How To Pivot Your Business With Royal Mail Strikes 2022

Are you wondering what to do about Royal Mail strikes changing their last posting dates to earlier in December? Maybe you’re worrying about Christmas sales and how to maximise your sales before the cut off? Perhaps you’re even worrying about whether your business can survive in business this year…

Over the last few days, I’ve received countless questions and worries from small business owners who are worried about Christmas sales in 2022. Read on for my thoughts and responses to help you reach the new year with your business and sanity intact.

Note: None of the content in this article is a guarantee of sales or business success. Everything is designed to be read as encouragement and inspiration. You are the best judge of what’s right for your business.

Further note: I believe in posties’ right to strike and stand up for better working conditions. I believe in Royal Mail. I have hope that these challenges build a stronger infrastructure for all. (And I’m very much hoping that leaders are prioritising the same.)

Royal Mail strikes aren’t the only thing that’s been hard this year

2022 isn’t the first year of big pivots for small businesses. We’ve had at least three big ones since 2020. And Christmas isn’t the first time small business owners have been worried about their survival this year. With a rising cost of living, increased material costs, and a bit of a slump in consumer spending, small businesses have been challenged this year.

All that to say: it’s not like small business owners were chill before Royal Mail brought their last posting dates forward and shortened the delivery window before 25 December.

I have so many thoughts on what you could do, as a small business owner, this December. There are plenty of options, and I encourage you to get courageous and creative wherever you can.

AND I’ve also put together three main categories of things you can do, depending on your circumstances and priorities.

Part One: Sell More Online Before The Cut Off

The most obvious step is usually worth considering, so let’s start with what we’ve got: sell as much as you can online before the Royal Mail last posting dates.

  • Send out emails to your list. Tell them about the change to your updated last order dates. Show them your products and collections. Short and sweet is GREAT.
  • Add free tracked delivery over a certain amount to encourage bigger orders.
  • Ask friends and family to share your online shops.
  • Collaborate with other small businesses who have a similar audience to you.
  • Share your gorgeous products on social media – lean into how brilliant they are as gifts for different personalities and for different budgets. Check out this podcast episode of ideas to share your products.
  • Reuse content you’ve already shown, especially video. This can really help to get your visibility and familiarity up.
  • Don’t simply lean into the “shop small” message. YES, this is really, really important. AND you also need to show why YOUR products match your customers’ needs and wants. How will this product fit into their gift list? How will it light up someone’s face when they open it? Get specific.
  • Remind customers that you can send direct to their loved ones, if you can.
  • Keep sharing your last order dates so that customers know they need to order really soon!

When to stop taking orders?

  • The answer to this question is unique to every business, and you need to be as comfortable as possible with your decision.
  • Consider refunds. There’s a higher possibility of late arrivals this year. It’s worth communicating this to your customers when they order. And, like some of my clients, you might decide you don’t want to risk too many refunds. Set your last posting dates in line with your comfort levels, clarify your refund policy, but don’t simply hope for zero refund requests.

Part Two: Sell More Offline Or Digitally

If you’re worried about the postal service and don’t have any viable alternatives to Royal Mail, you can still make sales. It might need more creative thinking and more of a pivot, but there are great ways to raise revenue.

  • Offer local collection or delivery so that you’re not reliant on delivery services. This could be a day when you’ll deliver, or a time slot when they can pick up from your studio.
  • Tap into local Facebook groups and communities to share your local offers.
  • Create vouchers so that customers can buy now for delivery in the new year. Make a nice PDF they can print at home (zero posties required!).
  • Offer a digital version of a product that your customers can use in case gifts don’t arrive in time.
  • Offer a digital download that you can charge for and customers can use or print at home. This can be a good cash boost, if needed.

Part Three: Survive Until 2023

I’ve had a heartbreaking number of messages from small business owners who are seriously concerned their business may not survive. If that’s you, this section is for you.

If you can survive, 2023 is a different year. Delivery services will bounce back. Royal Mail strikes will end. Another year will come. There will be sales available again.

