Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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  1. Later Image

     

    You know what you should be doing and you’ve got the tools and resources to do it. Yet that task sits there on the to do list like a cat at a closed front door, waiting for something to happen.

    Procrastination is one of the biggest causes of failure amongst entrepreneurs and it is mainly driven by fear - fear of failure, of rejection, or even success. Some tasks are put off because you know it will unlock something special and you don’t feel ready for it. Sound familiar?

    Fear of failure and rejection are heart breaking reasons to put things off when you know they will have a positive impact on your business. I used to be crippled by fear. My personality seeks approval at all times and I am an annoying perfectionist. I have managed to overcome procrastination though - and I want to share a tip with you on how to overcome it. Take the task or project you've been putting off; look at the scenario and what the best outcome possible could be and write it down. Do this first. The best outcome from doing this task is xxx. Then look at what a reasonable outcome would look like and write it down. Then what the worse outcome could be. Write it down. Then under the three headings write the points that you can do to either increase their likelihood or mitigate their impact (in the worse case scenario). Don’t look now but you are making a plan - and it will be one you go into with eyes wide open.

    The truth is there just isn’t time for you to procrastinate and stay stagnant with your business. A new website is created every 8 minutes and there are over 2 million more businesses in the UK than the year 2000*. Competition is rife, and free access to social media with limited regulation has meant that there are now a lot more entrants to your field. You don’t have the luxury of having barriers to market in the same way that businesses could be protected from in the 90s. The reality is someone can have a legitimate business set up in under 48 hours and be trading - so you have to be on your game, showing up every day.

    What is key to remember is what makes you you - and what will make you one of the few businesses that stands the test of time (currently 95% of all new start ups fail in their first year). Here’s a few things to think about:

    People buy from people. You are not Amazon and you should not try to be. Look to attract your ideal audience, engage with them and get them to understand your value and build trust in your brand. Trust makes up over 50% of the human emotions associated with making a purchasing decision. Do people trust you and your business or do they not know about you because you are not making yourself visible?

    Know that you are your brand. Your tone of voice, be that verbal, physical or digital is the voice of your business and you need to be true to yourself and your brand if you are going to succeed. Imitating others or copying their style because you think it’s trendier or more successful will look and sound inauthentic and people won’t buy from you. Trust me, they are only showing you the highlight reel anyway. Everyone is challenged on their business, it’s as Gary Vee says - some are just better at hiding it than others.

    Do what you are good at and get others to do what you are not good at. If you suck at SEO then get help - if you can’t manage your books for toffee (like me!!) then get yourself some support. “I just can’t afford it!” I hear you cry. Well hear this - if you can’t afford to invest in the essential infrastructure of your business then you need to revisit your business plan (or perhaps that’s the problem that you haven’t got a valid plan?!). Just because you like making stuff and being creative does not make buying more stock (that you are not selling because you are not good at marketing) a bigger priority. I’ve seen loads of small businesses fail because they keep trying to introduce new things rather than focussing on the things that do sell and doing it well. I’ve also seen some awful attempts at trying to be a jack of all trades because “I can’t afford it” and it undermines the quality and authenticity of the brand which results in it failing to thrive.

    Find an accountability buddy or mentor that is going to challenge your procrastination. Someone you know and trust but do not love. This person needs to be able to push your buttons and you listen. They should not become your agony aunt, but they should be able to give you the nudge you need to finally get that branding sorted (or whatever task you’ve been procrastinating about).

    Give it time. We live in a world where everyone expects to be an overnight sensation and believe me in 99.9% of cases this just isn’t possible! Starting and growing a successful business with a strong brand identity and prevalent online presence takes time and it takes hard graft. Worsley Creative is not even one yet and I know I have such a long way to go to get it seen as an established business consultancy and design studio. I’m not for quitting any time soon though (even though an easier life does call to me sometimes because I’m flipping human and get exhausted and emotional sometimes too).

    So in summary - its time to get shit done. What have you been putting off that you know you really should tackle?!

     

    Pamela Rae-Welsh is the owner and founder of Worsley Creative, a digital design studio based in Greater Manchester. Specialising in online visibility and branding, Pamela has helped over 50 businesses with improving their online presence and brand identity.

  2. fairy advert
     
     
     
    Do you remember the days when marketing was really straightforward? Those days when promoting a product or service relied heavily on printed materials - or if you were one of the big boys then a TV advert, radio ad or motorway billboard may have been your promotional medium of choice.
     
