Top 10 survival strategies for SMEs next year

6. Increase your marketing

When competing for a smaller pot of money, it becomes more important than ever to tell people why they should come to you. You don’t have to break the bank, but be sure to shout about your business.

However, it is vital that this is done efficiently and effectively. Consider which method is best suited to your business, such as telemarketing; online advertising; mail shots; or radio/TV. Monitor any marketing you carry out, to measure its success and determine whether it is worth continuing.

7. Concentrate on what will sell

Don’t put your efforts into trying to sell new or untested products and services; stick to profitable favourites. Don’t be tempted to slash prices either – if demand for your offer is not price sensitive, you will be giving your profits away.

8. Train your staff

Your staff are one of your greatest assets and could be the key to retaining customers and keeping your business running. Training is important to their personal development and the productivity of your business, so don’t be tempted to scrap your training plan.

9. Streamline your operation

Consider moving to smaller premises, or even subletting some of your existing space. Sell off excess equipment and look at your staffing – are your people concentrated in the right areas? Would flexible working be more cost-efficient? If you are considering making staff redundant be sure you take into account the adverse impact this can have on the remaining staff and the time and cost involved in recruiting replacements when business picks up.

10. Get online

An online sales or marketing channel will expose you to a larger marketplace for minimal cost. Plan and resource online selling properly, including providing payment security, attracting visitors and meeting orders swiftly.

Making small changes to your existing website could increase your customer base and improve your bottom line.

Malcolm Johnston is head of enterprise support at the Northampton Growth Hub.

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