Categories
Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Betrayed trust – a lesson for all SMEs

Like the public’s trust in politicians, the consumers’ trust in a wide range of businesses has plummeted.
They include energy suppliers, banks, insurance companies, mobile phone companies and the big supermarkets. All have been guilty of marketing complex offers for products, purporting to be better value, in such a way that consumers cannot with any confidence compare them.
Betrayed trust has led to a marked change in buying behaviour such that people no longer stick with one supplier.
The most noticeable moves have been in the grocery retail sector, where companies like Aldi and Lidl have seen their profits rise by up to 10% and one of the biggest casualties has been Tesco, whose behaviour towards both suppliers and customers has been exposed as less than honourable.
Generally, consumers will assess the value and affordability of a higher-priced product compared with a cheaper one and will buy whichever suits them, but only if they feel they are getting value for money.
It is a mistake to believe consumers can be bamboozled by alleged bargains that then turn out not to be. It is also a mistake to insult their intelligence.
Giving fair value, good service and a reputation for being trustworthy are valuable assets for any business’ reputation. There is a lesson and an opportunity here for SMEs, who can often demonstrate these qualities in a way that the bigger organisations cannot.
The key ingredient is trust.
How do you demonstrate trustworthiness to your customers?

Categories
Banks, Lenders & Investors Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Insolvency Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Don’t let fear rule your business behaviour

A researcher in the USA asked small business owners what they most feared or worried about and we would argue that the findings would be the same or similar in the UK.
Top concerns were fear of failure, no customers, poor sales, wasting money on ineffective marketing, financial failure and negative effects on their personal lives.
Some would argue that a certain amount of fear can be a great motivator to keep the adrenaline flowing as human beings thrive on challenge.
However, too much fear can be overwhelming and paralysing, resulting in an inability to make decisions, let alone take risks. Decision making is a fundamental necessity in business, as is facing up to problems if the business is in difficulty. Especially critical are when problems involve cash flow, creditor pressure and litigation that might lead to insolvency.
Regardless of whether we are motivated or paralysed by challenges the worst path to take is to keep our thoughts to ourselves or to ignore a situation.
It is always helpful to share ideas and problems, whether a small business is planning for growth or needs to make changes if survival is in jeopardy.
A business advisor, experienced colleague or friend is likely not only to be on your side but also able to take a dispassionate view and may well produce ideas or solutions you haven’t thought of. Certainly the act of expressing what is on your mind will help you to clarify an issue and may also reduce the stress to manageable proportions where paralysis gives way to effective action.