  • Work out what you need to survive to the new year: how much revenue, how much you need to save, how you can remain lucrative enough to stay in business. Get as many sales as you can using the tips above, and anything else available to you.
  • It may not be fun or comfortable, but the circumstances of this year aren’t your fault. If you need to reduce your staff, change the size and shape of your business, or anything else to survive – that’s your wise choice. (And as someone who’s been there, I know how hard it really is.)
  • And if there truly isn’t a way forward, and you need to pause or close, you’re not alone. It’s not your fault. Something stronger can be built in the future. You are still a brilliant, creative, unique human being.

Sanity Savers

More than anything, I encourage you to tend to your sanity and mental / physical health in the coming weeks, even when you’re being dealt some pretty hefty curveballs (Royal Mail strikes may only be one example). To get to January with your energy, sanity and business intact, you need to take care of YOU.

  • Don’t try to do everything I’ve mentioned above. Take 3 actions and do them first. More overwhelm isn’t the answer.
  • Set a bedtime every day and stick to it.
  • Get support. Ask for as much help as you possibly can, including from friends and family who can recommend your products and spread the word.
  • Ask for non-business support, like sorting out dinner or wrapping gifts. You may need even more energy than usual for your business right now.
  • Remind yourself that you can’t control, change or foresee others’ actions. You’re dealing with the fallout of circumstances outside your control – it sucks but it’s not your fault.
  • Be in good company. Friends, family, fellow small businesses. It makes a difference to know you’re not alone on all levels.
  • Cultivate meaning and magic. All is not lost. Make sure you are getting some small pleasures and magic of the season, amidst it all.

I hope the ideas I’ve shared here help to give you some clarity and some inspired actions to take in response to Royal Mail strikes this year. I wish I could jump on a coaching call with every single person who is worried right now! Alas, this is what I can offer accessibly right now. I’ll also share video content over on Instagram for you.

Have I missed anything? What’s working for you?

Feel free to share in the comments below, or with me on Instagram – @thejennypace – so that we can support the small business community.

23 – 27 JANUARY 2023

The Better Business Plan is a five day challenge for makers and creative business founders, designed to equip you with the resilience and vision to navigate the year ahead.

Together we’ll create a unique-to-you business plan for 2023 that draws on the insights of 2022 and aligns with your goals for the future.

In this tried-and-true 5 day challenge mini course, you’ll create a plan for a more resilient business in 2023, on your terms.

Find out more and sign up now

10 Simple Ways To Boost Your Business Energy

The start of the month is a great time to bring some intention to your business – and especially to boost your business energy. These 10 simple tips are great ways to energise your business and feel good while you’re running a creative business this month.

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you easily find yourself on the hamster wheel of your to-do list, responding to enquiries and orders as they come in. The bigger business strategy can fall behind! However, having simple steps to work through can make a huge difference.

Even if you don’t do a full plan for the month or the quarter, I have some tips that will help you to bring in some fresh energy in the month ahead…

Jenny is smiling with her hands together, over a graphic image that reads, "10 simple ways to boost your business energy"

10 Business Tips To Boost Your Business Energy In April:

  1. Refresh your homepage. Does it reflect your current bestsellers, offerings, and energy? Rather than a chore of technology, imagine you’re tinkering with a real-life shop window. What would you put on display? Let your online equivalent reflect that spirit.
  2. Check your Instagram bio. Could it share more authentically about your creativity? Are the links up to date and useful? Does it articulate your value? I’ve had “update highlights” in the back of my mind for a while, and I’m determined that this will be the month for it!
  3. Have a gorgeous Money Date with your business. Invite yourself to coffee and cake (or whatever tickles your fancy) and catch up on your bookkeeping and cash flow. This is something creatives procrastinate, so make it enjoyable!
  4. While we’re at it, get ahead with your tax return (if you complete a UK self-assessment). You’ll feel really smug if you get this done early, and your cash flow planning will thank you later. If in doubt, hire an accountant to help.
  5. Plan a creative outing with yourself or a friend. Visit an art gallery, take a day trip somewhere, or even book a class! Cultivating creativity ultimately fuels your business, so it’s highly recommended.
  6. Invest in a pretty wall planner that inspires you. Betsy Benn has one that starts every quarter, so there’s no wasted space.
  7. Choose ONE marketing channel to focus on this month. Instagram (especially Reels) can be great for visibility; email marketing typically converts to sales at a higher rate.
  8. Check your profit margins (and put your prices up!). There’s no denying that costs are rising, so make sure you’re not caught out. My profit calculator spreadsheet is now available for just £22, making it a wise investment that pays off.
  9. Have a spring clean. “Outer order, inner calm,” says Gretchen Rubin. She’s right, and yet I’m still allergic to decluttering. Taking 15 minutes to clear my desk is manageable and effective. Do that weekly and you’ll see a big difference.
  10. Choose 2 or 3 pick-me-ups to raise your spirits this month. Try a new blend of tea or coffee. Buy yourself flowers for your studio. Order cake for 3 weeks’ time and be surprised when they arrive (Jess makes great options). Enjoy an inspiring book (Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist has a gorgeous 10th anniversary edition, and it’s easy to just read one page). Try a new essential oil roller (I love the chakra range by Eve & Keel).

