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5 Steps to Take Your Business to the Next Level

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5 Steps to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Owning a small business is hard work at any time, let alone right now. In fact, for many owners, the combined impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis probably adds up to the most challenging economic circumstances they’ve ever experienced. As a business owner myself, having started my own company, Tala, just over 3.5 years ago, I can confirm it’s definitely been a challenge!

But here’s something a bit less doom and gloom!  Despite all the uncertainty, 33% of UK small business owners say their priority for the next months is not only balancing the books but achieving growth too. And 37% of Gen Zs claim they want to start up a business to earn more money to deal with life’s rising costs. 

So, with all that ambition around, here are my five top tips for small business success, whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your company to the next level…

Be totally content with your content

Nowadays, most people don’t want the stuff they watch or read to look like an ad, they want it to feel as though they’re talking to their friend. This means they actually respond very similarly to well-made organic content as they do to paid content. So, instead of going straight to paid ads, post your marketing content organically on your Facebook or Instagram  to see what your audience engages with the most. You can then back the best performing stuff with some paid ads and reallocate your paid spend in real time to fit demand, like shutting off an ad when stock is low and promoting the next best product. All of which means you’re only spending your marketing budget on content that you’re confident is going to have the right impact with your customers.

Innovate in what you do and how…but not why 

Innovation is the lifeblood of every small business as it means you’re constantly moving forward and unlocking new and better ways to deliver what your customers want. But if you are thinking of targeting a new market, testing a new product or trialing a fresh way of working, don’t lose sight of why you started your company in the first place. People want to buy into your business not just from your business. So whatever changes you decide to make in order to grow, ensure that every person that comes to your page knows what your business’ mission is. Now more than ever, it’s them that will keep your customers coming back. 

Boost your productivity not your working hours

How often do you hear that, as a small business owner, you have to work every day of every week of every year. It’s not always true (although admittedly there are periods of that!). In fact, this kind of hustle culture can burn you out. The key is to be more productive with the time you do spend working. So, instead of long to-do lists without timings, try dividing your day into quick ticks (<5 mins), tasks (5-30 mins) and projects (30+ mins) and three non-negotiable things you have to achieve. This should include blocking specific time for admin and for personal stuff like hobbies. Doing so will help you focus on the stuff that really matters for your business’ long-term success rather than getting bogged down in bagging quick and easy wins to announce on social media for some extra kudos, and help you to fit in the things you love too

Be prepared if you’re looking to raise

Securing financing as a small business owner can be tough, especially if you’re a woman. In fact, for every £1 of venture investment in the UK, less than 1p goes to all-female founder teams compared to 89p for all-male ones. That’s shocking – and something investors and policymakers need to address as quickly as possible. What’s true for everyone though is that raising capital isn’t something you can just wing. Instead, you need a razor sharp knowledge of your business, a clear vision of where you want to go and be ready to model every single penny you’re going to spend. When you present your pitch, be yourself because people invest in people, not just ideas.  And if you get some interest, remember to think about whether the investor is right for you. Always follow your gut.

Take advantage of help

Getting help as a small business owner isn’t an admission of failure, it’s just smart – especially in tough times like we’re in now. Consider taking advantage of initiatives like the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme  or digital skills programmes. Join a local small business network to make useful contacts and meet people you can learn from. And if you’re lucky enough to be located around Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh, take a hefty chunk out of your energy and operating costs by cashing in on Meta’s offer of free digital skills training and office space for the winter at fb.me/goodideasstudios.

Grace Beverley is founder of the highly successful sustainable activewear brand, Tala. To help small business owners navigate the current uncertainty, she will be speaking at Meta Good Ideas Studios, a series of events where small business leaders in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh can attend insightful panels, talks, workshops and training to help them grow their businesses, primarily online.

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How to Ensure Customer Retention During an Economic Downturn

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How to Ensure Customer Retention During an Economic Downturn

Are you worried that an economic recession is on the horizon? You can bet every business owner is.

Certainly, the last two years haven’t been easy on the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic took almost every business to the cleaners. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is adding salt to an already wounded economy.

Officially, the economy is not in a recession, but there are signs of a downturn. During economic turmoil, consumers reduce their spending. This directly affects businesses.

To ensure your business stays afloat, it’s important to focus on customer retention. In this article, we’re sharing some of the strategies you can use to retain customers during an economic downturn.

Read on!

Reach Out to Your Customers

The first practical step is to establish communication with your customers about the economic situation.

Let them know that you’re worried about the economic downturn, and acknowledge that it will likely influence their future spending on your business. Most importantly, reassure your customers that your business is open to making changes to accommodate their budgets.

Also, use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback on how they would want your business to meet their needs during this time.

Take a Flexible Approach with Payments

Every business owner wants customers to make payments on time, or once an order is delivered. Some will even require customers to make upfront payments.

Regardless of whatever billing strategy you use, during an economic downturn it’s wise to be flexible; otherwise, you will lose loyal customers.

