As we come to the end of another calendar year, now is a great time to start thinking about what you can resolve to improve or implement during the coming year. We detail below a few suggestions small business owners might want to consider for 2019.
Focus 10% of Your Time on Marketing in the New Year
Visibility is the name of the game in marketing. Small businesses are often bound up in servicing existing clients and keeping up with the administration that they forget to market themselves. This can have adverse effects if there is a downturn in the economy, or perhaps a major client stops using their services for some reason. Continuous small efforts with your business marketing strategy will pay back in results, making resilience easier.
Join a Business Network or Chamber of Commerce
There are lots of business networks and local business organisations which can help grow your contacts. Often there are ones specific to an industry, for example, retail or software, or particular groups, like Women in Business. Choose one that suits your style – for instance, if you are an early-rising lark, then breakfast networking would pay off for you, but a night owl would be more effective in evening meetings after work. Top rule of networking – don’t do a sales pitch, (except where it is organised as part of the event); networking is for making personal acquaintance with potential clients. Steve Pinto, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce has this tip: “Bring a couple of your own clients to a networking event and introduce them to others. This will help their business, and they will be happy to recommend you in return.”
Make Use of LinkedIn
Although social media is often seen as a time-suck, LinkedIn has long been recognised as an acceptable tool in the business sector. It is important to keep your profile active on LinkedIn because it’s often the first thing a potential client will check if they are thinking of doing business with you, or looking for your particular product or service. Most businesses these days find other platforms just as invaluable, especially those companies dealing with the public as opposed to just business to business enterprises. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and others are all great to make use of, to increase your brand’s visibility and perceived trustworthiness. An inactive or non-existent profile will not convey the right impression; it doesn’t take much effort to post updates, information, and personnel moves on your page as well as to relevant groups, this will keep your profile looking respectable and approachable.
Use Case Studies to Highlight Successes
One to two page Case Studies can be a good way to show how your company met a challenge and solved a problem for a client. By using a narrative of how your product or service resolved a business issue or difficulty for a client shows off your effectiveness. This is a subtle push to support your sales activity, especially if the case study is similar to the issue that the client is interested in solving. Case studies should not be a “selling document” but show the process from the client’s perspective – this makes them interesting and compelling.
Watch out for Cybercrime
A 2016 report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that small businesses bear the brunt of the costs of cybercrime. Cybercrime costs each small business victim nearly £3,000, and unfortunately, these crimes are on the increase. Scams, phishing and cyber attacks are unfortunately always around. SMEs and sole traders are vulnerable because they often cannot afford the specialist protection or dedicated staff to deal with this issue. Therefore they need to be extra vigilant. The government’s Cyber Essentials site has free advice on the best ways to take measures to reduce the threat: https://www.cyberessentials.ncsc.gov.uk/
Initiating the points above and possibly adding one or two of your own resolutions personalised to your specific business requirements should ensure your company is successful in 2019. Get in touch with the expert team at Neil Smith Accountancy in Essex for business growth advice, or for a professional business tax service.