Confidence Breeds Confidence

It was disappointing, but not surprising, that companies in the South East have reported lower confidence in their own business prospects, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. What can we do to turn this around given the challenging economic climate?

Confidence breeds confidence, just like success breeds success. The survey suggests businesses may have identified evolving their offer (38%) and diversifying into new markets (29%) as their growth priorities. The question is, how are they going to achieve that?

To my mind, the answer is marketing – a theme covered in this edition of South East Business. Apologies for my slightly Cummins-esque language, but “You can’t polish a turd”. Ultimately, you need a good product, meeting a known need with the ability to produce and distribute it at a profit, and tell people about it. However, without marketing, whatever you do, you’ll never achieve your company’s full potential.

 Marketing is essential when it comes to evolving what you offer your customers or when you are looking to diversify into new markets. The ’telling people about what you do’ can often be the hardest bit for many business owners and managers, who are often too close to or whose strengths often lie in developing the product in the first place.

As with all aspects of business, it all starts with having a plan with clear objectives, a timescale for achieving them, an understanding of your target market, and then the actions that’ll help you get there.

Underpinning successful marketing is consistency of message, branding and the channels used to communicate them, regardless of what form it takes – whether digitally, in print or outdoor.

Any company that fails to communicate with its marketplace, its customers and its staff will inevitably fail – especially when competitors enter its space. Reputations won’t nurture, build and protect themselves. Sales then won’t be generated and repeated on the same scale, and that means you won’t grow.

Some of your existing customers could also
be your biggest under-used marketing assets.
Do your prospective clients know the quality of people who already buy your products? If not, and you’re allowed to say, then why not ask for a testimonial, or do a case study on how you’ve helped their business?

You must also consider communications when it comes to handling a crisis before one unfolds
as it’s critical in terms of managing the situation as it unfolds and maintaining the trust of your customers, peers and staff in your business.
If you fail to plan for the worst, then how can
you handle that moment if it arrives? Make sure there’s a crisis communication plan as part of your business continuity procedures.

Positive and proactive communications is all about securing a competitive advantage. In the current climate, with many companies struggling to maintain their confidence, now is the time to invest in communications through your branding, messaging and public relations. Let’s remain confident as we look towards 2024.

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