Growing Your SME in Tough Economic Times

In regions all over the world, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are shone with the spotlight, as evidence from Edinburgh Group suggests that these companies make up more than 95% of enterprises and account for approximately 60% of the private sector employment globally. Yet, such businesses as versatile as they seem, are not immune to different economic downturns that vary from increased unemployment rates, decreased entrepreneurial confidence and stagnating financial developments wherever they may be. However, many SMEs continuously make sure that their boats stay afloat no matter how harsh the storm is by taking into account different steps that ensure the survival of their business. Below are five ways that SME owners can grow their businesses during rough economic patches.

Sustaining and Growing your Existing Clientele


Whereas it is pivotal for businesses to grow their client base, it is equally important to maintain and retain their existing customers. While at first, it might seem counterintuitive to prioritize your existing clients over acquiring new ones, research has shown that a long-term customer is of more value than a single-deal customer, and it is substantially less expensive to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one. Long-haul customers are not easily maintained; businesses have long done so by keeping track of customer satisfaction with the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; SMEs can also stay aligned with customers’ needs by aligning with the latest innovation and even staying connected with their customers with the help of instant messaging apps specially tailored for businesses.


SME Marketing and Promotion


While the world of advertising and promotion seems to have been a financial hassle on SMEs previously; today, low barriers for entry provided by social media platforms as well as different digital tools present a massive opportunity for SMEs to market their product offerings and drive sales up. Be it by creating a website of their own, using Google’s search engine marketing service, or even utilizing social media platforms all the while coupling it with email marketing or direct mailing. However, a bigger marketing mix also means more complexity and increased spending; hence, SME marketing departments should take into account the platform and tools that provide them with the best return on investment and keep on top of the latter in the ultimate aim of reaching their long and short term objectives.


Paying Off your Business or Personal Debt


While this step seems a bit counterintuitive to be discussed for SMEs, a lot of business owners fail to keep up the momentum to pay off their debt and end up posing serious financial threats to their companies. By paying outstanding debt, SME owners can have more peace of mind and security given that they now own their assets and are now out of the mercy of their financial lenders; hence, providing them with more room to maneuver in the ultimate goal of growing their business. Reducing the number of bills you pay also increases your future earnings which in its turn presents an opportunity for increased growth at a later stage.


Securing your Connections


It is no secret that connections are sometimes the lifeline of businesses; from tapping into your supplier’s network, to being well connected with syndicates and officials, strengthening your relationships with your stakeholders can provide you with great momentum to navigate the business landscape. While not an easy task to maintain, business owners can strengthen such connections by maintaining personal contacts through regular meet-ups coupled with digital greetings. Alongside such contacts, business owners should show such stakeholders how these connections empower both the SME and the partner.


Wise Investments and Budgeting


From strong multinationals to local shops and businesses, financial fluctuations are a regular business occurrence where the wisest of business owners are ones that take deep thought into organizing balanced budgets and investments. Among many measures, SME owners should weigh their risks and opportunities carefully, overestimate their expenses to protect themselves from unanticipated costs, and keep an eye on trends and sales cycle to better plan and forecast their budgets and investments in the longer run.

While such measures truly provide an overview of growth and maintenance for SMEs, business owners need to keep in mind that every business is unique by its own account. Therefore, business model personalization as well as specifically tailored policies and measures are of vast importance and should be thought of on a case by case basis in order to further grow SMEs substantially.

 


References:
http://www.edinburgh-group.org/media/2776/edinburgh_group_research_-_growing_the_global_economy_through_smes.pdf
https://www.thebalance.com/reasons-to-pay-off-debt-960047
https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/02634500110363583
https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/2016-smesmb-marketing-trends/
https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/11-tips-for-creating-more-powerful-business-connections.html
https://thenextscoop.com/budget-tips-small-business-owners/

Growing Your SME in Tough Economic Times

In regions all over the world, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are shone with the spotlight, as evidence from Edinburgh Group suggests that these companies make up more than 95% of enterprises and account for approximately 60% of the private sector employment globally. Yet, such businesses as versatile as they seem, are not immune to different economic downturns that vary from increased unemployment rates, decreased entrepreneurial confidence and stagnating financial developments wherever they may be. However, many SMEs continuously make sure that their boats stay afloat no matter how harsh the storm is by taking into account different steps that ensure the survival of their business. Below are five ways that SME owners can grow their businesses during rough economic patches.

Sustaining and Growing your Existing Clientele


Whereas it is pivotal for businesses to grow their client base, it is equally important to maintain and retain their existing customers. While at first, it might seem counterintuitive to prioritize your existing clients over acquiring new ones, research has shown that a long-term customer is of more value than a single-deal customer, and it is substantially less expensive to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one. Long-haul customers are not easily maintained; businesses have long done so by keeping track of customer satisfaction with the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; SMEs can also stay aligned with customers’ needs by aligning with the latest innovation and even staying connected with their customers with the help of instant messaging apps specially tailored for businesses.


SME Marketing and Promotion


While the world of advertising and promotion seems to have been a financial hassle on SMEs previously; today, low barriers for entry provided by social media platforms as well as different digital tools present a massive opportunity for SMEs to market their product offerings and drive sales up. Be it by creating a website of their own, using Google’s search engine marketing service, or even utilizing social media platforms all the while coupling it with email marketing or direct mailing. However, a bigger marketing mix also means more complexity and increased spending; hence, SME marketing departments should take into account the platform and tools that provide them with the best return on investment and keep on top of the latter in the ultimate aim of reaching their long and short term objectives.


Paying Off your Business or Personal Debt


While this step seems a bit counterintuitive to be discussed for SMEs, a lot of business owners fail to keep up the momentum to pay off their debt and end up posing serious financial threats to their companies. By paying outstanding debt, SME owners can have more peace of mind and security given that they now own their assets and are now out of the mercy of their financial lenders; hence, providing them with more room to maneuver in the ultimate goal of growing their business. Reducing the number of bills you pay also increases your future earnings which in its turn presents an opportunity for increased growth at a later stage.


Securing your Connections


It is no secret that connections are sometimes the lifeline of businesses; from tapping into your supplier’s network, to being well connected with syndicates and officials, strengthening your relationships with your stakeholders can provide you with great momentum to navigate the business landscape. While not an easy task to maintain, business owners can strengthen such connections by maintaining personal contacts through regular meet-ups coupled with digital greetings. Alongside such contacts, business owners should show such stakeholders how these connections empower both the SME and the partner.


Wise Investments and Budgeting


From strong multinationals to local shops and businesses, financial fluctuations are a regular business occurrence where the wisest of business owners are ones that take deep thought into organizing balanced budgets and investments. Among many measures, SME owners should weigh their risks and opportunities carefully, overestimate their expenses to protect themselves from unanticipated costs, and keep an eye on trends and sales cycle to better plan and forecast their budgets and investments in the longer run.

While such measures truly provide an overview of growth and maintenance for SMEs, business owners need to keep in mind that every business is unique by its own account. Therefore, business model personalization as well as specifically tailored policies and measures are of vast importance and should be thought of on a case by case basis in order to further grow SMEs substantially.

 


References:
http://www.edinburgh-group.org/media/2776/edinburgh_group_research_-_growing_the_global_economy_through_smes.pdf
https://www.thebalance.com/reasons-to-pay-off-debt-960047
https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/02634500110363583
https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/2016-smesmb-marketing-trends/
https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/11-tips-for-creating-more-powerful-business-connections.html
https://thenextscoop.com/budget-tips-small-business-owners/

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