Despite several economic and political challenges over the last five years, SMEs and local businesses still account for 99.9% of the UK’s business population. They help to diversify the market, contributing millions of pounds to our economy every year and offer customers a wide range and choice of products and services.
Local businesses are an important feature in our nation and often mirror the values of their communities. They help to provide career opportunities within their own towns and villages, boosting the local economy and ensuring the growth of neighbourhoods. On top of that, often with small staff numbers, job satisfaction remains high, as employees come to understand and appreciate the company, which can often work around their own lives.
So, with Local Business Week running 9th to 15th May 2022, now is an important time to champion and support those businesses within our reach. With that in mind, Chirag Shah, CEO and Founder of Nucleus Commercial Finance has shared five tips to help SMEs and local business owners maximise their potential:
- Create achievable goals to keep in sight: Not only will this help to keep you focused on boosting your business, but it will also help you to celebrate the smaller moments that are often overlooked. Be sure of what you want to stand for, so you don’t forget those values along the way and develop a plan on how to reach your business targets to maintain focus for both you and your employees.
- Make sure to invest in customer relationships: Sometimes, when caught up in the excitement and pressure of finding customers, it can be easy to forget to nurture and build upon those relationships. If you develop a personality that resonates with them, you’ll find yourself with customers who return, not necessarily just for what your business can offer, but also for the comforting customer service – and do repeat business for many years to come.
- Enhance and take advantage of your online presence: Having a social media page and website that is catching to the eye, easy to navigate and quick to find will serve you just as well as your customer service. See it is as an extended arm of your relationship with the customer but remember to invest in good cybersecurity to protect yourself and your stakeholders.
- Motivate your staff: They act as the important link between your product/service and your customers, so it’s important that they’re just as prepared and eager about the business as you are. Ensure that communication is open and clear to prevent misunderstandings and encourage taking annual leave to avoid burnout or workplace stress. It’s also important to know their limits so you don’t push for unachievable goals that only detract from achieving optimal performance in your employee’s long term.
- Lastly, but most importantly, keep your finances in check! Your business won’t be able to grow successfully if your finances are not well maintained, and the last thing you need is something like financially induced stress distracting you from what you want to achieve. Business loans are available for a variety of business types and needs, and the extra finance can help your company reach new targets, bolster growth, or cover any funding gaps.