According to the latest statistics, the UK economy is forecast to have grown by 6.6% during July 2020, meaning it will have recovered 88% of its pre-lockdown size.
This is a somewhat positive change from the 20.4% downturn reported at the close of Q2.
A vast percentage of this growth would have come down to the re-opening of shops, bars, restaurants and other hospitality establishments, together with many businesses like Manufacturers being able to re-open their doors.
However, with threats of local lockdowns looming, combined with changes to national COVID-19 restrictions, business leaders across the country now need to focus on continuing to push their business forwards and recover any losses garnered through the peak of the pandemic.
With that in mind, what can business leaders do to ensure they continue to maintain momentum and actually emerge stronger post COVID-19?
It starts with Mindset
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders divided into two clear camps. Those who retracted out of fear and those who continued to push forwards and weather storm. Option A should no longer be a consideration and those now concerned about what the next quarter will bring need to focus on continuing to push forwards instead of succumbing to the media frenzy and worrying about what the next quarter will bring.
The measure of success in business isn’t determined by how well you do during periods of growth, but how you handle and overcome challenges. Having a focused, diligent and driven mindset is key, where the business leaders who were focused on pushing forwards at start of lockdown are those far more likely to be ahead of the curve some 6 months later.
Don’t ‘Go Dark’
History has shown us that the businesses who cut their marketing spend and ‘go dark’ during an economic downturn, are those who will struggle as markets start to recover.
The lesson here is clear. While reducing marketing and advertising spend in the short-term may result in initial savings, it will significantly impact your ability to bounce back and generate sustainable profits in the long-term.
To ‘emerge stronger’, take the time to review your existing digital marketing and lead generation strategy, analysing level of spend and resulting ROI. In the areas where you see the greatest return, increase your budget to dominate against industry competitors, particularly at a time where they are likely to have cut their own spend.
If you don’t have an effective digital marketing strategy in place, there is no better time to start. Instead of worrying about costs, think about the fact your potential customers are out there right now looking for your product or service and without any form of marketing, they are more likely to find and buy from your competitors. Reading this should provide clarity: Although marketing will cost money in the short-term, it will generate return in the long-term, enabling you to increase market share.
Sales = Success
So many businesses rely on inbound sales queries, either received via referrals or organic search, and then wonder why they experience ‘slow periods’ with minimal sales leads to work with. Although customers that come via word of mouth are more likely to convert than a ‘cold lead’, the only way you will be able to drive growth and ‘emerge stronger’ is to put a proactive sales strategy in place.
One of the best places to start is with LinkedIn, which enables you to source, contact and engage with your target customers via the click of a button. There is no other tool like it and aside from the time you have to invest to generate engagement, it’s incredibly cost effective.
Remember, the key to a successful sales strategy is diligence, discipline and perseverance and, of course, the implementation of a standalone sales team. Until you reach this point in your business, remain focused and schedule time in your calendar each day to remain on track, driving incremental growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have wreaked havoc across the globe, but the economy isn’t going to improve overnight and you won’t get an influx of sales by sitting still and doing nothing. Too many businesses stood still at the start of lockdown, but to return to or even surpass pre-lockdown revenue, you have to keep pushing forwards, regardless of how challenging it is.
Ultimately, the biggest risk is not taking any risk.