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Ideas to increase footfall in retail

16th October, 2015 No Comments


Moving crowd in a international exhibition

How does everyone else make it look so easy?

Setting up a retail business often means significant regular costs that can make you feel like a cloud is permanently overhead – just waiting to open up and drench you!

This burden puts a great deal of pressure on cash flow and the ability to maintain morale. The following tips will help you focus on the values and benefits offered by your business.

Be extraordinary in your visual presence. Your ability to trigger peoples imagination long enough to stop in their tracks is often enough to get them to step inside.

Make a feature of the window space or free standing signage but ensure to change it regularly with interesting new ideas or attractions relevant to your service/ product.

Get interactive and step outside and greet people. Hand out info packs, free tasters, special offers, setup mini stalls in high profile locations. You could also consider hosting an event to bring people to you.

Call to action and be distinctive in your brand communication. Your audience should understand clearly – and simply – what you stand for and how they can benefit from your offer. Brand and message confusion can cause uncertainty that often results as a repellent. The client journey starts well before they enter your outlet.

Be convenient and make sure people know you exist, have a launch or re-launch. Offer multiple ways to access your offer e.g. mail order; ecommerce; afterhours and weekend opening; trial offers; pre-orders notifications; telephone bookings; delivery; parking for visitors and the list goes on…

Make it easy to buy from you. Provide your clients with payment options to incentivise the purchase and become a closer match to the preferred buying pattern/choice of the consumer.

Try new things and be relevant to the desired audience. Sometimes the most unusual tactics get the desired results but you may need to go through a variety before identifying what works for you.

Select a high traffic location. It sounds obvious but location is king. However the costs can be prohibitive so a creative approach may be needed. For example: a collaborative relationship with other businesses to co-habit a particularly well located shop (temporarily, permanently or even mobile) to retail complimentary products or services, spreading the risk/costs and direct people to your main outlet.

and finally ……

Learn from the best and gain some ideas. You do not need to reinvent the wheel or innovate to succeed. For example, supermarkets and department stores often make use of smell or organics to motivate purchase by triggering a positive emotional reaction. This is done by placing the fruit and veg on entry in a supermarket or perfume and cosmetics stalls near entry doorways in a department store.

Written by Fardad Amirsaeedi, NBV Enterprise Solutions

 

Dawn-in-circle

To blog or not to blog

9th October, 2015 No Comments


Retro typewriter on wooden background

Here I am, five weeks into my new role as Business Development Manager at Cavendish Consortium and I’ve been asked by Davina, our Marketing Manager to write a blog. Given that its a while since I last wrote one, I thought I’d better take a look and see what the current thinking is around blogging. As part of this process I took a look at some others for inspiration, partly useful and partly off putting! There’s that pressure too of being humorous and current –  I just need to get over that though, because part of the reason for blogging is to be current, credible and interesting. So, with a bit of research and some inspiration from current articles, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn articles, and a few newsletters, off I set ….

Here we go, the first of many to come!

“Why do I need to blog?” you might be asking yourself! Well, there are some interesting statistics around why you should blog, two of the most dramatic for me being:-

Marketers who have prioritised blogging are 13% more likely to enjoy positive ROI. This is due to the fact that blogging will increase your online presence and help you get found. A blog is accessible 24/7 thus making it a flexible and efficient means of promotion.

My motivation here is that it is free. Set up your devices (phones, tablets and lap tops) to make it as easy and efficient as possible. Maximise the digital age…take notes on your phone, take some photos on your phone to use for your blog and across your Social Media channels.

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. Customers, partners and stakeholders are all more likely than ever to research through the internet and make a decision about your credibility and forming a relationship with you going forward.

Get ready for this by embracing the digital age, learn from colleagues, share tips and thought. Sign up for social media channels, start following the social media gurus, for those of you that have a teen, or two, in the house get them to give you a master class!

A blog is a really simple cost effective and efficient method of engaging with new contacts and growing and building relationships with current ones. The only cost involved is your time!

