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7 top tips for business success in 2019

January 8, 2019

It takes time to build a successful business and like most things, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. You need a hefty dose of patience and creativity, and preferably a strategy for the way forward.

Now is the perfect time to review your business and take stock. How was 2018? Did you encounter any major issues and if you did, how did you overcome them? Perhaps you’ve just bounced back from a problem and you need to figure out how to improve things this year.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub is here for you. We help SMEs in Staffordshire to reach their full potential by offering help and advice with a range of topics: from applying for grant funding for equipment to our free business diagnostics. You can find out more about what we do by calling our business helpline on 0300 111 8002. For now, here are some tips for business success in 2019.

Our tips for business success in 2019

1. Update your business plan. You may not have looked at it in a while, so this is a great place to check it is still current and relevant. You’ll have learned a lot more since writing it so it’s good to revisit your strategy and consider emerging trends and issues in your industry.

Your plan should give you a clear view on how you can maximise your income, reduce your losses and cut expenses. If you need a little help writing a business plan, click here for a template. 

2. Keep your customers happy. According to a survey conducted by American Express, 78% of consumers have cancelled or not made an intended purchase due to poor customer service. The first thing a lot of people do these days is look for reviews before making a purchase. They want to know they can trust your business and they are relying on your other customers to flag any issues.

Loyal customers are much easier to sell to, so you should make customer service a priority. You can do this by responding promptly, listening to people and being transparent. If your business is experiencing high demand over a busy period or is a little behind because you suffered a power cut, let your customers know and manage their expectations. They’ll appreciate being kept in the loop.

3. Invest in old-school marketing. How can people buy from you if they don’t know your business exists? You can expand your traditional marketing by doing things like: sending out discounts with your invoices; joining professional organisations; creating press releases; offering free workshops related to your products or services; developing business partnerships; advertising your business on your vehicle.

4. Invest in digital marketing. Start by planning a website. It should include your business details, services, contact information, address with Google Maps link, a mission statement and USPs, testimonials and an active blog or news feed – unless for some reason you don’t want to be found through search engines.

Consider social media marketing – it’s easier and cheaper than you think. You can set any budget you want, so if you can only spare £20 per month, then try it. Use different forms of messaging and targeting and remember to include a call to action in your posts. If you have a completely new page, why not just boost the page itself to help people find you? Got a great new product or service? Make a sponsored post promoting it.

5. Cut your business costs. Keep track of your expenses by using technology to make the job easier. There are loads of mobile apps for expense tracking and even some Cloud-based accounting apps which allow you to automatically add expense information to your system by taking a picture of your receipt!

Take a look at your major costs like office space, business insurance, staffing and vehicle expenses. For example, are you based in the right size space for your business needs and is it laid out in the most effective and productive way for your business?  There are people who can help you look at your business processes to maximise your efficiency.

Review your suppliers and see if there is a way to keep those costs down. If you’re not 100% happy with a supplier, you can always try another for a smaller job to test the water. You may find a much better offer.

6. Get the right people and treat them fairly. You may have been trying to achieve something for years to no avail and suddenly the right members of staff come along and it all changes. By hiring skilled people who genuinely care about your industry and your business you can really expand your horizons. Don’t forget about morale and to make them feel valued; consider training programmes to increase their skills and even expand some of the services you offer.

7. Look after yourself. Running a business can be stressful to say the least. Make sure you allow time for yourself, your health and your family and friends. Never feel like you are in it alone or you don’t want to burden others with your worries – a problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t forget to do the things in life that you enjoy, and remember to step back once in a while and be thankful for all you have achieved and the people who have made it possible.

 

Do you have any tips for business success in 2019? Let us know by following us on Twitter  @sslepgrowthhub or on LinkedIn by searching Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub.

Call the Business Helpline to find out how we can help your business. Call 0300 111 8002.