The best predictions for SMEs in 2013 will come from what we know. The great news is, if you’ve been operating your business since the start of the financial year, you already know a lot and have access to information you can use to spot any trends happening in your business.
Identifying the trends in your business will allow you to spot opportunities and make some adjustments and decisions about where to focus your energies for the rest of the year.
Trends in your business can also help you decide how you choose to ride the wave of my top five general business trends that will continue in the next six months and beyond:
1. The ongoing need for SMEs to improve productivity and to stay competitive
For many SMEs, growth and customer relationships are a key focus and having the capacity to perform well in both these areas is essential.
In order to have or find more capacity, you need to focus on improving your productivity and efficiency. Where are the bottlenecks in your business or the areas that just seem to take a little longer than they should?
Are there some quick wins you can put in place here to improve efficiency while still achieving the right quality and outcomes?
There may be some steps in the process that can be removed or reduced without negatively impacting the product or service delivered to your customer.
Investing some time in productivity improvement will enable you to improve your profit margin, reinvest back into the business or pass on cost savings to your customers and remain competitive in general.
2. Innovation will continue to deliver solutions
Innovation breeds solutions that the business can benefit from. Assessing, evaluating, questioning and sometimes completely redesigning products and adopting new processes can uncover productivity improvements but also new products and services as well as new markets for your business.
Given start-up businesses are typically established on the premise of addressing a problem in a new and innovative manner, you should capitalise on that mindset.
In the early years, you should be highly tuned to testing and refining what you do and how you do it, along with gathering customer feedback throughout the process.
Use this feedback to discover your customer’s pain points and consider how your business can innovate to address those issues.
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