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TRY THESE TOP 10 DISRUPTIVE SME BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES FOR 2022

Every New Year I have always checked for the top business growth tips and trends.

This year I have decided to present my own because we the business community are still living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, fear, transformation, deception, confusion, and outright disruption of the old ways of doing business.

I am Diane Shawe founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd (which I gave birth to during the first lockdown) and author of ‘Answer 77 Questions about your business to avoid business failure’ shares her top small business growth strategies for the year ahead.

2021 has been a year of rapid transformation across all industries as the business community has dealt with shifting customer buying activities and economic challenges, as well as mitigating hot-button issues such as the pandemic and people’s changing conception of work life balance. In a year filled with change, there are some trends which are going to be firmly fixed into 2022 that you and your business should seriously build into your growth plans.

To lead your business in the right direction as we head into 2022, here are my humble 10 small business growth strategies.[

1. Prioritise your business culture

Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been dealing with “The Great Resignation” as workers are quitting their jobs at record-high rates. One of the reasons for this is that people are changing their definitions of what they consider a healthy work-life balance and what they want in a company culture.

“The pandemic has shifted the way people incorporate work into their life, whether it’s moving to another county for cheaper housing or not going into the office every day and getting the opportunity to do remote or hybrid work,” Diane states.

Diane goes on further to state that “Not all solutions are made equal, and culture is now a part of that. “A big factor for employees, in addition to salary and benefits, is culture, so have a culture strategy in place.”

2. Consider hiring more freelance workers

The number of gig workers, freelancers and contractors has grown exponentially over the last few years and they make up a large portion of workers within the current market.

“Small business owners will now be able to bring in more specialised freelance workers to carry out tasks without having to deal with the hiring and training costs that are often associated with recruiting a full-time employee,” said Diane. “With the importance of being agile in today’s economic environment … as well as the rise of remote work, … skilled outsource

Peopleperhour.com and fiverr.com are great places to start.

3. Work with micro-influencers

While small businesses may be competing against larger businesses to work with online influencers, collaborating with micro-influencers is an option to consider.

“As influencer marketing is becoming more popular than ever… micro-influencers are going to be the best option for small businesses because they don’t cost as much and they are more open to collaborating with small businesses too,” explained Diane. “With a couple of these small influencers helping [your business] reach specific audiences, growth will not be an impossible feat in 2022.”

4. Leverage the way you supply your products and services.

Distributors and businesses across the country dealt with supply chain issues with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic disruptions. In 2022, businesses must be aware of scarcities within the supply chain and get ahead of manufacturing and transportation challenges by working collaboratively with their suppliers.

Checkout companies like Amazon who can provide a fulfillment service for your orders. Consider moving to a drop shipping manufacturer or warehouse so as to reduce your cash investment in slow moving stock.

5. Educate client and  partners your new paradigms

It’s important to inform your clients and partners about changes you’re making to better benefit your business across a shifting economic landscape. If the changes don’t land, it may be time to consider other options,

Many businesses are painfully aware how much the talent pool has changed. Working with potential employees, client partners to educate them on the new management styles needed, increased compensation packages and other aspects of recruitment and retention is very important.

6. Prepare for potential contracting opportunities

Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to research by iwoca – one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.

Analysis of Companies House data reveals that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32% from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.

London dominates list of areas to start a business

iwoca’s Small Business HotSpots UK 2021 reveals that Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than four and a half new firms every hour.

The second largest number of new businesses were registered in Hackney (13,646) followed by 10,151 in Westminster. London’s local authorities make up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504 businesses.

London saw over one third of the new registrations with 120,338, followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640). The capital city also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 of 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).

Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO and co-founder, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year, they are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.

“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cashflow. At iwoca we turn cashflow into a superpower enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”-

Why is such a growth happening?

A survey I read stated that 39% of people in current jobs are going to quit within the next 12 months, which is not great for an employer, but suggests a start of a business revolution is happening.

What advice would I give to somebody looking to start a business?

There is never a good time to do it and you just must go for it.  It’s all encompassing and it’s a phenomenon. I just decided to go for it in 2000 and have never looked back. However you can be clever about it though – can you cut down your hours in your current role or could you work part-time initially? Explore your options wisely.

7. Get creative on sales and marketing opportunities

The digital marketing landscape has become increasingly challenging due to congestion and evolving regulations, said Diane Shawe of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd

“This is forcing many traditionally digital companies to explore other sales channels and marketing strategies,” she said.

