepreneurs that I have met through AWE business networking in Newcastle the North East and Leicester:
The stock market has been a proven way to give investors with the right mindset, complete financial freedom, yet many people prefer to save their pennies in the bank than build an investment portfolio.
I mention this because in the current climate there is an uncanny resemblance to the attitudes of many business owners in the UK and those who have tried and failed to make money in stocks and shares:
If you had enough money to buy a top of the range Honda Civic and you were to place it in a bank for thirty years then your accumulated wealth, taking inflation into account, would be just enough to buy a top of the range… pedal bike!
Yet people who invest wisely into a diversified portfolio will always see a great return.
Now let’s relate this to you business owners:
If your marketing strategy over this pandemic and the Christmas period is to NOT have a marketing strategy then you run the risk of being yet another 2020 business casualty,.
But not only that:
With so many other businesses NOT competing for your customers then this is an ideal opportunity for you to take advantage and spend less money to get more market share!
… which leads me to my earlier question:
Why should you just STOP marketing over Christmas?
I have absolutely no idea!
Join a networking group, and take advantage of being part of an active business community who are invested in helping you succeed.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of AWE networking