Surprises are welcome if they are pleasant ones. Tom Hanks in Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. This ethos could well be the mantra for small businesses as unpleasant and unwelcome surprises can blindside.
Even in the most buoyant of times with great profitable clients and loyal staff, unforeseen situations can shake the boat off the ocean. Successful times can seem infinite in a cloud of confidence that staff and clients remain stable.
It’s during these cosy times that businesses become complacent taking their foot off the marketing and employer pedal. And SMEs who have never even marketed in the past will be particularly vulnerable and out in the cold. Relying only on word of mouth and existing clients can bite hard.
Every business loses clients. Statistics rate it between 6 – 25% pa with a percentage of that being of no direct fault of the business. It may result from death, injury, off-shoring, clients going bankrupt or downgrading, industry changes, liquidations, Board changes, government legislation changes and more.
Likewise, unexpected staff turnover blindsides even the best of employers. Recent AHRI turnover reports indicates staff turnover sits at an average 18 per cent pa.
There are circumstances of staff loss that will be totally unforeseen, it may be injury or death (staff or family members), relocation, career pivots, family issues, A myriad of reasons both unforeseen that shake the ship, alongside a host of other issues and non-performance.
Protecting against the blindsides
It is essential to have a platform of attraction to cushion the impact of unexpected staff or client losses. It is easier to say “thank you but I don’t have capacity right now” and have a ready network of people who would love to work with you. Stress and fear result in knee jerk solutions and poor decision-making outcomes.
Client attraction tips
- LinkedIn is an essential part of business networking, development and awareness. Ensure your personal profile and company pages are informative, inspiring and authentic. Share high-quality content that educates and raises your value proposition.
- Public Relations is an underutilised tool which builds authority and credibility. Media forms a core focus of PR and niche media is an excellent platform to maintain awareness.
- Events/Networking/Speaking: attending and even sponsoring events to keep your brand top of mind along with speaking gigs to relevant audiences.
- Digital and SEO: keep the heat on Google, content ranking and digital campaigns. Update your website regularly and social media links…
- Personal Branding: share who the real people are behind the business…it’s more important than ever in a world of mistrust to be seen.
Staff attraction tips
One of the biggest issues for SMEs is the talent scramble with bigger brands and organisations. SMEs must work extra hard to attract great staff.
- Social Media and PR: develop a strategy to showcase the great times in your workplace, the vibe of your business and positive team. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Websites, Industry Group channels
- Industry talent bank: build up a bank of great conversations and industry and smart non-industry people.
- Current employees: encourage them to share their workplace experiences on their social media platforms and incentivise introductions.
Many businesses are on a growth path and some wish to maintain current levels. But wherever you ride you can be blindsided.
Don’t ever let your foot off the pedals as it’s a business insurance that ensures ongoing success and peace of mind.
Sue Parker, Founder, DARE Group Australia
DARE Group Australia is a valued content partner of Inside Small Business