    Advertising was simple - you explained the product and what it did. Ronseal made a giant (and successful) campaign out of it. Branding was merely a way of distinguishing your Pledge polish to your Mr Shine (albeit through augmenting dream lifestyles) and although brands were very important (mild green fairy liquid anyone?) they were not the all encompassing business identifiers that they have evolved to be now.
     
    Back then small businesses could promote themselves via leaflets, local newspaper adverts and those golden tomes that everyone revered - the Yellow Pages! Can you remember as a kid the yellow pages being beside or underneath the phone in the hallway and if the boiler went on the blink, your parents leafing through trying to find someone with a name and number that sounded reliable to come out and fix it so you could Dad could take his shower? It was a choice between Bob Smith and Mick Price, and ooh how to choose.
     
    Fast forward to 2019 and the landscape for marketing a business, be it small or juggernaut is dramatically different. It’s not just that the mediums have changed with digital marketing spend now the predominant budget buster for all businesses, but the real shift has been towards content marketing. Content marketing is the process of using materials (videos, text and images) to convery messages which are not directly about promoting a product or service. The effect is submilinal - creating an interest in the business without the "hard sell". So how, as small business owners can you harness the power of content marketing for your business, in a world where influencers can be paid up to $200k for a post and social media algorithms seem intent on relinquishing you to the corners of doom?
     
    To make the concept of content marketing for small businesses as simple as possible I’ve created the TIME system, and you can use this to make a plan for your marketing strategy that will set you apart from your competitors.
     
    T = Teach
     
    One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting people involved in your business is to teach them something. How to videos, step by step guides and handy tips which will make their life easier or help them achieve their goals will get you a following and gain you interest in your business. Mrs Hinch has made a lifelong career off of the back of this, and companies like Beardbrand have grown exponentially from creating content using this approach.
     
    I = Inspire
     
    Simply telling people what your product or service does just doesn’t wash anymore. A brand represents more than just a logo - it is the overall manifestation of that companies presence in the world - it’s policies, procedures and values are now just as important to consumers as the product or service. Why? Because they have millions of others to choose from, so the brand has to be more than just the physical.
     
    As a small business your content needs to inspire your audience to action. Whether that’s because you create inspirational blogs about interiors if you are home wares business, or it demonstrate the effects of global warming on the planet to raise awareness as part of your eco commitment (for eco-conscious businesses). The top tip here however is consistency. Become known for your posts on environmental issues, or gain a reputation for highlighting a particular style or issue. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades because it won’t work. BrambleSky give daily inspiration on wedding cakes and floristry in their content strategy - it just so happens that all of the cakes and flowers are featured on BrambleSky products!
     
    M = Movement
     
    Getting something to go “viral” is like the holy grail for modern marketers, but it does mean that you run the risk of being a flash in the pan or a one hit wonder.
     
    Building a movement is the process of using your content strategy to get people believing in your ethos and style. The brand MVMT are doing this with their consistent approach to getting their watches photographed in wanderlust places - creating the ethos of a brand linked with travel and luxury lifestyles. This is an approach which small businesses can use to gain their own momentum and movement. Worsley Gin have started this with their “Worsley on Tour” instastories campaign - people take their mini Worsley Gin bottles on holiday and picture them in funny or beautiful locations.
     
    E = Energy
     
    The best content marketing strategies have an energy about them that creates a lasting impression. Brands which are successfully building their sales are focussing on the energy that they want to create with their audience and pump all of their own energy into developing the ethos.
     
    As a small business you need to think about what energy you want to build with your audience... is it comfort (like Cadbury), is it urgency (like Nurofen) or is it indulgence (like Magnum or Secret Escapes) whatever the energy you want to create, take a look at your content approach and see if it’s making those waves?
     
    As for me, the energy and movement I’m trying to build is one of purpose and empowerment. I want small businesses to feel like they are not lost in a sea of conglomerates and that you can build your businesses without a degree in programming or Kylie Jenner pretending to like your stuff.
     
    What’s your movement?
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Pamela Rae-Welsh is the owner and founder of Worsley Creative, a digital design studio based in Greater Manchester. Specialising in online visibility and branding, Pamela has helped over 50 businesses with improving their overall brand identity.