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Covid Business Advice

Survive & Even Prosper In The Covid Crisis
For Small Business Owners
With A Business SOS Call

These are extraordinary times, almost unimaginable a few months ago and they present unique challenges for owners of small businesses.

I’d like to help you, if I can.

There’s no magic wand that will make the virus go away but I can help you to think through your options and search for creative ideas that can make the key difference as to whether your business survives or even prospers in the crisis.

This will be a devastating time for some but it will create opportunities for others, provided you’re prepared.

If you’re struggling, I urge you to take action quickly and get the help you need.

“Business failures are like smouldering fires: the earlier they are detected, the easier they are to deal with because you have more time and resources to devote to dealing with the problem. The longer you delay, the more the fire takes hold, the stronger it burns, the more resources it consumes and the less you have to fight with.”
Mark Blayney, Turning A Business Around

I help business owners who are stuck get unstuck.

My process starts with what I call a Business SOS session where the SOS stands for Second Opinion Strategy.

I’m sure you’ve been wracking your brain for ideas on what you can do. While your mind is buzzing around and around in a circle, it’s hard to see other viable options that may be better than what you’ve already come up with..

I love it when clients say to me “That’s so obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Nothing too complicated. You want simple ideas you can implement, not complicated concepts you can’t.

Incidentally, it’s harder for you and easier for an independent outsider because you are too close to your business and your perception of your business reality is too tightly defined in your mind. That makes it difficult to take a step back and see the “helicopter view”

Success is a virtuous circle of how you feel, how you think, what you do and how well you do it and the results you produce.

In times of difficulty, it become a vicious circle. People get frustrated, their thinking gets muddled or they make snap decisions without thinking through the implications. This leads them to doing things that don’t help solve the problem at its source or procrastinating and then not taking action. Results worsen.

If you’ve found yourself trapped in that kind of vicious circle, you need to break out of it quickly by doing something you don’t normally do. I have two solutions:

  • Business coaching focuses on changing or clarifying your thinking about your business, its issues and problems and what you can do it fix them.It can also help you to learn new skills.
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  • Business advice is more direct as it effectively answers the questions “What do you think I should do in this situation?” or “Do these plans sound sensible in my circumstances? Can you see any flaws or areas where I can improve my chances of success?”

These draw on two different fundamentals of success in business.

First you probably need to take the time to think more deeply about your business. Unless you are one of the very rare exceptions, I believe the vast majority of people use surface-level thinking that’s easy and quick but doesn’t create breakthrough solutions instead of deep thinking that helps to set your business apart from your competitors, delivers greater value for your customers and finds and cures root causes. This can be done through coaching by answering key questions and being challenged on your answers so that you dig deeper into your mind and business. Does that make sense?

The second fundamental principle is that you can and should learn from others and what they did right and wrong rather than starting from scratch. It’s common-sense yet some people are remarkably reluctant to turn to others for ideas and advice. There are countless business books and I’ve tried to help you to find the best business books.

My approach varies between advice and coaching depending on what you need at the time so you gain clarity and confidence in how you’re thinking and what you plan to do.

You know your business in great detail and your profession, trade or industry. I know a lot of general business principles and we can do great things if we combine our knowledge.

“A game plan can do wonders for your state of mind. My clients usually spring to life once I present a road map with a positive, specific route. Our map may change a dozen times, but we have forward movement, not the helplessness that comes from standing still, not knowing how to proceed.”
Arnold Goldstein in his book Turnaround – (Revised Edition)

Two Options For Business SOS Sessions

  • A 30 minute session which is FREE to qualifying business owners based in the UK.
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  • A 2 hour version where there is a £60 fee payable to book and a balance to pay when you are happy with the work we have done together. This comes with a money-back guarantee if you don’t feel I have delivered value and a free follow-up session if you have committed to paying the balance of the fee.

Those links take you to my explanations for how it works so you can decide which feels most suitable for you. This is a genuine coaching and advice session and NOT a disguised selling call. I am semi-retired on health grounds and can only work with one main client a day. I don’t even talk about my services unless you ask.

I tell you more about me further down the page, but first let’s look at how I can help with the Covid crisis and what I can’t do.

How I Can Help With The Covid Crisis

My core skills are in marketing, strategy and financial management.

I have the mind of a finance director (always thinking about profit and cash flow) but the heart of a marketer, focused on improving the value a business creates for its customers and capturing a fair share of it.

If you need help with employment issues, health and safety matters and complying with relevant legislation then, I’m not the right person.

My thoughts at the moment are focused on two issues:

  1. Helping you to manage your current cash flow issues (survive)
  2. helping you to improve your future cash flow and profitability (prosper)

On the first option, I’ll teach you a simple process for looking at your cash flow for the next few weeks and months ahead. A key trick is not to get stuck and overwhelmed by too much detail.

