In this series of blogs, we will address some of the issues faced by growing owner managed businesses in the brave new world of the UK leaving the EU. What the future holds remains uncertain, however there’s steps you can take to ensure your business is ready to adapt where and when it needs to. In this Insight, we will focus on some possible opportunities and solutions for growing businesses.
Be customer centric
As soon as the decision to leave the EU was announced exchange rates moved and large projects were placed on hold. However, as with any major economic change, there are opportunities for those imaginative or nimble enough to spot a gap.
Larger businesses have massive resources but in general are slow decision makers and this is where the smaller business may have an advantage. Smaller businesses can spot an opportunity, work out what’s needed and get on with it in the space of a few days while the larger business may still be deciding who to invite to the pre-planning meeting. The opportunities for each business will be different; customers may change their needs, new markets might pop up, competitors may stumble. These opportunities are outside your business and to spot them you will need to be actively watching your external environment.
The listening business is a skill set that pays dividends in changing times. Ensure you have the knowledge you need by encouraging cross-functional team meetings and the sharing of valuable information picked up from customer-facing team members. Getting closer to your current or potential customers is invaluable. Instead of marketing heavily and rushing out offers, consider listening and asking what they are looking for in terms of information or help. You want your customer to view your business as more than just a supplier, but a partner they can rely on to meet their needs.
The exchange rate volatility will benefit some. While sterling is low, businesses exporting have a serious advantage. Couple this with the excellence in engineering or professional service available in the UK, you may find there are many possible opportunities to boost overseas trade. Exporting is an area that the UK government actively supports and extensive help is available to businesses from UKTI.
Get the message out
For those more at home with the local market, the relatively weak pound means there may be a preference for UK made goods by consumers or businesses, as imported goods are more expensive.
New fresh marketing always attracts attention but we predict many will rerun their ‘Made in Britain’, ‘Great British …’ campaigns promoting the lower relative prices but local service quality available on the doorstep. High quality and well placed marketing requires an expert but you can easily undertake simple marketing in-house. Making an effort to listen to your customers and focusing on what they say is important will help carve your strategy. In changing times, some businesses hold back on marketing, but by focussing your marketing efforts based on listening to your customers, there is an opportunity to make a big impact on a shoestring budget. Assistance for the costs of these projects is available from NBSL for Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and from Tees Valley Business Compass for Tees Valley businesses.
If you want to be agile and jump on opportunities or capture market space with well researched marketing and sales resources, contact us with your growth plan and see how much we would be prepared to provide to make it happen.
For more insights into growing a business see our website.