How to drive footfall to your business 

How to drive footfall to your business 

You’ve got your loan agreed and the money is in the bank.

You’ve set up your business, but now you need to drive the sales into the business.

Unfortunately, much as we would all love it to happen immediately, often it takes a bit of time for people to get to know that you now exist.

Having said that you don’t want to spend lots of money on marketing, that’s completely understandable.

So, here are some tips to help you to drive footfall into your business without breaking the bank.

Google my business:

Google is key to you getting found.  So make sure you’re listed on Google my Business.

What’s more it’s free to use.  And often Google will send you a voucher to use for Advertising.

To make it work even harder, get your customers to give you a review.  That way when people find you online, they can also see what a great service you give.

Social Media:

Running a social media account can be hard work.   Having said that social media is a great alternative to having a website and has no cost associated with it, only your time.

Local noticeboards are great places to start to get your name out.  And if you prove popular, are also a great way of getting people to spread the word about you.

Use the platform that you are familiar with and like using and post updates to on that.  People like to be nosy so think about:

  • Behind the scenes
  • Customer of the week
  • News

Flyers:

Key to getting customers is people knowing that you are there.

Using services such as Vista Print allows you to design and print a leaflet at a reasonable price.

Once printed, it’s worth walking around the local area delivering the leaflets through the doors of residents.

Also give them out at key traffic points, for example.

You can also use them as posters on Parish Noticeboards, in the local library.

Board outside the shop:

Create intrigue or stand out with an A board.

This is particularly important if you are up an alleyway and people don’t automatically pass your establishment.

But it also works to get people to notice you.

Get a blank blackboard one which you can attach posters to, or which you can change depending on what is going on.  You can also use this to highlight why people should come & visit.

Just one thing you need to be aware of.  You may need the local council’s permission to put this board out depending on where you are located.

Local Newspaper:

The local newspaper is always looking for stories.  Why not approach them with yours?  Why have you set up, what you’re wanting to offer the local community.

Use your business plan that was developed for your loan to help you.

Incentivising people to come in and come back:

When you’re starting out, it’s worth adding a small incentive to get people to try you out.  Think about giving value, rather than discounting.

So, offering a side dish with any main meal or similar.  Whatever you decide to use, don’t forget to do the maths to make sure it’s not costing you more than it needs to.

To get people coming back, it’s worth thinking about a simple loyalty card.

Do work out what you can give away without impacting the bottom line.  But a couple of examples are:

  • Buy 5 meals, get a free side
  • For every £10 spent, get a stamp. Once you have 10 stamps, get a free meal.

Whilst we recommend using incentives, they should only be used sparingly.

Running special offers all the time creates an expectation for customers that they don’t have to pay full price.  Something you want to avoid.

So there we go, just a few tips to help you on your way.

If you want any further help, do get in touch as we have several partners who can guide you in the right direction.

The Ultimate To Do List For Successful Business Startups

The Ultimate To Do List For Successful Business Startups

Most business ideas are borne out of a desire to change something; to do it better, faster, cheaper (or more profitably).

The energy around a start-up is always tangible and there’s no lack of enthusiasm when it comes to getting things ready for launch. But, it’s important to take the time to check your idea is sound and to take careful steps to ensure you build your dream and not a nightmare experience.

Building a business is one thing. Creating something that is likely to be successful and sustainable is quite another.

We saw, during crisis-hit 2020, that you never know what’s around the corner and your business needs to be carefully thought through and constructed to weather the storm.

Read on for my Ultimate To-Do List For Successful Business Startups.

  1. Build Solid Foundations

This is a little bit about planning and a little bit about investing. For many entrepreneurs, the idea itself is the key to success and, in their mind, hard work will get them there. However, as with anything new, first impressions count. That’s why branding and messaging is so important.

Don’t skimp at this stage. The temptation to rush something to market may be strong but getting the wrong brand – or a weak look and feel – could well be the difference between success and failure. Jumping into the business world is a big decision. You need to be completely convinced you have a great idea.

Additionally, sound foundations and a deep understanding of why you’re doing what you are will stand you in better stead for meeting future challenges.

Invest in a proper study, work out your avatars, understand your market and consider what your brand needs to be synonymous with. Ask yourself what problems your brand is solving; have you got a unique proposition?

  1. Know Your Network

Often in business, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Who has the expertise that you need to tap into? When it comes to startups, the journey from concept to funding, finding expertise and needing to expand can happen rapidly. If you truly believe your idea has legs, you owe it to yourself to spend some time researching how you will achieve each of these stages in the journey. Ask yourself:

  • What sort of funding do you need and where can you get it?
  • What does your initial team look like? Are they in your network or do you need to find them?
  • Have you got the business-wide experience or acumen to drive launch and expansion quickly or do you need to buy this in?

Experience of significant interruption to normal processes has highlighted the importance of business ecosystems and being well networked to survive. No business is an island and your support network comes into its own when the going gets tough.

  1. Focus on Value

I’ve blogged before about how to create a unique value proposition and this concept is so critical to any business startup, even before the proposition takes shape.

With any new idea, you must be able to determine and communicate what value it is adding to the existing offerings in the market. If you can’t identify this, you will struggle to convince potential customers as to why they should do business with you. It is key for gaining the attention and buy-in of investors but also so important in ensuring growth. To grow and scale in as short a timeframe as possible, you need a frictionless business. One of the trickiest things to overcome (and therefore the biggest generator of friction) is competition and a lack of USP so make this one of the first things you think about alongside your new idea.

  1. Be Specific

It’s often tempting for inspired and enthusiastic entrepreneurs to come up with lots of ideas and continually increase their scope. However, the business world these days is much more of an ecosystem. For true success, it’s better to be specific and excel in one area rather than trying to be the expert across a spectrum of areas. Creating a niche and then building a strong presence within it is critical to success.

There are several areas where it pays to be specific. One is in creating and understanding your ideal client avatar. By being clear about who you want to do business you will be far more likely to attract those people. Saying you want to focus on female entrepreneurs is woolly. Saying you’re keen to work with female entrepreneurs in the finance sector who are aiming to exit their business successfully within 5 years is really going to speak to the right people.

  1. Get comfortable outside your comfort zone

Building a successful business was never meant to be easy and it seems the world in which we operate is becoming more complex. Risks are harder to see and assess, yet still need to be calculated and assessed. As an entrepreneur you are highly likely to need to make judgement calls here and there without necessarily having the clarity that you’d like as to what the future holds.

During the COVID crisis, businesses that were able to pivot quickly – to revive and thrive – were those who knew their brand and purpose inside out and could therefore visualise where they sat in the ‘new normal’.