The words ‘Future Proof’ are everywhere at the minute especially with the cost of living crisis.
And this week’s podcast guest Lucy Rennie is here to share with you how to do this for your pet business so you not only survive but thrive.
She’s a communications expert and she’s been talking about Future Proofing your business for years and shares everything you need to know.
From making your clients feel special to launching special products or services in line with what is happening in the world and turning uncertainty into opportunity.
You’ll get loads of awesome advice from Lucy who lives for small business and you can listen to her wise words on the player link below or continue reading as a blog post.
Hi Lucy, tell us about your background
I worked in the corporate world as Head of Communications, around the world, helping sites, leaders and managers create a strategy to build and market their business, and to engage with their teams.
And what have you been doing for the last few years?
I set up my own business seven years ago as a communication and marketing expert, and I really believe in small business, and the fact that people do business with people.
I’ve been on a mission to help small business owners to future proof their business and build something that’s sustainable, but also that feels good and works for them.
There’s lots of pressure from outside to scale, and to do things a certain way.
I believe that if you can do it in a way that really works for you and enjoy it, then the impact that you can make on your life, and the lives of your customers, partners, and your team is massive.
What is future proofing? It’s a buzz phrase we’re hearing a lot!
It’s about creating something sustainable, putting in place solid foundations, and setting up your business in such a way that whatever happens, you’re in a good place.
Where you can stay in control, continue doing what you do and you’ll come out if anything stronger at the end of it.
It’s making sure that you’ve got a plan in place so you’re still going to be here in six months, 12 months, five years time and doing it in a way that feels good for you .
It’s a long game rather than quick wins where you’re really thinking about the impact of what you’re doing and how you’re growing your business.
We need this right now! So tell us about the emotional impact of what’s going on in the world
There’s a picture being painted of doom and gloom and all this uncertainty. People are telling us it’s the end of the world.
It can be really unsettling and unnerving, not really knowing what’s going to happen and what you should be doing for the best.
There’s a lot of nervous people around at the moment some of whom might not have been in business in a recession so it’s a worrying time.
Can you talk us through the steps to future proof your business?
The first one is is Clarity, getting really clear on who you are, reminding yourself of why you do what you do, what started you on this journey.
That’s the thing that’s going to encourage people to engage with you and buy from you and it’s going to resonate with you when they see your eyes light up.
It’s also about getting really clear on who your ideal clients are as the more you get under their skin, the more you understand them and the better you can serve them.
Next is Communication. How can we really show them that we care about them and manage our communications and make sure that we’re managing their expectations, and creating this amazing experience for them?
When you’re a happy customer, you go and shout about it and tell all your friends about the things that you’ve experienced with that brand or business.
We want that ripple effect, word of mouth marketing, where people are recommending you and that helps make your business sustainable.
Third is Connection. People are craving social connection, that human touch and human contact so it’s time to go above and beyond for your clients, check in, make sure they’re ok.
Also how can you add more value by maybe collaborating with other business owners, connecting with other people in your industry?
Think about the Trip Advisor effect too where we check people out, and ask for recommendations.
Work on encouraging your clients, your customers, to write great reviews, testimonials, case studies, to share feedback on how good a job you’re doing.
That is how you future proof your business moving forward.
What kind of things ARE people spending money on during a recession?
There’s four main areas where people continue to spend in a recession.
First is wealth, helping people to make money or invest or feel more secure financially.
Second is health and wellbeing and this is that feel good factor, our family, pets, animals, we want them to be healthy and people are still going to look after them in the right way.
It’s a massive reason for people to want to have pets, and a real opportunity to sell in these times.
Thirdly, because people aren’t going out they’re spending on the home, and looking after family, making things feel cosy and safe.
Coming together as a family and community and having that cosy, safe, familiar feeling.
Finally, the fourth is around value, spending money in the right way so they feel they’re getting a good deal for their investment.
One key thing is in these times people want to be loyal to brands and businesses they already know, like and trust, so will come back to brands.
Christmas will be bigger than ever, people are craving cosiness, coming together, gifting to show appreciation.
If pet businesses encourage people to gift their products or services, they are helping them feel good because gifting creates that feel good factor too.
And people want to support small business too don’t they?
I believe that small business is going to turn around the economy in the UK, much more now, because of COVID as there’s a massive shift of people’s buying behaviour.
They don’t want to buy from these big brands that don’t stand for anything, or that are out there to make a profit.
They want to help businesses with a real purpose who are value led, with a real story behind them.
The more you can get your story out there, the more it gives people a reason to buy from you again, it makes them feel good and they’re supporting you and the economy.
What do you think are the key skills for getting through tough times?
I think the one thing that I would encourage everybody to embrace is grit and resilience. Cling on to that roller coaster ride, even when things go wrong, or when stuff gets thrown at you.
The ones that survive, that genuinely come out stronger are the ones that keep going, put your head down and work through it.
Tell us about your new book and your podcast
The book is called Clarity, Communication and Connection – Three clear steps to future proof your business.
It’s a book that I want you to have in your back pocket, not a stuffy snooty textbook that takes you through marketing, or how to build a business.
This is my story, what I’ve learned, my experience. My podcast, the Future Proof Your Business Podcast is on all podcast players.
It’s me talking about all these these things, a place where it’s safe to come and be inspired or learn things you can go away with and implement in your business.
Links mentioned in this episode
Learn more about Lucy on her website: https://lrcomms.co.uk/
Listen to her podcast here: https://www.iamlucyrennie.com/podcast
Buy her NEW BOOK on her website here!
And on Amazon here * Affiliate Link *
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamlucyrennie/
Join her free Communicate with Purpose Facebook Group