Magic Word Media

Suffolk businesses are innovating due to the pandemic – so should you

The last 19 months have hit businesses hard. While there has been support – Mid Suffolk district council made loans of £5 million for SMEs available via the British Business Bank – entrepreneurs must be creative to stay in the black.  

It’s not as if there aren’t local examples, such as Avi Kniznik who used to work as a wedding photographer. With weddings off the menu, he pivoted to baking, opening up his shop Bagel or Beigel to critical acclaim. Post-pandemic opportunities are out there for local small businesses, but you’ve got to take risks.  

Focus on your lane  

Rebranding can be hard, but sometimes, a lane can appear for you to follow. This is what Avi Kniznik did when he began making baked goods. While the industry isn’t overly exotic in this digital age, he didn’t let that get in the way. Instead, he and his family started selling them the old-fashioned way – door-to-door. By the time the shop launched, the company’s customer base was huge. It has been selling out weekly since June 2020.  

Norfolk’s Gareth Newman went another way. His clothing business had an online presence that benefitted from the extra time people were spending online. For instance, retail sales for internet-based businesses boomed by 45%. Gareth didn’t rest on his laurels, though, and invested in a warehouse to cement the 120% growth Blakely has secured since 2010.  

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Plug the gap between physical & digital  

A feature of the success of Bagel or Beigel and Blakely is the companies’ ability to bridge the gap between physical and remote customers. They each have a solid presence in their communities and on the web, and your business must do the same to attract customers.  

Omnichannel marketing is a popular option because it connects the verticals by ensuring the experiences are the same. Think about banking for a moment. Whether you are with Santander or Barclays, is there anything you can’t do online that you can do in-store? Thanks to apps that let you switch accounts and pay off bills, the normal answer is ‘no’. Alternatively, never underestimate the power of a freebie. Shoppers love to get things for free, and they will travel to physical shops, as Brewdog found out last year after giving away a free drink for everyone who applied online.

Even though losses were inevitable, the brand managed to improve its sales in 2020 and 2021 due to creative thinking such as this. If you need evidence of freebies in action, look no further than the online casino industry, a market that is now worth billions partly down to the success of free bonuses, particularly for slot machines. Betway Casino and LeoVegas Casino are the biggest slot sites, they take it to another level by offering players spins on new releases because they know the tactic is very alluring. Whereas casino operators are mainly online, you can simply tweak your free rewards to centre them around your shop. For instance, sending vouchers via online channels for consumers to use in-store.  

It’s not only UK and global businesses that are using these tricks – Suffolk’s very own local companies are incorporating them into their strategies to great effect. You may be next if you are willing to take a leap of faith. 

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