This isn’t a perfectionist to-do list.

You don’t have to do every single one of these things to boost your business. One is great!

Above all, listen to your own inner wisdom: I’m pretty sure there are things you know will benefit you, too.

What are your favourite ways to boost your business energy? I’d love to hear!

How to focus: part 1

If you’re a small business owner, and especially if you’re a one-woman-band / solopreneur, finding focus (and sticking to it) can feel impossible.

A single day can include fulfilling orders, answering emails, scheduling social media posts, ordering stock, trying to fix that thing on your website, wondering whether you should invest in advertising, uploading products, taking photos, and on and on and on.

Whew! Can you see why you feel exhausted?

A big part of my work with clients has been to cut through the noise and find the things they really need to focus on – and then prioritise them.

This week and next, I’m sharing focus tips, reminders, and to dos that will help you to focus and find more ease in your business.

Today: It’s part one, and we’re starting out with WHY a lot of small business owners don’t stay focused. (You may recognise yourself in this list)…

5 Top Reasons Creative Business Owners Don’t Stay Focused:

  • We overestimate what we can do in the short term. We think things will take 10 minutes when they really take half an hour. We think we can get a wide variety of things done in a single day, task-switching merrily. We are wrong.
  • We underestimate what we can do in the long term. We dream small because we’re really tired from all our overestimating in the short term. This is the twin sister of the point above, and they’re both brilliant observations by Gretchen Rubin.
  • We underestimate the effectiveness of focus. The biggest secret of business is that focus actually works. Going all in on one thing feels vulnerable because we think we have to do everything. But time and again, it pays off. Big time.
  • We don’t trust we’ll get to it later. We carry all the to dos over to our daily lists because we think we’ll forget. So we’re just thinking about a million things, all the time.
  • We don’t trust we’ll choose the RIGHT focus. OOOOOOOH, this is a big one. The vulnerability of committing to a thing. Let me tell you: you know what you really want to focus on. You know how to get resources and support if you’re not sure of specific steps.

Sound familiar? All the more reason to start seeing focus as the key that unlocks your potential…

And I’ve been there too! I like shiny things. I like ideas. I like creating. It is HARD to commit to one thing (more on that in a minute). But the last couple of years, and especially the last 12 months, have been more and more focused for my business – and it has massively paid off.

Plus I see this all the time with my clients. The focus of creating a new collection and working towards the launch. Focusing on a clear customer desire and meeting it. The clarity of working on a new website to completion before adding in any other projects.

It works.

Focus actually makes us MORE productive, profitable, and effective. Which leads to more success, happiness, and satisfaction.

By focusing, you get a sense of completion, you start trusting yourself more, and your confidence grows. You work on the things that uniquely right for you – and seriously, that’s just the best.

So here’s what you, dear one-woman-band, need to let go of…

You have to let go of comparison, distractions, and what other people are doing.

Choose two or three projects to focus on at a time and commit to them.

If (when) something else comes up, put it one a “to consider” list for when you have space to take on your next project.

Join me next week, when I’ll be sharing real-life examples of client projects and how to focus them. (And I have some exciting news!)


Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.