So, how do you blog successfully?

Choose your platform – there are a number of free blogging options available. Do some research and decide which is the most appropriate for your business needs and which has positive reviews about it’s ease of use and simplicity. There are also some great free learning resources available, to support you on developing and utilising your platform – YouTube has a number of tutorials which are an amazing method of self-development and help.

Research the available platforms, use a list to critique them against your needs, check out what deals are available.

Be engaging – write about something which you are genuinely interested in so that your blog is authentic and congruent. Your audience will be able to ascertain your interest in the subject as it will be projected in your communications. Also by using images and image rich content this will engage with your audience – 65% of people are visual, so play to the masses. There are a huge number of Instagram and Pinterest followers, this is because they are so visually appealing that they automatically create interest with their followers.

One of the best bogs I have seen was just a series of images, no  words were needed! Not suggesting that you will get away with that, as this blog was an artist’s blog taken as he journeyed Africa and India https://gregorycolbert.com/

But some key visuals definitely add impact!

Be useful – your blog needs to be of use and value to your audience for them to justify reading it and for them to re-engage with you and your blog. Research anything current and of interest to your target audience. Analyse your target audience; Who exactly are they?  What are their demographics? Use this information to inform your research and then ensure that your content is both useful and relevant.

Think about what you would find useful and how you would like to be delivered such information in a light, informal but pertinent way.

Marketing – this can be achieved through blogging by simply engaging with the comments on your blog and by adding comments on to other influential blogger’s pages. Check what the current trends and interests are and then use this research and analysis to write ‘on trend’ content.

Again research who are the key players in your sectoral field or speciality, follow them and comment with useful and insightful notes on their blogs. This will ensure your name is getting out there and spreading across multiple platforms. Be careful about not using it as a hard sell though as that will just create a negative reaction with your readers.

Maintenance – a blog needs to be current and regularly updated. Schedule in your blog posts regularly and at the same time, so that your followers know what to expect and when. This can be done as part of your Social Media strategy which would include having an events calendar for all Social Media outlets. Ensure that you have proofed, spell checked and grammar checked the content so that you maintain credibility!

Proofing is a key one here, I say this from the heart!, in the age of autocorrect and predictive texting, it can be so very easy to make a huge boo-boo, also check that what you are cutting and pasting is going from the correct document to the correct final source!

Be approachable and personable – encourage your followers to comment on your blog thus encouraging interaction and debate. By having positive topic content and contribution you will encourage the same back from your audience. By being approachable and friendly this will encourage your audience to follow you and make positive contribution. Through the use of humour you can also be engaging and encourage a following.

Get some inspiration by checking out your favourite personalities blogs – how do they come across? What is their tone? How do they disperse their humour through the blog? Ensure that your content is not infringing on copyright, if referencing or quoting remember to refer to the source and give credit.

Lastly, enjoy it! Let your personality and humour shine through so that you create positive relationships with your readers.  In ‘Give and Take’ (a hugely insightful read by Adam Grant) he describes how you can spot a ‘Taker’ by their Social Media presence. Be a ‘Giver’ by blogging amazing content which is useful, beneficial and positive in its intent.

So there we are! My first blog for a while and, hopefully, the start of a rekindled enthusiasm!

Practice what you preach and all that, I shall be aiming at one a week – its now in writing, therefore I am committed and it is official. Accountability is a strong motive!

Written by Dawn Musgrave, Business Development Manager, Cavendish Consortium

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Being a nearly perfect business start-up

5th October, 2015 No Comments


pushed business start button over black background, blue light, symbol of new businesses

It is a dream to be perfect, where the sales are consistent, predictable, customers are pleasant and offer endless amounts of praise for your service/products and your working environment is a joy.  Unfortunately there are a few points in every individual’s perfection list which are hard if not impossible to achieve, especially all at once.

