The COVID-19 Small Biz Action Plan
5 steps to ensure your business is a rock against the tide of pandemic
Small businesses are in trouble, but there are things you can do to get through this period with more customers and more potential than ever before! Maximise your time in lock-down with the 5 action steps detailed below. There has never been a better opportunity to take time for yourself and for your business, to plan, to improve, to transform yourself and your business and be the most prepared for success ever!
Using the advice from some of the largest marketing agencies in the world, I have outlined the 5 key steps for any small to medium-sized business owner or employee to maximise their lock-down time and come out better than ever before, and better than the competition.
Whilst this lock-down causes a lot of panic for many of you, I assure you if you can follow these 5 steps, you will not only survive this pandemic, but return to the market with more prospects ready to buy from you than ever before. I personally implemented the knowledge and steps laid out in this article and gained 10 new clients in the first two months.
I hope you get a lot of value out of this report, and that if you need any help or further information, that you reach out to me. I am more than willing to help any fellow small business owner come up with specific solutions for their company.
1. Educate yourself
E-books cost around $13, Udemy courses are around $13, youtube is free, following experts in your field on LinkedIn and Instagram is free, google is free. There is no excuse for you to not maximise this time to learn skills and tactics that could dramatically improve every area of your business and professional life. You could learn how to: be more confident to approach more prospects, create educational articles for your followers, create a sales funnel to generate more leads and turn articles into post-crisis appointments, or how to optimise your web-pages for higher conversions! There are many, many areas that could be improved in small businesses, as well as personal lives, check out the appendix for a list of books and people I recommend you read and follow to get you started in different areas of business and personal development.
With more time on your hands than ever before, now is the time to upgrade your life. How many extra hours do you now have that you could spend reading, watching youtube videos or listening to podcasts from the greatest minds in the world instead of wasting hours on social media. If you don’t come out of this lockdown more educated, fitter, healthier or closer to your goals, you never lacked time, you just lacked discipline.
On the topic of social media; use it as a resource, not an escape. Flood your youtube and Instagram feeds with people like Tom Bilyeu, Gary Vaynerchuck, Grant Cardone or Jim Kwik for some of the best business advice you will ever receive, completely free.
Self improvement is always the cause of positive effects, and there are thousands of books out there on business strategy, sales, management, fitness, mindset, whatever it is you think you need to improve in or out of business, you have never had more time to do it. Don’t waste it.
“A person who dares waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” - Charles Darwin.
2. Educate consumers
Educating consumers is the first step to building trusting relationships, goodwill, and ‘qualified prospects.’ People don’t buy for three reasons more than any others - they don’t know enough about you, they don’t know enough about the product, or they don’t know enough about why the product is perfect for them. Educating consumers is the first step in identifying and helping the people who are interested in what your business is ultimately offering, and breaking down those barriers to buy. There is never any pressure to buy in these educational articles/videos, they are completely free and completely for the consumer’s benefit. You will never regret helping people.
So what do you write or speak about? Topics you know more than anyone else about! Topics in your industry, in your profession. If you’re a gardener, write about the 3 golden rules every plant-carer must follow, or a video on the best areas to plant for maximum sunlight. Or maybe you’re a spray-tan specialist, write about tips to avoid looking like an orange!
Every industry and every niche has topics that people are interested in, you just have to identify them, then start writing. For example, I’m writing this article as a fellow small-business owner who spent the last couple weeks trying to figure out what to do for my business amidst this crisis, and thought other small business owners would be interested in what I found.
Just be someone willing to help others and share the knowledge you have, whether from experience as an industry expert, or from books you’ve read. Remember, if you’re in a niche market, the chances that those article topics have been done more than a few times before are pretty slim. Your followers will appreciate your perspective on it, and potential customers will appreciate the knowledge you have freely shared with them as an expert in your industry.
Finally, when you post it to social media, don’t make it look like an ad. Everyone hates ads, so what you should do instead is post the article like it is news, like the front page of popular magazines, with attention grabbing headlines that touch a nerve and pull people in. There’s a reason those writers are the highest paid in the world!
Here are more examples of the types of article headlines you can consider, using our spray-tan and gardner examples from before:
How to’s: “3 steps to avoid a bronzing turning into an oranging”
Identify and solve a problem: Tired of your plants dying? Here are 3 tips to ensure a healthy plant.
Make a statement: “Stop killing your plants! 3 things you must know”
Ask questions: “Could mobile spray-tans be the future of the industry?”
Use Power words: “The ultimate plant owners guide to a beautiful looking garden”
Create a top list: “The 5 top things small-business owners can do to profit from COIVD-19”
3. Build relationships
Engage with your consumers, use your blog and your social media to ask questions, answer questions and engage in discussions that educate and build trust with your followers.
What you can also do on the back-end of your articles is offer free over the phone consultations to offer tailored advice on the key topics you addressed in the article. Again, you are not selling your products or services here, you’re offering free, tailored advice to educate the consumer, but don’t think this isn’t of benefit for you too.
You see, when you’re on the phone with your prospect, they are giving you key information as to why they are reading your articles, why they are asking for more tailored advice, what problems they have, and giving you the information you need to match what your product or service offers, to their why! Now you know exactly what specific problem each individual is looking to solve by enquiring into the information you gave them, all you have to do now is convince them you can solve their problem and to make an appointment to further discuss and present how your product or service fixes their problem better than anything else they’ve tried before!