On the second, we’ll look at how the Covid crisis has affected your business using my improvement process summarised in the Six Step Profit Formula report. Either click over on the link and enter your name and email details or, if you email me about a Business SOS call, I’ll send you a copy.

I’ll briefly explain the six steps:

  1. Find your starving crowd – This is about making sure that you have a viable market (niche) where there are plenty of potential customers who really want or need what you sell.
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  2. Create your irresistible promise – How you persuade a prospective customer to buy from you rather than from a competitor. This is what you say in your marketing and sales communications.
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  3. Get your irresistible promise in front of the eyes and ears of your starving crowd – This makes sure that your targeted customers know about your business and what you can offer. This is about the marketing media you use to promote your message.
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  4. Deliver on your promise with a great customer experience – This is the key step to releasing the power of the next two steps which make a huge impact on profitability.
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  5. Sell them a second course and then a second meal – It generally costs a lot of time and money to create a customer and the big profits flow through on the sales made to a customer after the first one. Most great businesses excel at building long term customer relationships.
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  6. Encourage your customers to recommend you to other potential customers – Referrals and recommendations are a great way for any business to grow but even happy customers are usually passive and don;t give the recommendations they could.

Can you see how this helps to break down the problem of not enough sales revenue and profit and then guides you towards taking appropriate steps to improve?

We will need to adapt these through a special Covid lens to make sure that we recognise the “new normal” that will emerge out of the crisis. As a person who has been “shielded”, I might be able to give you new insights in how you can help the most vulnerable.

One of these six steps is likely to be your major constraint and it’s where we need to focus our attention and where you will need to prioritise your actions. It may well be best if we start at number 5, getting more sales from your current (and past) customers that starting at the more strategic questions at the start.

Please click to the page that gives more details on the Business SOS you’d like to choose:

Meet Paul Simister

I’m a business coach, advisor and mentor.

I give you the type of intervention you need, when you need it rather than trying to pigeonhole you into a particular type of service.

Sometimes you might need advice, other times training on how to do something. I might challenge your thinking by asking you to answer questions that you’ve been avoiding, or hold you to account on actions you’ve agreed to do. I might be a much needed sounding board because being the owner of a business can be very lonely. In fact, it can all happen in the one call. All the time I will be helping you to do better and encouraging you forward.

I’ve been a coach, trainer, consultant, mentor and interim manager since I became self employed in 1995 but since 2009 my activities have been severely restricted by health problems.

These days I’m much healthier than I have been although I work with no more than four clients a week, usually just the one main session a day.

This means my clients, including one-off interventions like the Business SOS, are special to me and not just a small part of a much busier week.

I’m a qualified Chartered Accountant, I have a Master of Business Administration degree and in my younger days, I worked as the finance and commercial director for a manufacturing and distribution business. Since 1995, I’ve worked with many different kinds of business, ranging from the head offices of small PLCs to subsidiaries of big groups and with owner-managed businesses all the way down to one-man-bands (just like me).

My expertise lies in marketing and strategy combined with practical finance and process improvement. In summarising what makes me different from other business coaches and advisors, it’s because…

I have the mind of a finance director (always thinking about profit and cash flow) but the heart of a marketer, focused on improving the value the business creates for its customers and capturing a fair share of it.

If you want technical, tax, legal, or IT advice then I’m not the right person for you.Nor am I an expert in managing people. That side of my coaching support is based on an excellent book called “Traction” by Gino Wickman. It’s a great system that works really well.

Here is a link to find out more about me and my history.

Please click to the page that gives more details on the Business SOS you’d like to choose:

Email to me at paul@businessdevelopmentadvice.com explaining why you feel stuck and that you’d like a Business SOS. Please make it clear which version you feel is most appropriate for you, the 30 minute, free version or the two hour version where you have to pay a small fee in advance.

I’ve put together a short health check/questionnaire recognising the unusual situation we find ourselves in at the moment.

covid-19 health check pdf version

If you’d prefer a version in Word or pdf, please mention it in your email and I’ll send it to you. Your replies are confidential.

Not Ready To Talk?

Here are the turnaround books I particularly recommend:

Turning a Business Around: How to Spot the Warning Signs and Ensure a Business Stays Healthy by Mark Blayney – My ReviewAmazon.co.uk

Hope Won’t Pay the Wages: How to deal with the personal impact of a struggling business by Andrew R Miller – A great help for struggling business owners. My ReviewAmazon.co.uk

The Small Business Turnaround Guide: Take Your Business from Troubled to Triumphant by Sandy Steinman – A very good book for helping under performing businesses although more operational than strategic. My ReviewAmazon.co.uk