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Analysis / Enterprise

How To Expand Your SME

Grow Your SME

If you’ve ever thought of owning your own business, you’re not alone. Research shows that four out of five 16-21 year-olds in the UK have shown an interest in being their own boss. It’s in fact predicted that 2018 is going to end on a high, making it yet another record-breaking year for start-ups in the UK.

So, how do you make sure your SME keeps turning over a healthy profit? Here, we discuss the best ways in which you can improve and grow your business.

Advertising

Okay, so it might sound obvious, but an excellent advertising strategy is a huge asset for your company. 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.

A way to advertise which is relatively inexpensive is 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.

Other methods could include sending press releases 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

An online presence is another excellent way to 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.

If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve claimed your local listing on sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. 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.

It’s also a great chance to build your name by using social media. 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

There were 234,000 electricians in the UK in 2013. 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.

Access to transport can mean that your employees can always be ‘on call’ and they can also service a wider target audience. As well as this, they can 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.

A recent survey revealed that electricians believe the VW Transporter is ideal for their line of work. This is thanks 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.

However, it’s not just the manual labour industry who may benefit from fleet expansion. 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

A solid marketing plan is something that should be straightforward. Well, maybe so, but many companies aren’t proactive and haven’t got a strong 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.

In order to have a good marketing plan, you’ll normally outline the main points in your business, starting with understanding your target audience and running through to 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’d love to believe that our idea is fool proof, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and take more notice of possible faults to ensure that our plans are successful. These simple steps above should help you grow your business in a smooth manner.

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James is an Outreach Executive at Mediaworks Online Marketing and covers a number of clients across a wide range of business sectors, helping them to grow their online portfolios through engaging content.