For SMEs

When you are running your own business you have to do a certain anount of marketing when you first start out. It might be creating a website, having leaflets, copious amounts of social media and lots of networking. The fact is that you need to get your name and brand out there in whatever way you can and Business Exhibitions are another tool in the bag

.In the last 12 months I have visited 4 exhibitions as a delegate and actually taken a stand at another with very mixed results and I've learned much from the experience. I make no bones about the fact that not all businesses would find this the right way of marketing but I for one am not so dismissive of the concept despite some poor results which were in hindsight, largely my fault. The reason is that you are only as successful as your ability to attract the potential clients onto the stand and the organisers ability to generate footfall.So some lessons for me:-

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Recently, KPMG announced that they were no longer selling consulting services to the FTSE 350 clients that they already audited. A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with a client who wanted to diversify into a completely different business. This morning I had a meeting with someone who was running two separate businesses on which there was potentially some cross-over. What have these three things got in common?

The answer is clarity of message.

Managing your relationship with your customer from the start of your dealings with them can help

reduce write offs.

Successful businesses that survive the tough times and thrive in the good times have robust

processes. They will start with a prospect check before beating a sales path to the door of their

new prospective customer. What do we mean by this? Well, let’s say a sales representative has 50

prospects he would like to approach there is little point in him spending two weeks chasing one

or more only to find out that they don’t pass the company policy on account opening. A quick ‘prospect check’ can save much time and it will indicate whether that prospect is the next golden customer or a potential liability.

I have never been slow to share a good idea with my readers; even when it comes from someone else.Ian Crocombe of Iandi Business Solutions has come up with a new slant on an old problem; the impact of change throughout your organisation. I can do no better than let him tell it in his own words...over to you Ian

"Change activity where nothing really changes, improvement where nothing seems to get better or work that just doesn’t work. Sound familiar?

There is a way to achieve great change, to continuously improve and to ensure work meets the needs of the organisation, its customers/users, members and colleagues.

We call it ‘business ecosystem thinking’.

Ecosystem is a term often used in biology to describe a community of living organisms like plants and animals interacting with each other in a given area and how those interactions take place in a non living environment. The non living environment includes the weather, sun, soil, climate and atmosphere.  We’ve taken inspiration from nature to describe another sort of ecosystem where living organisms - people - interact with each other in a non living environment made up of buildings, computers, phones, tablets and so on. 

Every business, social enterprise, charity, club or society has their own unique ecosystem, factors that allow it to thrive and threats that can potentially harm it. 

To quote the oft repeated phrase “a sale is not a sale until it is paid for”.

Being realistic though, all businesses, and in particular SME’s have to take calculated risks with credit from time to time. However any risks should be based on the potential of a profitable return and they should be educated risks.

There is little point in being turnover rich, profit poor. Equally there is no value to be had having many suppliers that end up in credit notes or write-offs. A balanced common sense approach is always the answer.

Visit your clients and customers and gauge their enthusiasm about their own business but as mentioned in previous articles do find out why each new customer is considering giving their business to you.