How to expand your SME
Posted: Oct 14, 2018
In the UK, the idea of starting your own business greatly appeals to many. In fact, research states that 80% of 16-21-year-olds have expressed an interest in being their own boss. It’s even predicted that 2018 is going to end on a high, meaning that another record year for startups in the UK could be on its way.
So, what should you do to make sure your SME continues to expand and tick over a healthy profit? Here, we look at the best ways to improve and grow your business.Advertising
While it may seem an obvious place to start, correct advertising is vital for your business and is overlooked by some. Whether this is online or in person, your brand has to be in the public’s attention. Many people assume that advertising campaigns will be too costly for the size of their business, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A relatively inexpensive way of advertising and gaining local customers is with leaflet distribution. Surveys have found that 89% of people remember receiving door-drop mail, with almost half admitting that they keep the leaflets on a board or in the kitchen drawer. Of course, what your company is selling will alter your success rate, but getting your name in front of your audience is crucial and this is an effective method.
Another useful method is to send press releases out regarding your business to local and national newspapers, radio stations, and magazines. Certain local papers have sections especially for small business news, so it could be a great way to get your name in front of potential customers in your area. Business cards also work in the same way, with many local shops having a pin board for small businesses to advertise their services for a small fee.Grow an online presence
Similarly to advertising, having an online presence is an excellent way for you to get your name in front the correct audience. This means you must make sure that your company’s website is user friendly. It’s not enough to just have a site which is live – if your website isn’t pleasing on the eye, or information is difficult to find, then any potential customer is likely to be put off from using your services as it looks unprofessional.
If you haven’t already, make sure you add your business to local listings on sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. You’d be amazed at how many local businesses don’t sign up for these free services. By simply providing the search engines with your details, your business is getting free advertising and getting put in front of a huge audience who may well stumble across your brand when searching for a product you provide.
Social media is an important tool in which to build a name for yourself. With customers always wanting to know how other people have fared, sites such as Facebook can be a great location for positive feedback. By interacting and engaging with your audience on a regular basis, your brand is likely to stay at the forefront of their attention and who knows when they might just need your services? After all, word of mouth is a huge tool and most conversation starters these days come from social media posts!Expand your fleet
Between 2013 and 2017 the number of electricians in the UK had risen from 234,000 to 265,000. With apprenticeships in manual labour sought after for those who don’t want to attend university, there are many SME electrician companies to choose from. In this industry, and other manual labour roles, including plumbing, the role realistically requires access to a vehicle and if you plan to expand your company, then your fleet would have to grow too.
It could be a great asset if you give your employees access to transport. Not only would this mean that they are available ‘on call’ and can service a wider target audience, but they can always also carry all their tools and equipment with you so there wouldn’t be the risk of them not having the tools needed for a specific job. This would mean there’s an opportunity to earn more money and satisfy your customers.
A recent survey found that electricians recommend the VW Transporter for an ideal mode of transport thanks to its reliability and economic fuel consumption. And don’t be scared off by the initial outlay. Many car companies offer a great leasing service that is affordable to you and won’t hinder your expansion plans.
However, it isn’t only those in manual labour who can benefit from fleet expansion. Company cars with personal body wraps on can make sure your name is always reaching a new audience wherever your staff go.Have a solid marketing plan
This is another point that should sound pretty straightforward. Well, maybe so, but many companies aren’t proactive and haven’t got a strong marketing plan in place. It’s as simple as setting realistic goals and making an in-depth to-do list where you can focus on your expansion schedules and make sure that you are spending your resources correctly and appropriately.
With a good marketing plan you should outline all main points regarding your business, from knowing your target audience, to understanding where you stand in that market and how you are able to progress. It should also look at the costs involved in moving forward and this would make sure you avoid throwing money away by blindly targeting wrong areas of the business.
So, although we’d all love for our ideas to be fool proof, sometimes it’s important to step back and consider if our plans are going to be successful. These simple steps above should help you grow your business in a smooth manner.
James is an Outreach Executive at Mediaworks Online Marketing and covers a number of clients across a wide range of business sectors, helping them to grow their online portfolios through engaging content.