For us, most of this year was summed up with the words ‘We’ll have to wait and see…’. It was the end point of many a planning discussions.
So many in smaller businesses this year, especially those in the hardest hit sectors, it’s been hard just to stay afloat never mind plan ahead.
Surviving or thriving…
One good thing about being a smaller business during more challenging times is that you can usually respond quicker to changes than bigger enterprises. Small businesses that have been able to adapt whilst keeping their existing business running have managed to survive and some have turned into some incredible success stories and have had us marvelling at the human spirit and ingenuity. Some have turned to developing new products or services, others have learnt new skills.
A brewery business in Birmingham, namely GlassHouse Beer Co’s tap house which has introduced delivery by the can for people in isolation. Invoices are sent remotely and payment taken before delivery.
Crafting businesses have found ways to sell and delivery craft kits from their websites, and restaurants have switched to take-away services with orders and payment done over the phone.
With Covid-19 restrictions, businesses have had to get slick at delivery and our websites have had to offer more.
We have all found new ways of working. Working from home is now pretty normal for a lot of us who are in a position to do so but that has brought about its own challenges. Some of the questions we have asked are:
- Will I get much done working from home? Will I stay motivated?
- How will I manage home schooling and working?
- Will I be able to work as well and interact with my team?
- Do I need that many meetings?
Despite the questions, what is certain is that ‘COVID-19 has forced us to learn how to stay connected, motivated, and productive in new ways.’
For example, when we can’t just drop in for a chat with a co-worker or pop over for a meeting, we are sending quick messages on Slack or meeting with Zoom or Teams which help us stay on side.
Changing strategy and focus
Just as we embrace new online tools and processes, our clients have shifted marketing focus to their online assets, increasing the number of updates on their websites, being glad of the usability of content management systems, bigger drives in SEO and social media marketing. It’s also been a time of doing some ‘house-keeping’, reviewing brand positioning and identity, looking at how to build trust with clients through email and ensuring seamless purchasing online.
What do we see for 2021?
Optimistically, we are expecting a return of activities like live events from what we have seen online, and we have had the good news about the vaccine which gives us light at the end of the tunnel, but we think some of the advantages of the way we are working now, such as remote working will be kept in place for the foreseeable future.
For our part, we are committed to being supportive to our clients, whether it’s discussing a new way of doing business, giving advice, looking at different ways to pay for collateral, helping you plan ahead or just having a chat about how the day’s been. For us 2021 is going to be about how we can give our clients value in the way that they work, more tools and more information to help with their marketing.
For our clients, our advice is to stay in tune to trends and invest in the tools and technology you need to help you stay connected and motivated. Finally, listening to your team and your colleagues, making room along the way to give support where it is needed is one of the best investments you can make.
All at Forty49 wish everyone a peaceful, happy and healthy Festive Season and we’ll see you on the other side.