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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

No rest for the self-employed as holidays are ditched

15 September 2020

Nearly three-quarters of business owners say they will take no more than five days holiday next year even though 89% agree that time off is important for mental health.

Research conducted by small business lender iwoca has found that over a third (37%) of small business owners plan to take no time off at all in the next year; and sole traders are under the most pressure to keep working at the moment, as 44% of the UK's 4.5 million self-employed workers say they won't be taking time off over the next 12 months.

In normal times, 59% of business owners take five days' holiday a year on average, while 10% take none at all. Just 4% of business owners normally take the usual 25-28 days off that many UK employees are allocated.

While many businesses have adapted their operations as a result of working from home, 41% of owners say they wouldn't be able to run their business if they had to quarantine for 14 days after returning from a holiday abroad.

Despite these findings, the vast majority of business owners (89%) agree that time off is important for mental health.

Niamh Keys, head of people at iwoca, said: "Many small business owners are quite rightly channelling all their energy into ensuring the future of their business. But this could be taking its toll on their own wellbeing."

Meanwhile, a new study by freelancer body IPSE has found that one in four self-employed workers is struggling with their mental health because of the pandemic.

The number of self-employed people saying they have "poor" or "very poor" mental health has increased from 6% to 26%, according to its findings.

The number that say they have "good" or "excellent" mental health has also dropped significantly since the beginning of the pandemic - from 68% to 39%. This is most severe among women (a drop of 54%) and young freelancers aged 16-34 (a drop of 49%).

A third of freelancers (32%) say they are highly stressed - half (48%) say they feel depressed or anxious because of stress and the same proportion say they feel less productive. Just over a fifth (22%) said they have lost clients because of job-related stress.

Chloé Jepps, IPSE head of research, said: "Lockdown and the pandemic have clearly shaken the mental health of the freelancing sector … One of the most practical things government can do is help stave off the financial worries of freelancers and the self-employed, since this sector has been hit harder than most by lockdown and the pandemic. The government should make sure there is no cliff-edge to its support schemes and that any further support is open to all the self-employed, not just a proportion."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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