SME sector says Business is looking brighter

SME sector sees growth potential in UK

Although the economic crisis continues to place severe pressure on small and medium-sized businesses and make trading conditions difficult, the outlook is encouraging.

SMEs account for the majority of all enterprise in the UK and feedback indicates many are placing themselves in the best possible position to survive and prosper by running a tighter ship, streamlining services and becoming more customer-focused as they work hard to retain existing clients.

A recent survey indicated four fifths of SMEs believe that 2012 will be better than 2011.

Consumers still value the individual care and attention to detail a small business can offer and those SMEs which invest time in nurturing the relationship they share with their customers will encourage loyalty and satisfaction.

Advances in social media and digital marketing have widened the opportunities for businesses to communicate with their customers and develop stronger relationships. Social media, in particular, gives businesses a direct route to their customers and provides a valuable insight into their habits and preferences. It’s one of the most cost-effective options for building brand awareness and the information collected can be used to modify sales and marketing projects to be more personal to specific customers.

Evidence shows more and more SMEs are embracing social media and using it to manage their reputation and the relationships they have with their customers. They are also measuring their performance by actively seeking feedback from customers and welcoming complaints so they can improve service standards.

Many small or medium sized businesses are also reporting good profits despite the economic downturn and are seeing a steady stream of work. Although the financial climate has led to cost-cutting and staff losses, the result has been a more streamlined operation which is both competitive and growth-orientated.

However, despite the growing optimism, the availability of finance continues to be an on-going concern among SMEs and a barrier to growth. Banks are now much more likely to reject loan applications and overdraft requests as they did before the financial crisis. Many businesses are reluctant to even attempt to apply for finance because of the perception they would be unsuccessful.

Taken from a discussion at Business Exposure Group

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