As a small or medium business, flourishing and growing against the relentless onslaught of the turbulent times takes a lot more tenacity than applying the power of positive thinking.
Pessimism is more pervasive in the North of England with 17 per cent of SMEs thinking about throwing in the towel compared with five per cent in the Midlands and seven per cent in London. Eighty four per cent of decision makers are not confident that the economic situation will improve over the next quarter and more than two thirds lack confidence when looking ahead to 2013.
As a business strategist who has boosted the profitability of SMEs through previous recessions and added £110 million to the bottom line of a select group of business owners in the last decade alone – here are some golden nuggets to ensure you emerge triumphant at the finishing line.
Go Against the Flow
Take action when others are fearful. Hire outperforming staff with the mental toughness to help power your team through the turbulence ahead and invest in expansion when competitors are downsizing and making redundancies. Constantly raise the bar by challenging peoples’ thinking.
Get Closer to Your Customers
Stick like proverbial glue to your customers. Make time to talk to them, ask them about how they are finding things in their marketplace and what their future forecast and plans are like.
Understand that Growth is About Projects not Processes
Establish which three projects need to be completed before the year end to increase turnover, raise margins and profits, boost productivity and get new ideas and offerings to market. Keep Innovating as most innovation and development projects produce the best results within the first 90 days.
Stay Focused on Your Vision
Know where you and your business needs to be in five to ten years’ time; have a vision of what the business will be doing, with whom and where. Establish what the company will look like and how it will be perceived by outsiders, staff, customers and stakeholders.
Create a Culture of Intimacy
Aligned with the above, create a culture of intimacy with staff, customers and suppliers, where people feel a personal connection. This entails articulating, demonstrating and imbuing the company with a higher purpose which may relate to the work the business does, the way it does it, the good that comes from doing it – or a combination of all three. If you consistently provide an extraordinary experience that customers can’t get anywhere else, their satisfaction and happiness will permeate to customers, staff, suppliers and wider stakeholders.
Turbocharge Your Sales and Marketing Campaign
SMEs highlighted online marketing as one of three key opportunities for their companies in the Zurich Index. Ensure you have a louder “share of voice” and get in front of potential customers as much as you can. Upgrade the sales and negotiation skills of your salespeople so they secure the maximum value out of every sales contact.
As a business strategist I can help you to rise above the SME doom and gloom to enable you to flourish – leave a comment below, or e-mail me via firstname.lastname@example.org, go to @richardwhatif on Twitter, Richard Bosworth on LinkedIn or post on www.whatifforums.com.