With the UK economy confidence levels low, here's some ways you can lay the foundations for the future success of your company.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) along with David Cameron indicated optimism for UK growth yesterday while the International Monetary Fund is expecting a 0.4% shrinking of the UK economy. So what can you do to buffer your business from the effects of this unpredictable economy?
For UK focused firms it can be a struggle to foresee the future, but it's even more bleak for those invested in Europe. The OECD has shown further weakening growth in the Eurozone as a whole and Japanese/US growth remains stagnant.
Here are a few ways to protect your firm during turbulent economic times and prepare a solid foundation for when the economy returns to growth.
1. Keeping your costs low is essential. This cannot be emphasised enough. Be ruthless about cutting out unnecessary spending and choose instead to invest across areas that will show a positive return on investment and will truly benefit the business. Many businesses are choosing to invest in their websites and software to create real efficiency and cut overheads.
2. Know your target market. Many businesses fail to focus on the their target customer or end consumer. Get to know them well and research who you are selling to and find out as much as possible about them and then give them what they want. Put them at the heart of all your business activities and you may be surprised by the results.
3. Find your unique selling point (USP) Your USP is the single minded most compelling benefit your business offers it's customers. Clearly differentiating your business from your competitors is essential. What can you do that they can’t? You might aspire to a USP and then start to shift your business processes in order to deliver it. A good starting point is to focus on your core competencies; what are you good at? Concentrating on your biggest areas of strength may just be the thing that helps get your business through any downturns.
4. Be the best (or try to be) Following the previous point, try to be the best in your field. Whether it be in quality, price, service or convenience, if you can prove that you are the best through consistent actions, not only will you drive repeat business, but you will have the case-studies that can be used to persuade potential new customers to do business with you. Staying positive, having belief in yourself, your team and your capabilities will pay off in the long run.
5. Provide excellent customer service. Even in this digital age, great customer service never goes unnoticed and will be rewarded with loyalty and word of mouth recommendations. On the other side of the coin, bad news travels very fast in this digital age. With social media and the likes of feedback forums, trip advisor and online reviews, there is a plethora of ways your customers can spread the news about a bad experience. Great customer service is great for business. It allows you to justify a higher price premium and helps you run the type of business you can be proud of.
6. Marketing your company does not have to be expensive. There are dozens of inexpensive marketing tactics business owners can get involved in, in fact every touch point you have with your customers is a chance to market your business. From writing regular blogs, basic email marketing campaigns, keeping your linked in profile up-dated, getting involved in social media and ensuring your website is updated, there are countless small ways to grow awareness of your business to your target audience.
With the directors of Williams Commerce having started up and run their own online businesses during tough economic times and having built over 100 websites for the wholesale and retail sector, the Williams Commerce team are in a position to offer real commercial advice on how to establish the foundations to grow a successful business online. These six points are just some of the ways that can help to make sure your company will be able to survive unpredictable economic factors, gain that competitive edge and grow your brand online.
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BBC News. (2012). David Cameron: Rebalancing UK economy 'slow and difficult. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19881293. Last accessed 09/10/2012.
eHow. (2012). How to Find Your Target Market. Available: http://www.ehow.com/how_2156161_find-target-market.html. Last accessed 10/10/2012.
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The Telegraph. (2012). OECD indicators suggest UK growth as eurozone slows. Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9593853/OECD-indicators-suggest-UK-growth-as-eurozone-slows.html.
Last accessed 09/10/2012.