In my last article I wrote about why you need to speculate to accumulate to get your business back on track with specific focus on marketing. But there are other areas of the business which need investment to enable you to bounce back
When I first heard about Covid 19, I reviewed all my spending and buttoned down the hatches. I cancelled all the direct debits which were “nice to have”, made sure I wasn’t paying any unnecessary bank charges and reviewed my financial position. And then did nothing! And business virtually dried up
I then realised that in this time of lock down, I was going to need to start investing and so have my clients! I run a consultancy business unlike most of my clients who run product based businesses but the principles are the same
So what are the key areas that we have been focusing on and where you should you be investing for growth alongside that essential marketing budget
"CUTTING BACK ON ADVERTISING CAN HURT SALES"
- Infrastructure – I have been making my business more efficient by implementing new systems and automation. So how can you take cost out, create more profit and relate more cash for investment back into marketing? It all costs money. I have two clients who are both raising funds to enable them to bounce back and expand – once to create a distribution hub and the other a bonded manufacturing unit which will massively improve efficiency. Another is investing in a forecasting system which will enable them to ensure they have optimal stock holding of raw materials and finished goods which means minimal stock write off and optimal sales
- Team – I have strengthened my team with a new online business manager and looking to take on another part time team member to help with the management of linked in. Who do you need, to enable you to deliver your bounce back or even growth plans? Do you need to work on sales, marketing or even get yourself a part time FD. I was chatting with Nick Owers yesterday from www.thefdcentre.co.uk who will supply you with a money expert on a part time basis who can help transform your business whether you are looking to raise funds, manage the finance of the business or even contemplating exit
- Insights – when I was commercial director at ichiban, we spent over £100k on market data and insights and it was money well spent. We knew who our customers were, why they bought and understood the levers for growing their business. I am working with a client at the moment who has invested a small amount in Nielsen data which will enable them to better present their case to retailers as to why they should be listed – investment of £2k might yield a retailer account worth £250k!
- Innovation, new product development – new products cost money – you have to develop packaging, create recipes, run trials, do research, create new designs….the lsit can be endless but without innovation is your competitive position going to eroded? Can you create new revenue streams with new ideas? If the answer is yes then how much do you need to invest to make it happen?
- Training and development – I am a massive fan of personal development and have had a coach throughout the three and a half years that I have been running Food Mentor. I had one to get my business to the next level, one to help write my book and now another one to learn how to best market my business. I am also part of a mastermind group of like minded entrepreneurs helping to get me to the next level and not burn out like I did last year. But I am a solopreneur, what are the training needs of your team – do you consider training to be non essential at the moment apart from the legally required stuff – are the softer skills passing you by? If your sales team (or yourself) could negotiate 20% better profit margin what money would that bring in to reinvest?
So I am expecting by now that you are reading this and thinking well that’s all very well for you but I have had to furlough my staff, cut salaries and other costs, investing for growth is not really affordable right now. Well I have your back and have created a mini guide to funding which will help you find sources of money and how to apply for it. I am also running the bounce back summer school on 24th July to help you plan to do just that!
So treat yourself …free up an hour, shut the door, turn off the phone and think what could YOU be doing to enable your business to Bounce Back into growth?
If you want to have a chat just give me a shout firstname.lastname@example.org or see you on the 24th July.