It’s harder than ever for small businesses right now amid rising costs and low consumer confidence.
The tough business environment means companies need to do more to stand out. Many have taken to social media, especially TikTok, in a bid to go viral and attract new customers – but it’s not always a surefire way to build up a loyal following.
While social media can grab attention in the short term, when it comes to doing business and turning your business into long-term success, the digital property that really matters is your website.
One of the first things many customers, suppliers, and potential customers will do is research your business online, which makes a website not only a vital calling card for a business, but it’s also your storefront on the world and a way to create new business. , grow your customer base and sell more.
Below, we talk about two companies that during the pandemic have successfully transformed their small local businesses into thriving businesses, thanks in large part to their own websites.
Omar Meho, left, says a website is essential for his Music Workflow Academy, while Chris and Sarah Fryer, right, say selling online has transformed their vegan pie business.
Magpye’s online pie shop
By 2018, Chris and Sarah Fryer had had enough of their careers as a full-time teacher and medical secretary, respectively.
The husband and wife team, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, longed for change and saw a gap in the vegan and vegetarian food market.
“We were out and about at events in the North East and it was hard to get good – or – vegan street food. And we thought, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start our own street food business? Chris said.
“We started thinking about what we were going to do and Sarah had the idea that the pies would have mass appeal and be a good way to go.”
Both were foodies but neither had worked in a professional kitchen, so before launching Magpye the couple developed their products at home.
“We then got a horse trailer which we converted to sell pie and mash. We were both working part-time until the pandemic hit and trying to build: 2020 was going to be our first big year of street food events.
From street food to delivery as lockdown hits
What started as a street food business quickly became a delivery service when lockdown hit and the couple began exploring the idea of an online pie shop.
Chris says the couple were at a crossroads but decided to go full-time into the business.
Their intuition was right. Vegan food has become increasingly popular, with fast food chains now offering plant-based options and the range of products offered by supermarkets increasing month by month.
In March 2020, Chris and Sarah created their website using GoDaddy’s web building tools. Magpye has gone from strength to strength, selling pies nationwide ever since.
The couple had spotted the market long before the rise of meat alternatives and so started making their own ingredients, including their own chicken and bacon alternatives at one point.
Chris and Sarah Fryer launched their online pie shop during lockdown
“Before, we had to make our own vegan butter, because there was nothing on the market that was suitable,” says Chris. “Various things like that have now come to market and we can use more things off the shelf.”
Magpye has successfully recreated popular pies like steak and beer and chicken, leek and bacon with plant-based ingredients, as well as treats like apple pie.
“It was basically what we liked. Fortunately, a lot of people seem to have the same kind of tastes as us!
They’ve even branched out to make match-day pies for eco-friendly football club Forest Green Rovers.
“Developing our website was essential so our customers could see what we do, order pies and make payments all in one place,” says Chris.
“GoDaddy’s tools for email communications and order processing saved us a tremendous amount of time and also helped us more easily organize the new systems we needed for our delivery service. Soon we were able to send pies across the UK, massively increasing our pool of potential customers.
Get Your Small Business Website Redesigned
Standing out online, telling your story, connecting with customers, and showing up in search engine results are some of the keys to modern business success.
Many small business owners struggle to build a strong online presence and when you’re busy running a business, it can be hard to find the time to sort it out.
But it is important to consider your digital presence as a priority, because existing and potential customers, suppliers or customers will seek you out online.
As part of our Entrepreneur Academy, This is Money offers small businesses the opportunity to makeover their website and feature on our site in a video and story on how to create a better online presence.
Our experts will find out what the successful candidates’ website needs are and how it fits with their company’s plans, goals and ambitions.
Small business owners will receive advice on how their site should work, what it should look like, how they can promote it, as well as advertising, marketing, and SEO.
And our partner GoDaddy will help revamp their website or create a new site for them, with the process and their business featured on This is Money.
If you would like to ask your business to participate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Entrepreneur Academy at the beginning of the subject line and give us a few brief details about your business, any existing website or social media presence, and what you would like to achieve, in no more than 600 words.
We will then assess the applications and contact small businesses that we believe may be suitable candidates.
I was booked to DJ in Dubai then lockdown hit
Omar Meho taught himself to DJ alongside his business marketing degree and has since built a successful career in the music business.
Omar Meho started his company, Music Workflow Academy, when confinement prevented him from working as a DJ
The 26-year-old has played at some of the UK’s biggest clubs, such as London’s Egg and Fabric, as well as festivals. He also owns his own record company and is a mastering engineer.
Although based in Chester, his career has taken him all over the world and he divides his time between Ibiza, France, the UK and Dubai.
He was to be flown to the DJ at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai when the lockdown hit. Overnight, events and travel, and therefore Omar’s income, came to a halt.
That’s when the idea of Music Workflow Academy was born. Omar’s friend suggested he try teaching what he knew about DJing – so from the guest bedroom of his girlfriend’s family home, which housed drums, a piano and a washing machine, the seeds of the business were sown.
Upgrade to Music Workflow Academy’s online DJ tutorials
His girlfriend’s mother gave him his first student, who is still with Omar today, and the next day he received a message from a student in New York: “At this point, I knew I had a good idea,” he said.
Music Workflow Academy offers courses in DJing, mixing, and mastering, as well as sample packs, placements, and playlist placements.
“The pandemic actually sparked the growth of the business. Allowing me to take time off to play and spend most of my time and money in clubs, it allowed me to focus and create a track to launch the business.
“Being online allowed me to duplicate myself and expand the business on a global level.”
Two years later, it has accumulated 47,000 students in 170 countries and expanded the offer to also include music production.
“Building a website through GoDaddy has been critical to the success of Music Workflow Academy,” adds Omar. “It allowed me to build a trustworthy, fast and reliable online base and brand.”
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