7 Ways SMEs Can Take Their Business To The Next Level

It’s time to do things better, faster, easier. Here is BiTS’ list of 7 steps you can take to help you bridge your business from where it is right now and on to the next phase.

Wish you could do more to help your employees and improve customer service standards?

#1 Create Ownership 

By engaging your employees and creating ownership, your vision becomes theirs. Thus enabling your employees to act as a catalyst of growth for your business.

hands-making-equipment_1150-99

Creating ownership amongst your employees is one of the surest ways to get things moving and a great way to avoid pitfalls and missed opportunities.

There are 3 simple questions to get your employees more engaged in your business:

1: Where do you see room for improvement?

2: How can we improve these areas?

3: If this was your business and you could do anything at all, what would you do?

Their answers can help you see missed opportunities and areas to capitalise on, they can act as fuel for your ideas and plans.  In short, they might just be able to give you the inspiration you need to plan and strategise the path to your next phase of growth. If their suggestions fit in with your vision and goals for your company, even better. Find a way to incorporate part of their ideas and solutions into your overall plan. By engaging your employees and creating ownership, your vision becomes theirs. Thus enabling your employees to act as a catalyst of growth for your business.

#2 Identify your Weaknesses 

Utilise your data and feedback from your employees to identify areas for improvement. The numbers from your data will highlight the areas which can see increased productivity, lower growth or even a potential new market altogether. The feedback from your employees coupled with this data will help you to narrow down the issues and allow you to work on these areas.

By streamlining and improving processes, you can grow your existing market and increase your profit margins within your current workflow, thus helping you generate more cash flow for new initiatives down the line.

#3 Expand your Horizons

If you don’t feel your product can be repackaged any further and you don’t have the capital for an overseas expansion, think about exploring other markets in neighbouring regions.

By now you’ve likely narrowed down on your target market, and additional marketing efforts are seeing less of an impact. It’s time to expand your target market. By opening up your target market you will be able to widen your potential customer base drastically.

Expanding your target market could be as simple as repackaging your product to be more appealing to a completely different audience.

If you don’t feel your product can be repackaged any further and you don’t have the capital for an overseas expansion, think about exploring other markets in neighbouring regions. Partnering up with or franchising your brand to someone who knows the market well can be a great way to expand while keeping costs down.

#4 Diversify your Products

Product diversification can be a good way to get new customers on board and to further engage existing clients. Utilize your company strengths and methodology and apply it in a different service, product or even industry altogether.

A study by BDC showed that companies who are well diversified are much more financially stable and have a stronger chance of succeeding than businesses who aren’t.

While diversification can be a costly affair, it need not always be the case. Look at your core processes and work flows, highlight the areas that are underutilized or not essential and see how else you can manipulate it to create a more diversified portfolio.

Take DECC Company Inc. for example, a contract manufacturer who applied coatings almost exclusively for automotive components. By providing sufficient information on their processes, they were able to expand and diversify into a wide array of industries, from the military to commercial laundry.

Whether you’re in the services or goods game, utilizing your pre-existing work flow to create diversified products or services is always a good way to keep costs low. More often than not, companies will find that they DO have the capability of producing varied products and services by utilizing their existing workflow allowing them to grow without the cost.

#5 Manage your Costs

Ask your suppliers if they are able to offer you rebates and extend your credit terms, this improves your cash flow and allows you to grow your business faster whilst maintaining ideal relationships with your suppliers.

Learning to manage your costs effectively can allow you to generate higher cash flow and allows you to grow your business faster.

Manage your stock carefully and constantly look to new suppliers for quotations, utilize the quotations to negotiate with your existing vendors to bring down their current prices.

Ask your suppliers if they are able to offer you rebates and extend your credit terms, this improves your cash flow and allows you to grow your business faster whilst maintaining ideal relationships with your suppliers.

As an SME, you don’t want to spend all your time chasing up on clients for late payments. Be tough with clients by imposing late payment charges to discourage them from delaying payments. Prompt payments ensure you’ve covered your costs incurred and prevent extra monetary and time costs spent on recouping payments.

#6 Test the Waters

Venturing into another avenue to grow your business can be a costly affair. Jumping head first in can sometimes prove fatal for SMEs as costs overrun them before the new venture has had time to take off.

Collaboration can be a highly effective tool to help you bridge the gap. If you’re thinking of expanding from E-commerce into retail but lack the funds to do so, think about utilizing existing retailers who have the same target market as you. Strike a deal to have them sell your products to customers for you and get your brand name out there before launching into a retail store of your own.

#7 Get Digital 

Time. There’s never enough of it. The solution? Get digital.

Time. There’s never enough of it. The solution? Get digital.

Move towards automating processes and free up your time to focus on the things that really matter. Decrease costs by improving cross department communications and preventing double jobs by improving communications between your different departments. Utilize a shared digital space to keep all your essential staff and project managers on top of things in real time.

When employees spend time handling, mundane, time intensive processes, the growth plan takes a longer time to implement resulting in high opportunity costs. Going digital allows staff to utilize their time on critical and much needed areas, accelerating business growth.

This article was originally published on BiTS. BiTS is a global network of experts and professionals headquartered in Singapore as Business IT Systems. They are dedicated to empowering small and medium businesses to realise their full potential through enterprise technologies in South-East Asia.

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from BiTS

7 Benefits of Using an ERP system for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a software designed to streamline data into...
Read More

Leave a Reply