Being perfect is subjective, fraught with complexities and challenges which can include difficult personal circumstances, unrealistic set of expectations, poor understanding of the market place, insufficient knowledge of the demand for your work, incomplete assessment of your competitors and a poorly judged pricing policy.
So what can we do about it? Well, being perfect is actually not a very helpful way to gauge business success so let’s turn it into something more business-like as a more practical way to measure it e.g. becoming profitable, resource efficient, gaining a high level of customer satisfaction and a workspace that is fit for purpose.

Becoming a Profitable Business

Usually being profitable means achieving financial gain. This remains true but it is not the full picture. Being profitable can also be measured by broader factors which contribute to feeling successful and happy, these can include achieving emotional satisfaction, improving brand worth, doing social good or achieving intellectual growth. There are also many other indicators which can be seen as gain. These additional indicators can be vital for some people e.g. who have given up on a corporate life to be self-employed or may have been looking for a more rewarding outcome, maybe looking for a balanced lifestyle, achieve their potential or simply to make more money . Measuring profitability properly is key if you hope to achieve perfection and know when you have achieved it. So start by making your own list.

Achieve Resource Efficiency

Yes, resource efficiency. It sounds very serious and probably more appropriate if you were a manufacturing business or big business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Managing and being careful with your resources could make all the difference in achieving business success. Let me explain. If you are unable to charge more for your work or talent because the market place will not pay more, then a significant factor which can help is to keep your resource costs down so you can afford to offer your goods and services in a commercially viable manner. This means ensuring your suppliers are competitively priced themselves and that your use of the supplies is fit for purpose. Clever management of resources or staff goes a long way to achieving profitability and a step closer to your ideal.

Keeping your customers satisfied

As a business you will have to have customers and as such they will wish to be kept happy. I am stating the obvious, however this is something which can be extremely difficult to consistently achieve. Being nearly perfect for most is the best they will ever achieve and they should not feel bad about it as long as a serious attempt is made to do well.
So what is customer satisfaction? Simply put; it is how well you have helped your customer as they journey through your business. It is NOT just related to the purchase/s made. This can include; the manner which customers were engaged, your ability to listen and understand and answer queries, your sincerity and honesty when engaging with you, your knowledge of the topic and product or service, speed which you resolve issues or respond, efficiency of purchasing and delivery or transaction. These may vary from business to business but are the usual suspects. It is important to know what your customers think of you because it is the easiest and cheapest way to improve your business, increase profitability and a total winner for a sustainable business.

Happiness within the workspace

How important is it to be happy in the workplace anyway? Stupid question, it is crucial obviously. However not many achieve it. As an employed person it is a trade-off for a regular and reliable pay cheque which for many is an acceptable reality. Being unsatisfied with the workplace is also one of the top reasons people become self-employed with a view of being in greater control. But all too often this is also compromised by the sentiment that it is the price you pay for doing what you love, but it doesn’t have to be.

So what do we mean by a workspace? It is the place you spend much of your life. It needs to meet your needs but must also meet your customer s needs.

If you are home based then it is important to be physically comfortable, have access to necessary resources and a space you can be productive in. If in commercial premises then the above applies with the addition of being accessible to visitors or deliveries, have a good location to attract footfall if retail, manufacturing or distribution and ensure you are legally compliant e.g. health and safety and insurance. You must have suitable facilities for staff and visitors, styling that has curb appeal and achieves a pleasant client experience and affordable.

If you/ your staff are happy then it will have a positive impact on productivity and quality of output. If your clients are happy it will have a positive impact on your sales, profitability and customer satisfaction. Your workspace needs should be planned carefully and well in advance.

With these actions you are well on your way towards being the perfect business you deserve to be.

Written by Fardad Amirsaeedi, NBV Enterprise Solutions

Starting your business can seem daunting and this article opens the way to understanding the features, benefits and the process.  You can access further support for more in-depth information; training and personalised consultation by contacting the Cavendish Consortium partner covering your region.

 

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