Have you ever thought about the idea of being your own boss? Well, research has found that four in five UK 16-21-year-olds have expressed an interest in starting up their own business. In fact, predictions show that 2018 is going to end on a high, making it another record year for startups in the UK.
So, what’s the best way to expand your SME? How will you keep your company ticking over a healthy profit? Here, we look at which ways can best improve and grow your business.
A well-drilled advertising strategy can be a great asset to your business. 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.
If you were looking for a relatively inexpensive way of advertising in which you can gain local customers, you should look at 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.
Press releases are another method. Send them out about your business to local or 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
Having an online presence is another great way in which you can make sure your name is in front of your intended 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.
Have you made sure that your business is on sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local? If not, get straight to it! 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.
You should make sure your business has a strong social media presence. 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
In 2013, the UK had 234,000 electricians registered. By 2017, this number had risen 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.
Giving each employee access to transport would allow them to always be ‘on call’. They could also service a wider target audience and carry all their tools and equipment with you at all times 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.
Electricians stated in a recent survey that the VW Transporter was the ideal vehicle for their line of work due 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.
Expanding your fleet can work for other industries too. 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
While this may seem like another straightforward point, many companies aren’t proactive and don’t have a suitable 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.
A good marketing plan works by outlining all main points in your business. This starts by understanding your target audience and touches on knowing where you stand in that market and how you can 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.
We all like to think that our ideas will be a success, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back to ensure that we’re a bit more savvy and allow our plan to be successful. These simple steps above should help you grow your business in a smooth manner.