To mitigate these challenges, Shawe said her company is getting creative by helping other companies engage with A.I. Conversational Marketing Technologies with its engaging methods.

8. Widen your business’s online footprint

Small businesses must adapt and be “practical” when it comes to sales, as consumers continue to favor online and mobile shopping.

“Businesses need to widen their online footprint to gain a significant proportion of customers from the current market,” said Diane. “A simple way to sell products is to have a sellers account on your popular social media or estore platforms.  To sell services, … list [your company] on freelance and contract websites.” Also create a blog and YouTube website for reviewing products, testimonials, advice and tips. Become the expert in your field. Entry competitions, exhibitions, network meetings.

9. Learn video SEO strategies to rank higher on search engines

Video marketing has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy with the rise of live videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s estimated that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all consumer traffic. That’s why video SEO should be a top priority for businesses in 2022.

“Small businesses that incorporate short-form videos into their website posts will see more organic traffic coming from search engines,” explained Gilmour. “As TikTok continues to grow, search engine algorithms will shift to articles and posts that include short-form videos. Short-form videos from TikTok and YouTube may even become the main point of ‘how to’ searches.”

10. Utilise partnership marketing to reach a broader audience

Partnership marketing is a strategic collaboration that gives you and your partner company a chance to reach a wider audience together, explained Diane Shawe, founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd.

“Collaboration with another company can aid in the development of better marketing initiatives that benefit both parties, If your target clients are similar, you may pool your resources to better your marketing techniques, build your brands and expand your audience reach.”

Start to use smart customer acquisition techniques such as collaborating with discount giants such as wowcher, groupon or discount voucher websites to help get your business name, brand or services directly into potential customers mobile.

“Another example, if a consumer purchases a product from you, you can provide a discount coupon that they can use to purchase discounted products from your business partner,” said Diane. “Co-branding of a product or project can also boost both companies’ marketing power.”

Virtual Speedy Services Ltd is set up to provide a suite of services for Small and Medium size businesses to help them efficiently and quickly Setup or expand their business. Our core service is A.I technology by designing conversational marketing chatbots to generate quality business leads or engage online visitors in real time.   We populate and generate impressive business plan and 5 years projections for focus, raising finance along with smart eCommerce website, streamlined social media tools and an effective google verified website. We think of ourselves as your Virtual Personal Assistance who will help streamline your business development and growth without all the drama.

Let’s have a chat https://try-chatbots.virtualspeedyservices.uk

How to get the self-isolation grant: Who can apply for £500 Covid support payment and when you need to isolate

As Covid-19 infections continue to rise, more and more people will receive pings from NHS Test and Trace and be subject to self-isolation measures in the coming weeks.

Cases reached a record high since the pandemic began, totalling in over 90,000 new infections on Thursday 16 December.

With isolation rules creating disruptions to everyday life, those on low incomes are entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

The freshest exclusives and sharpest analysis, curated for your inbox

Here’s everything you need to know about whether you’re eligible and how to claim the one-off payment.

What are the isolation rules?

If you test positive for Covid-19, you are legally obliged to self-isolate for a total of 10 days.

The period begins from the day you felt symptoms – whether they be mild of strong. If you do not feel any symptoms, however, the isolation period begins from the day you got tested.

Upon entering your positive test result into the Covid-19 app, you will be advised on which date to isolate until and which you are legally obliged to follow. You will also receive a call or text from NHS Test and Trace if you do not have access to the app.

As part of the measures introduced under Plan B, self-isolation is also required to those notified as coming into contact with people who tested positive for Coronavirus. In these instances, you must also isolate for 10 days.

However, those who are double vaccinated and have been notified as coming into contact with someone infected by Covid-19, are exempt from self-isolation rules providing they take daily lateral flow tests for 7 days.

If at any point you test positive during the 7 day period, you will need to isolate from the day you received the positive result.

How can I claim financial support under the Test and Trace support payment scheme?

You might be able to get a payment of £500 to support you during self-isolation if you live in England and meet all the following criteria:

  • You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, either because you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • You’ve responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your close recent contacts
  • You’re employed or self-employed
  • You’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • You’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

If you’re not on one of these benefits, you might still be able to apply for a £500 discretionary payment if all the following apply:

  • You meet all the other criteria listed above
  • You’re on a low income
  • You will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating

What if my child has been told to self-isolate?

