5 Key Growth Opportunities for SME Leaders in 2020
2019 has seen continuous uncertainty for small businesses, which can largely be attributed to the ongoing wrangles within Westminster and the dreaded B (rexit) word. The culmination of which will see us head for the polls again today on 12th December.
It is interesting to see the 3 major parties adopting such different stances all of which carry pros and cons.
Firstly, the Conservatives are the driving force behind ‘Getting Brexit Done’ with Mr Johnson claiming that an ‘Oven-ready’ deal is on the table ready to go. This may sound positive after the 3 years of turbulence but do not be fooled that this will be the end of the matter as at the end of January 2020 (which is the date they are targeting to leave the EU). What follows will be a period of ongoing debate with EU leaders whilst long standing and highly time-consuming trade negotiations are held.
Then we come to Labour who appear to be sitting on the fence. Firstly, their leader Mr Corbyn refuses to disclose his personal preference around Brexit and instead wishes to hold yet another referendum in 2020 which is likely to bring about another Scottish independence referendum to boot. What is certain for small businesses is that under Labour Corporation Tax will rise peaking at 26% over the next few years to help fund the some would say ambitious spending plans as laid out in their manifesto.
Finally, we come to the Liberal Democrats who are seeking to abort Brexit altogether and instead revoke article 50 and to then forget all this ever happened so that the domestic agenda is taken forward at pace. I am sure many business owners wishes that the whole Leave/Remain debate never started given its impact across the economy, but some would say that by simply revoking article 50 it is effectively sticking 2 fingers up at our democratic system.
So, whilst the 3 main parties continue to argue and throw mud from one side of Westminster to the other, we as business leaders should be doing everything we can to control what’s within our gift so that when political decisions are made we are as best prepared as possible.
What we do know is that uncertainty will remain for many months yet regardless of whether the Tories or Labour gain power post the general election. So, what can we do to set ourselves up for the best possible chance of success in 2020?
Below we have listed 5 opportunities that are built on sound business principles so if followed will give you excellent chances of success in 2020 and beyond.
Opportunity 1 – Have a 2020 Delivery Plan
1. Before you leave for your well-earned Christmas breaks ensure that you, your management team and all of your staff know and fully understand the priorities and tangible goals for 2020.
2. Ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable and relevant to your longer-term vision with clear deadlines set.
3. If you and your teams spend any time working on activities that in some way DO NOT contribute to the success of these 2020 goals, we suggest that you stop doing them……immediately.
Opportunity 2 – Drive Accountability Through Your Business
1. A regular problem we witness revolves around businesses who do not empower and give their people clear accountability.
2. If this is you, take a step back and list out as a minimum the top 20 things that your business must be capable of doing in order to deliver excellence to your end customers and that gives you your licence to keep operating.
3. Once you have this list, allocate the ownership of each to members of your leadership team.
Opportunity 3 – Improve Your Product/Service Offering
1. Too often we see clients who love their products and services but become frustrated that their passion isn’t converting into sales.
2. It is imperative that you build your products/services with your customers and not just for your customers.
3. We recently received some great feedback from a client within the construction sector. Whilst they loved what we offered they couldn’t see the value of a particular solution we were offering. We have therefore totally reconfigured our delivery to introduce this solution at the exact time when a customer needs it. When was the last time you updated your customer offering as a direct result of feedback received?
Opportunity 4 – Build Your Brand
1. A common issue we encounter surrounds customers (and their brands in particular) going stale. In today’s world Brand is often the key differentiator between when customers buy and when they don’t. In congested markets your customers need to like you and what you represent.
2. Make sure you have somebody in your business who epitomises expertise in your market and who is focused on pushing your brand out there. Remember even in this digital age people buy from people so make your decisions around who will sit as front of house wisely.
3. Share Your Experience and Expertise – How many of you reading this have a social media plan for 2020? It is essential in today’s digital and data sharing world that we push out helpful and relevant content to consumers of our products/services. Sharing your expertise is essential is brand building and contributes heavily to your voice and authority within the market in which you operate.
Opportunity 5 – Be Bold and Have No Regrets
1. We only live once and it’s essential we make the most of our time here. Be bold in your decision making and take calculated risks for the greater good of your business.
2. Build a simple risk framework which enables you to ask circa 3-5 questions of yourself before you pull the trigger.
a. As an example, you may decide to ask yourselves questions like;
i. Does what I am doing keep ourselves and our customers safe?
ii. Is there likely to be a positive ROI once the decision is made?
iii. Is what I am proposing acting with the integrity that our staff and customers expect?
iv. If this decision goes badly what is the worst that can happen?
v. Once you have carefully assessed the above questions if you have an overall feel good score of over 8/10 they we would encourage you to be brave and make the decision with no regrets
Of course, there are a whole plethora of opportunities facing us as we enter 2020. It is far too easy for us to sit on the fence citing uncertainty and Brexit as the reasons for procrastination. Instead we urge you to take back control from our dithering politicians and to drive forward the change your business needs for the greater good of your customers and your staff.
For more information around how you can drive forward such positive change within your business please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org