Please note, you still don’t sell the product or service here! What you do is sell the solution they are asking for, you don’t need to say anything more about your product or service other than it solves their problem with 100% certainty. (Only if it really does, solve problems and offer solutions, don’t sell a product to a buyer who isn’t right for it.)
This way, you’ve given away free information, you have engaged with customers and built the relationship through discussions online and over the phone, and have had the opportunity to offer the solution to their underlying problem and book an appointment. Even if they haven’t booked, you’ve still built the goodwill of you and your company without pressuring them into anything, a win-win situation.
4. Solidify Your Future with Clarity of Direction
Perhaps one of the most important elements in any individual’s or company’s life is direction. Do you know exactly where your business is going? What is the vision? What are the goals?
You cannot hit a target that you cannot see. With more time on your hands than ever before, now is the perfect time to clarify those goals, even if you have done it before. Having a crystal clear vision of your ideal future puts the target not only in sight, but 3-feet away, with the next step clearly identifiable. You don’t need to know every step, you just need to know the next one, then all you have to do is take the next step, achieve the next milestone and eventually stick the arrow right through the bullseye.
The practicality of achieving those milestones is of course far more challenging, but at least if you know exactly what you are aiming for, you can eliminate every step and every task that doesn’t move you closer to that target. Only 3% have goals, only 1% review and re-write their goals every day, the other 97% of people work for the goals of that 3%. Which would you rather be?
Clarify your vision and your goals into a crystal clear target and sequence of steps. Clarify your brand identity, values, and strategic plan. Now is the opportunity to solidify your future with clarity of direction.
5. Set Yourself Up for Success - the final step to open the floodgates
So you’ve improved your skills, you’ve educated your industry, helped a lot of people with free information and personalised advice, and you’ve solidified your future with clarity of direction. Most importantly, you’ve identified prospects who are very interested in a solution you are offering, now it’s time to open the floodgates and solidify your financial future with a downpour of customers.
It’s a simple sales funnel, and not the scam type you see online, this is the funnel your consumers go through to see all the free information you’re giving them and ends with a happily paying customer. Let’s take a look:
Stream of online ‘news’ articles educating consumers on hot topics in the industry
At this point, you ask for their name and email address to view the article, significantly growing your contact list. If your headline and content is good enough, people will happily give this information away, they’re used to it.
A small offering for more tailored advice via phone consultation at the bottom of the article is made: “If you learnt a lot from this article, but are still itching to find out more and need more specialised advice, book a free 20 minute phone consultation with us via the link below” - Not pushy, but here if you need.
Linked to an online scheduler (if you don’t normally book appointments, try simplybook.me)
Phone consultation offering free tailored advice on your industry, solving your customers specific problems and advertising that you can with 100% certainty solve it for them, selling the appointment to see more.
It’s important to note the opportunity this pandemic presents for this: people don’t value time in the distant future anywhere near as much as they do time in the near-future. Prospects will be far more likely to book for appointments in May/June, after the pandemic is potentially over, than they would be next week. (That goes for booking appointments even after the pandemic is over.)
For those prospects that don’t book appointments or even phone consultations, you now have them on your contacts list and can re-target them with links to every new article you publish, offering them more free information and more education. The more empowered and educated the prospect feels, the more likely they will be to move forward. Prospects just have different thresholds of skepticism they must overcome before buying.
Wrapping it up
Follow these 5 steps, implement the sales funnel in this report, and you will not only survive this pandemic, you will come out with more appointments, more followers, and more customers than you had before!
I hope you got a lot out of this article and enjoyed reading it. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I will reply as soon as I can.
There are three things you must do RIGHT NOW, to make sure this isn’t just another article you read and forget about, write down, on a piece a paper, answers to the following
Why is this information important to my business?
How can I implement this into my business? What articles/videos can I think of doing?
When am I going to schedule this for?
You must take 5 minutes to write that out, otherwise this is just another article with a bunch of words that don’t mean shit. YOU have to schedule it, otherwise you’ll never get around to it because as a business owner you know, there are always other things you could do. Schedule when you’re going to plan out articles and videos for your business and engage with your customers, I promise you won’t regret it.
If you want help working out exactly how you can do this for your company, feel free to reach out to me, I will discuss with you exactly what it would look like for you and your business, with topic headline suggestions, how to set-up the funnel on your site and everything you need to succeed! I love solving problems, I would love to help you solve yours.
Don’t waste this opportunity to get ahead. But above all else, stay safe and stay healthy.
For more information on each of these titles, go to www.successlabinc.com/booklist
Sell or Be Sold, Grant Cardone (https://amzn.to/2yan7CE)
Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracy (https://amzn.to/2JXhvyz)
If You’re not First, You’re Last, Grant Cardone (https://amzn.to/2V2CENT)
Sell Like Crazy, Sabri Subry (https://amzn.to/2V0XGMO)
Principles, Ray Dalio (https://amzn.to/3c8jJaj)
100 Best Business Books of All Time (https://amzn.to/3c8QDaL)
Start With Why, Simon Sinek (https://amzn.to/3beG0mw)
How to Build an Online Business, Bernadette Schwerdt (https://amzn.to/2XtrRhy)