SME tips going into 2019

As the owner of a small or medium-sized enterprise, you will want to face the new year with as much chance of success as possible. Whether that means bringing a start-up through its first full year, raising profits on an already established business, or saving your company from failure, there are lots of pieces of advice that apply to all scenarios. Here are some you absolutely cannot ignore in 2019.

Go digital

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have – you should have an online presence by now. That means a website where people can find out about you and contact you, an official email address which represents your brand (not just an Outlook or Googlemail address), and at least one social media page.

Why? Because this is how customers are shopping in 2019. The vast majority of shoppers now browse on their mobiles, and may look at websites even before purchasing physical goods. If they want to find a business like yours, the first place they will look is Google. If they want to ask a question or buy a product and they can’t do it online, then they are more likely than ever not to shop with you.

Don’t waste time – get a website set up, and make sure that it looks great and is easy to use on mobile. This way, you won’t be losing customers who are now used to using their phones for everything.

Cut overheads

Time and time again, businesses fail because they are not in control of their overheads. It might be that you have taken on too many employees, and are now paying many of them to relax on days when there isn’t enough work to go around. It might be that you are being overcharged on your utilities, or even on your office or retail space rent. It might even be that you are getting poor deals on raw materials and supplies because you haven’t negotiated in a while.

Look at all of your outgoings, and try to cut your overheads where possible. Relocate your office space to a place where you are going to get a better deal month on month. Make some of your staff redundant, or find a way to increase production by using your current workforce. Call your suppliers and tell them that you are looking for a better deal – with the implication being that you will go elsewhere if you don’t get it from them.

Listen to your customers

Listening is key for success, and many businesses get this wrong, whether they are small start-ups or huge corporations. What do your customers really want? What complaints are they making? If you ever see someone making a comment that they love your business or products, but… then you need to reassess your services.

Listen on social media by tracking hashtags and mentions connected to your brand. You can also listen out for what is being said about brands similar to yours, as this will allow you to see what pain points are for customers of other businesses. If you can excel where rival companies are failing, then you have a chance of stealing their customers. Just make sure that you don’t make easily avoidable mistakes in your own practices because you are paying too much attention to theirs!

 

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