When we brainstormed this article title a few weeks we could not even imagine the events that have taken place in London and around the country over the last few days.
Our focus was on aggressive moves made your business competitors rather than hoards of rampaging looters running amok on the nation’s high streets. We have now extended the scope of this post to give some practical tips to SME owners affected by the civil disturbances of the last few days. Here are ten practical steps you should take to protect your business; five for each scenario.
1. Check the terms of your business insurance policy and proactively call your insurance company to confirm the extent of your cover.
2. Protect your premises – Board up your premises, fit additional locks, liaise with local police and brief your staff on your revised security measures.
3. Communicate with your customers – if you have a website update content with details of new restricted opening hours or temporary trading conditions. Email your database, telephone your regular customers or write messages on the boards protecting your premises to announce changes you’ve made.
4. Communicate with your partners and other businesses in your local community – By working together rather than in isolation you will achieve much more and ‘business as usual’ will return more quickly.
5. Re-evaluate your stock requirements and err on the side of caution. If you have e-commerce functionality – promote its use more widely.
6. Re-evaluate your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – if a competitor has moved into your trading territory so easily you will most likely need to create a new position for yourself or defend your current positioning if you feel it is sustainable. Remember being the cheapest is not a sustainable USP.
7. Trademark your company name, strapline and logo. The mere fact that you have been trading for a number of months or years as The Sharper Image Photographers Ltd, for example – would not preclude another business from setting up another business with a very similar name. If they own the trademark you would be forced to change your name even if you had started trading first.
8. Increase your marketing – you will not defeat your competitors by being quiet. Amend your marketing plan to include PR, guerrilla marketing – Remind consumers of your credentials – Update content on your website, start blogging if you are not doing so already.
9. Use your happy customers to spread the word – Testimonials and referrals are ‘The Holy Grail’ for businesses. Actively request and collect these and then use them in your marketing materials including your website, Twitter and LinkedIn.
10. Stay positive and upbeat – You have a good product / service and a trading history plus you have learned some valuable lessons along the way. With the right strategy and execution you will survive a new competitive threat.
If you are under attack in either of the scenarios discussed here and would like our assistance – we would be happy to help.
We hope you find this information useful.
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