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Banks, Lenders & Investors Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

How do you stay ahead of your competition?

In the choppy and uncertain economic climate of early 2015, while the outcomes of the UK election, Eurozone QE and the new Greek Government’s efforts to renegotiate its debts are still uncertain, investment in business and consumer spending are likely to remain muted.
Currencies fluctuate, commodity prices, not only oil, yoyo and business margins continue to be squeezed.
In these circumstances what can a small business to develop and grow rather than simply survive?
While it will be necessary to continue to keep a tight control on cash flow and to have a clear marketing strategy, the three main opportunities for growth are improving employee productivity, looking to new markets such as overseas, and innovation to offer a ground-breaking new product or service.
These drivers of growth rely on investment in marketing, equipment and R&D, but your competitors can copy this if they see it working.
Culture, however is more difficult to copy where getting it right is key to implementing change. People really are the greatest asset in a business.
In today’s highly competitive world change is the new normal and standing still is no longer an option.
Investing in people, their training, development and welfare is the best way of achieving growth as they are needed to implement the changes necessary to stay ahead of your competition.

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Business Development & Marketing General Uncategorized

The marketing value of "thank you" in business

We recently heard of a SME owner who sent out a New Year’s greeting card to their customers and suppliers with a hand-written thank you message for their support during the year.
It was a small thing, but thoughtful, personal and hugely appreciated judging by all the positive comments it generated on social media, which turned the courtesy into a great piece of marketing.
We also know of a very successful cosmetic surgeon who wrote a hand-written note as a follow-up to the contacts he made and as a result built a successful business which he attributed to his personal attention in writing letters.
As the economic recovery continues increasing numbers of small traders and SME start-ups are appearing and not all of them are offering something unique, so the competition is heating up.
Despite the pace of change and the digital revolution they will need a way to differentiate themselves from the rest.
Hand written and personal thank you messages could be an effective way of doing this and therefore still have a place in the marketing mix.
Have you tried it and with what results?

Categories
Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Getting the price right is all about quality and a personal service

Price and fee setting are thorny issues for SMEs.
Who has not been advised to “stick to your guns” when a client or customer tries to negotiate a lower quote and been assured that they will not lose the customer?
Who has not been told by some guru to “put your prices up” as an indicator that you’re offering a superior service in which you have faith?
Then there are those customers who ask for free or heavily discounted work on the “promise” of further contracts or the loss leader that’s supposed to hook the customer into buying more.
It is easy for the consultant to give advice but how often do they amend it to suit prevailing conditions?
And right now, in most sectors there is an oversupply of most businesses and services and not all the existing businesses will survive.
Those that do will be those businesses that have been wise enough to understand and employ an astute mix of marketing and pricing models that may well include discounting, loss leaders or a range of services at different price points from basic to premium to keep the orders flowing in and the customers happy.
But more than that they will only survive if they can demonstrate quality and a personal service that is the hallmark of many SMEs by comparison with the bigger fish.