3 Things I Would Do Differently If I Would re-Open A Business In 2022
So what would I do as the owner of a online or physical business in 2022:
I would create a “multi-channel sales funnel”
What the hell is this.
Let me explain:
multi channel: off line and on line.
sales funnel: customer journey; from being a complete stranger to becoming a valuable client, returning client and even brand ambassador!
So, what would I do:
From my website to my physical store; I would consider it as a multi-channel customer experience. It’s not two worlds, it’s one customer experiencing my brand in many different ways.
It is something that only a few entrepreneurs do and I understand why, it takes time to build something that is imbricated together.
That’s why I would not simply recruit a web agency that can do web stuff only, I would rather recruit an entrepreneur coach or connect with co-working spaces that have incubator programs to meet people who have this ability to not only perform on the web but also add value to your physical store. Of course, if you can do it in-house, go for it!
I’d consider my website as an introduction to my physical store, as much as my physical store to be an open door to my website. Connecting the retail with the website, really.
As an example, check Samsung or Apple or other big tech companies that have retail stores everywhere on the planet, but are part of the biggest tech-online companies in the world.
I would invest in a productivity & business management system
As a hostel owner, I was using a PMS = Property Management System (or Software?), and I almost regret not being able to use it from the opening day. I only started using it after two years I think. They promised it would save us 4 hours per day… and it was probably true, if not more!!
My PMS was able to connect all the online booking platforms together, so that I would never miss any booking and I could register payments in advance and have my own booking page on my website. Plus, it was a very great management system for my bookings and extra-sales. It was easy to email a guest, check my financial statement or see how many beds were available now.
The end goal would be an ERP. Even if you don’t need one right now, you can start using an ERP now. It’s probably the best way to grow and scale the business.
An ERP means Enterprise Resource Planning; it’s basically a productivity app for your business that helps all your activities and departments to connect with each other and also that helps you, as the business owner, to be ready to automate your activity and scale.
What a productivity app can do for your business is simple:
You can gain visibility over your activity while your employees can collaborate properly and your customer can be served in a timely manner and a more professional way. It can help you to take your business to the next level and save you a lot of time because data is stored and can be reused for other uses.
For example, you have a physical store with products to sell via your store and through your a website:
- It lets you create an e-commerce professional site, listing all your products in stock depending on their availability and your configuration.
- When someone orders a product online or your employee makes a sale at the store, this product is automatically taken out of your inventory. Meaning you can track your inventory in real time.
- It will let you reorder your product in a few clicks, but also invoice your customers quickly too.
- At the end of the day, your accountant can see the reporting automatically created and you can access them to make proper business decisions. You know who sold what, who bought what, when products ordered will arrive, how many products are in stock, etc.
Bottom line, the system you put in place and the real advantage of solutions like productivity apps is the following:
- To be able to follow your business growth: if you have plans to grow, these apps can help you grow and handle the next business venture you decide to focus on! If you want to do more marketing, it should help you do mass-mailing and promotional campaigns. If you open other stores, other brands, other websites… no problem with these apps.This means: More opportunities, not more work.
- To customize the system suitable to your needs. It might or might not be needed. But your business is unique and sometimes, it’s important to have a system in place suitable with your own organization. Productivity apps can definitely help in that direction. That is part of my new job today; helping determine if you can use the app as it is or if you could customize it, and how. This could be very handy if you have a larger structure that needs more control, more flexibility, more productivity at some points for example.
I would keep money for marketing!
I made a mistake with DaBlend, I will not do it again.
If building a project, the investment in the furniture is not the only thing you should put your money into. Don’t forget you have to get people to come to your place. And this won’t happen because god decided to (well, maybe, but you better put all your chances on your side and do some marketing).
What marketing and how would I invest it?
- I would ensure I have a great website (not the best but again, an efficient one, with a great structure and good content)
- I would connect with local-micro influencers (1000-5000 followers) to come and review my place. Offer them the best they never received from any other brand. I did this in my previous hostel. I offered from 1 week to 3 weeks stay to influencers; and some of them because BIG names were booking me 4-5 guests per month… even 3 years after they came to my place.
- I would spend time on local radios, podcasts and write for bloggers or newspapers about my brand. Get your brand name out there and tell your story. Your favorite local radio or podcast is full of potential customers.
- Facebook Ads and Google Adsense: maybe 50-60$ a month, but I would hire professionals to do it and I would try it for 3 months first, then review, etc.
Some additional words
I was not planning on writing about this but here we are; let’s imagine that I reopen a physical location or an online business, what would I do differently or not? How would I proceed?
As many of you might already know, I used to own a hostel in Saigon, Vietnam. It was called “DaBlend Hostel” and we were ranked top-3 to top-10 depending on the platforms among all the hostels and homestays of the city. I used to be ranked TOP 1 many times and received many “Guest Booking Awards” and other “Guest Experience” certificates, etc.
But what I am most proud of is that 55% of my revenues were made before my guest ever checked-in to my hostel. This allowed me to generate cash before providing the service. This helped me to become more confident and feel “safer” about the business finances.
I can’t tell you how difficult it was when in mid-march 2020, because of the pandemic, we decided to close the hostel and I have to refund all these bookings… plus shut down the hostel.
Since that moment, I didn’t operate any physical business, but instead I spent a lot of time consulting for my other entrepreneur friends and helping the ones with physical locations to still be able to operate despite pandemic restrictions and to transition to generate online revenues even if you have a physical location.
That is how I realised I could write about it…
Today, I write on my blog, daily. I write about questions I had or have as an entrepreneur. The idea is to do my best to help other entrepreneurs to learn how to delegate their tasks, automate their operations and why not, scale their business.
Many entrepreneurs under-estimate the power of all this and don’t thing it is a crucial element of what will set us free from our own daily operations and let us develop other projects or simply sleep better at night.
I used to believe that to get more opportunities you need to work harder.
We are conditioned like this. But really, this is a limiting belief. There is a path where you can create more opportunities for yourself while working less (actually…).
That is a bit my new mission and what I love helping people with: getting more while working less. And for this, technology is a great friend and the three advice above can get you in that direction.