How to keep your company afloat in uncertain times

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Here, we look at some of the calculated risks you might want to try to get ahead with your business.

In these straitened times, small businesses need as much help as they can get. By the end of March 2017, the entire country will be thrown into uncertainty when the government triggers Brexit with Article 50, which in all likelihood will create yet another referendum for Scottish independence.

If you’re the owner of an SME, these fluctuating political times are probably leaving you incredibly risk averse with your business decisions. But with increased conservatism comes increased stagnancy, eventually leaving your company less sustainable than a rainforest surrounded by bulldozers.

The truth is, there’s only one way to expand your business – to take risks. Yet some risks are safer than others, what the layperson would call a ‘safe bet’.

To help you expand your business on stable ground, we’ve come up with a few of these options. Take a look.

Give your staff an education

Your workers are one of the most valuable parts of your SME, and they should be nurtured as much as possible to make sure your profit margins continue to grow.

One of the most effective ways to develop their skills is to enrol them in a distance learning course designed specifically to give them greater corporate knowhow and improve the turnover of your business.

Many universities like Birmingham City University provide courses which are tailored specially to the working environment, and will exponentially improve employee performance. Sounds like a sure-fire bet to us.

Look into funding

Although the government seems intent on austerity measures across the board, grants for small businesses are still a real possibility. These can range from employee training initiatives to basic injections of funding to get startups on their feet.

In order to receive these potentially vital pieces of funding, you’ll have to make a strong case about why you need them, and your finances will have to be squeaky clean. You may also have to undergo regular assessments to ensure you’re putting the money to good use.

The availability of government grants changes regularly, and you might become eligible for one when you least expect it. So keep your eyes peeled regularly on the government’s website.

Get direct with your customers

Advertising is a dicey and pricey proposition, especially if you don’t know what your core demographic is. Are you appealing to under-25s with dyed hair and a love of punk music? Or maybe the over-65s have taken a liking to your services?

No matter your audience, communicating with them as directly as possible is vital to keeping your company afloat.

That means a website tailored towards the customers you’re chasing, including shareable content that they’d find appealing. It also means canvassing your local area and ensuring that word of mouth is positive no matter where you go.

Even if you hire a high-calibre media agency, this can be a costly and time-consuming process, and there’s no guarantee it’ll work as effectively as you hope.

What it will do is push your company’s name into the public sphere, which can be enough to lure people into your business if your USP is strong enough.

As with the rest of our options, advertising is an alchemy rather than a guarantee. But if you do the right research before you begin a marketing campaign, you’ll be sure to gain (and hopefully retain) a great deal of new customers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making the best decisions for your small business. If you’ve got any suggestions you’re itching to share with us, let us know in the comments below.

Source: Ben Lobel - Smallbusiness.co.uk

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