A flexible approach could mean giving customers more time to make payments or developing personalized payment plans. For example, if you’re a subscription-based business, don’t cancel a customer subscription on the renewal date. Extending the service by a few days is a show of goodwill and can make a big difference in your quest to retain your customer base.

Revamp Your Loyalty Program

Roughly 90 percent of businesses have a loyalty program in some form. If yours has worked great over the years, you might be tempted to keep it unchanged. 

However, during harsh economic times, consumers want the greatest value for their money, so your loyalty program might not be enticing enough. This is why you need to revamp it.

Some of the most successful loyalty programs embrace personalization, which is what you should do when refreshing your program for customer retention during a recession. Know the kinds of rewards your customers want and redesign the program with their needs in mind instead of offering the same rewards to everyone.

Increase Customer Retention to Beat an Economic Downturn

Shaky cash flow is a leading cause of small business failure. Yet, it’s exactly what’s bound to happen to most businesses when consumers cut their spending during an economic downturn. But if you’re able to maintain a high rate of customer retention, you will be in a good position to achieve cash flow stability and save your business.

Do you need more small business advice? Stay tuned to the business section of the blog.

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What are your top business ideas that you think would be successful?

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What are your top business ideas that you think would be successful?

Introduction

A successful business idea is any concept that has the potential to generate profits and become a successful venture. Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, as it can provide both financial and personal satisfaction. With the right business idea and the right attitude, anyone can make it happen.

In this article, we will discuss ten business ideas that have the chance to be successful. From online coaching to pet care services, these ideas can provide the necessary foundation for starting your own business.

Business Ideas

1. Online Coaching: With the help of the internet, anyone can become an online coach and offer their services to a wide audience. Whether it’s career advice, health and fitness tips, or financial advice, there’s always a demand for those who can provide guidance and support in any field.

2. Online Personal Shopping Service: With the rise of online shopping, more people are turning to personal shopping services to purchase items they don’t have the time or energy to buy themselves. Becoming an online personal shopper can be a great way to make money while helping others.

3. Virtual Event Planning: The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for people to host large events, but virtual events are becoming increasingly popular. As a virtual event planner, you can help clients plan and organize everything from weddings to corporate events.

4. Food Delivery Service: With the rise of food delivery apps, this is an ideal time to start a food delivery business. You can partner with local restaurants and deliver their food to customers in your area.

5. Tutoring Service: If you’re an expert in a particular subject, you can offer tutoring services online or in person. Whether it’s for school, college, or test prep, there’s always a demand for tutors who can help students learn.

6. Home Cleaning Service: Cleaning is a chore that many people don’t enjoy, making it an ideal opportunity for a business. You can offer home cleaning services to busy professionals and busy parents who don’t have the time to clean their own homes.

7. Social Media Consulting: As more businesses realize the importance of having a strong presence on social media, social media consulting is becoming a popular business opportunity. You can help businesses create and manage their social media accounts, create content, and increase their reach.

8. Online Course Creation: If you have expertise in a particular field, you can create online courses that teach others about it. From cooking courses to coding courses, there’s always a demand for online courses that can help people learn new skills.

9. Freelance Writing: Freelance writing is a great way to make a living while writing about topics you’re passionate about. Whether it’s writing blog posts, creating web content, or writing books, there’s always a demand for writers.

10. Pet Care Service: Pet owners are always looking for reliable and trustworthy pet care services. Whether it’s pet sitting, dog walking, or grooming, you can start a business that helps take care of people’s pets.

Conclusion

These are just some of the business ideas that have the potential to be successful. With the right business idea and the right attitude, anyone can make it happen. Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, as it can provide both financial and personal satisfaction.

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Digital Fashion Week New York reveals a three-day schedule alongside NYFW

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Digital Fashion Week New York reveals a three-day schedule alongside NYFW

The organisers behind Digital Fashion Week New York have unveiled a jam-packed three-day schedule for its upcoming edition, set to run alongside the physical New York Fashion Week.

From February 9 to 11, the event will feature both physical and digital aspects, each designed to offer insights, vision and strategies for adapting to a digital future.

A Networking and Speaker Summit will be held in person on the first, during which industry figures will take part in panel discussions covering key topics from digital fashion, such as protecting models’ identities in the future and how artificial intelligence (AI) could change design.

The following day will see the opening of the event’s Metaverse Fashion Experience, where visitors can explore a virtual world using a Ready Player Me avatar that can be dressed in special garments from digital fashion week design winners.

During the event, it will be possible to attend virtual panel discussions that address critical issues and offer solutions to questions surrounding fashion’s future.

On the final day, both in person and online, visitors can view an animation screening followed by a performance by Mariah the Scientist with a layered phygital fashion show, as well as various other immersive experiences.

Designers involved include Ilona Song, RightDirection, Lorena Bello and Zero10, which has also worked on creating augmented reality (AR) iterations of designs by five digital creators, two of which will have physical representations at the shows in New York on February 11 and London on

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