Savvy business leaders should make a business plan, find a business coach and also use free resources and platforms available to them to emerge strongly from the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on the sixth episode of Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online on Thursday morning, serial entrepreneur and Lisnic co-founder Lisa Teh singled out two social media platforms that businesses should have a presence on.
And, while one is what you might expect, the other may come as a surprise: LinkedIn and TikTok.
“I would highly recommend all the business owners out there, if you're not currently on LinkedIn, get active on the platform. It's the most amazing tool for actually doing lead generation and getting your business out there,” Teh said.
Previous episode of YFBC: Experts reveal 7 ways to hack your super during coronavirus
Social media platforms can be split into two types: ‘content deficit’ and ‘content saturated’. Major social media giants like Instagram and Facebook fall into the latter category, where there is much more content than users, leaving businesses vying with swathes of other posts for customers’ attention.
Meanwhile, platforms like Linkedin and TikTok actually have more users than content, so the content organically reaches a higher volume of people.
Better yet, it’s free.
“If you're thinking about marketing at the moment and you don't have a lot of budget, get on platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok because you'll actually get more for your content than you're putting out, and you don't even need to spend money actually doing that,” Teh said.
Co-panellist and business coach Suzzanne Laidlaw added that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see results.
“Start with the stuff that's free first; get active on that. Do what you can with what is available, you don't need a massive project to start to be active if you’re your startup or something like that.”
Here are some of Teh and Laidlaw’s top tips for small businesses wanting to survive the Covid-19 crisis:
What’s your plan?
According to Laidlaw, setting out a vision for the future is what sets successful business owners apart.
Laidlaw has spoken to people who have been in business for a decade or more, and would ask the following questions: ‘Where are you going? What's your model? Who's your target market?’ among other basic questions.
“If I ask people what their plan is for their business, they don't know,” Laidlaw said.
“They don’t have a clue!” she said. “You spend more time organising your holiday.”
But setting out a business plan gives you room to pivot in the future and lets you refer back to the plan in case anything ever needs to be tweaked, and also helps you become more aware of things like cashflow.
Get a business coach
Both Teh and Laidlaw advocated for business coaches to help owners along in their journey.
“I think it's super important that if you're a small business, you don't don't feel like you're alone. I actually feel like the best investment that you can make to help your business is to invest in a business coach or what we call a mind coach, which is like a therapist or a psychologist,” said Teh.
“Why make all these mistakes and waste all this time, money and energy, if you can avoid that by actually finding someone who can guide you and share their learning?” she said.
And what if some people don’t have the money for a business coach?
Laidlaw said setting aside a few hundred dollars a month for a group coaching program would come at the cost of foregoing a few dinners out, but the pay-off would be worth it.
“You've got accountability, you've got support, you've got feedback,” she said.
“Just invest in yourself.”
Where to get business advice at low or no cost
It all boils down to LinkedIn, Teh said: the platform facilitates networking and lets you find and reach out to business leaders you admire, other like-minded people or potential mentors, and also gives you access to their content – for free.
“You can get so many learnings, like I've learned so much just by watching content on LinkedIn – it doesn't cost a cent,” she said. Buying a business strategy book doesn’t set you back much, either.
“You just forego a dinner out one night you buy a book for $30 or $40, and that's going to hopefully … get your business off the ground,” Laidlaw said.
“There's no excuses: the internet's there, LinkedIn, there are books that you can buy for $30,” Teh added.
Catch up on the previous episodes:
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online Episode 1: Experts’ 9 top tips for starting to invest
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online Episode 2: Coronavirus could force property prices 40% lower
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online Episode 3: 7 secrets to job-hunting during the coronavirus pandemic
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online Episode 4: 5 money lessons during a pandemic: Rich Dad, Poor Dad author
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club: Live Online Episode 5: Experts reveal 7 ways to hack your super during coronavirus