If you have not contracted Covid-19 but are the parent or guardian of a child who is subject to self-isolation measures, you could be be eligible for the payment, if the following apply:

  • You’re the parent or guardian of a child in your household who is self-isolating, and you need to take time off work to care for them
  • Your child is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting
  • You’re unable to work from home and will lose income because you have to care for your child while they are self-isolating
  • You meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment

How can I apply for the payment?

If you are eligible, you can apply through your local council.

You can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your, or your child’s self-isolation period.

For the application, you will need to provide the following:

  • An NHS Test and Trace Account ID, sometimes referred to as a CTAS number. If you test positive for Covid-19, or are told to self-isolate by contact tracers, you will be provided with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID
  • A bank statement
  • Proof of employment or, if you’re self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services that cannot be undertaken without social contact

If applying for your child, you will need to input your child’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID or proof of communication from their education or childcare setting telling them to self-isolate.

What are the rules in self-isolation?

NHS Test and Trace will advise on when your isolation period starts and ends, but it typically lasts 10 days from the day contact was made.

Unless you are exempt it is illegal to not self-isolate if you have been contacted and you could be fined if you do not obide the rules.

You should not leave your home for any reason when you are self isolating.

  • Do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • Do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • Do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

Forging a new type of career

A Dudley Top Hair Extensions Salon Reaches Finalists for the Inaugural Great British Hair & Beauty Awards 2021

Worthy contenders of the UK get shortlisted in the first ever Great British Hair & Beauty Awards 2021 after the Lockdown

HARD WORK REALLY PAYS OFF STATES DIANE SHAWE

Following the success of The Hair & Beauty Awards in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, Creative Oceanic are proud to present The Great British Hair & Beauty Awards.

The Great British Hair and Beauty Awards 2021 are an exclusive celebration of the hair and beauty gurus that operate in this country. Following the overwhelming response from the public and the phenomenal number of nominations received, the full list with finalists from the South of the UK has now been revealed.

The glamorous ceremony will take place in November 2021 and will celebrate professionals known for their perfection that have gone above and beyond in the salon and made a real difference in the industry with their excellent services.

Diane Shawe owner of Need a Hair Makeover Hair Extensions & Hairloss Specialist Salon states “To be named as a finalist highlights how hardwork and commitment can pay off. With hundreds of capable candidates for each category and a panel of judges looking at the finer details, just to make the shortlist is an outstanding achievement. What also makes it more important is the fact that we have also had to deal with a pandemic and closure.”

The elegant event seeks to acknowledge and honour the talented individuals, teams and salons, whose sole aim is to provide their customers with innovative services and treatments that really work, improving their appearance and confidence.

Top beauticians, hair extensions consultants, hairstylists, freelancers and barbers amongst others will gather together to celebrate their achievements and their efforts that put in daily to leave their customers with the best of impressions. The black-tie ceremony promises to be one of the most memorable celebrations in the industry’s calendar this year, with many accolades ready to be presented to the deserving winners.

A spokesperson for The Great British Hair and Beauty Awards, said:  “We would like to thank the public for their participation in our nomination process.

The Hair and Beauty Awards have become a stable event over the years and aim to showcase those who have shown great commitment, professionalism, creativity and care for the client. Therefore we are so excited to host the inaugural Great British Hair & Beauty Awards 2021.

Diane goes on further to state that “No matter who you are, your background, culture, age or gender, when you have problems with your hair, you want a non invasive quick solution to the problem which can help with ones own self esteem when you feel at your most vunerable. Even those who just simple want a makeover for a wedding, special occasion, work or for personal reasons can be helped”

The Hair and Beauty Awards state that “We hope to provide a platform to thank and appreciate the work of the professionals who have pushed the boundaries in a difficult time and had the continuous support of their customers.

“We wish all the finalists the best of luck.”

The finalists of The 1st ever Great British Hair and Beauty Awards 2021 – Volume 1 in Hair Extensions Category are:

West Midlands

Mane Goddess (Nuneaton)

Hair Fusion Extensions (Oldbury)

Too Perfect Hair Extensions (Walsall)

Hairs and Graces Extensions (Birmingham)

Need a Hair Makeover Hair Extension (Dudley)

Alexander James Hair and Beauty (Halesowen)

Colabella Unisex Hair Salon.. (Bilston)

Source https://creativeoceanicblog.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/finalists-of-the-inaugural-great-british-hair-beauty-awards-2022-south-are-announced/

https://g.page/needahairmakeover