A lack of optimism throughout small businesses?
Following the announcement of the government's 2014 Small Business Survey, there has been an increase in confidence amongst businesses in the UK since 2012. 5,115 small businesses were surveyed and results show that 73% are planning for growth in the next 12 months.
However, in a report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), it is suggested that a further look into the detail of the survey results show that there are dwindling levels of optimism.
Only 28% of businesses surveyed feel that they are confident enough to enter into new markets. In addition to this, only 44% of businesses think that they are good at developing and introducing new or improved products and services.
In addition to this, Johnston Press and BuzzBoard reported that 44% of small businesses do not have a website, 71% (of those that do) aren't mobile ready and 69% do not use Twitter.
These further worrying results show that there are many businesses that aren't embracing the positive business environment that the UK is currently enjoying.
It is important that, especially as a small business, you take all opportunities that come in your direction - If you don't, your competitors most certainly will (60% of businesses from the government's survey explained that they felt competition was a major barrier to success).
Engaging with customers on (free) social networking sites is paramount to simple marketing. With such free tools oozing with potential customers, you would be crazy not to cradle the power of the social network.
In addition to this, embracing new technology is another lesson that should be learned from this. With the smartphone market in no way about to slow down in its rapid growth, getting on board with a mobile version of your website will make your products and services much more accessible.
Adopting internal processes to help streamline your business and speed up existing slower tasks by adopting technology is also a great move for many small businesses. Moving into "the cloud" to speed up document sharing and collaboration is just one way that businesses can do this.
You could even go digital with the adoption of IRIS OpenPayslips and modernise your process of sending out payslips and P60s to your employees. Payslips can be accessed on the go through the use of a dedicated smartphone app. They can also be viewed via a tablet or on a dedicated web portal on a PC. This flexibility allows you to cut down on the use of paper as well as having the peace of mind that your employee's payslips and P60s are stored securely and for the required 6 year period (as dictated by legislation for auditing purposes).