Small businesses have become an integral part of the global economy. They currently represent 90% of all businesses and nearly 70% of employment and gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide. With the rise of digitalisation acting as an opportunity for small businesses post-pandemic, these enterprises must take advantage of their quicker communication channels and close relationships to execute digital transformation faster and more efficiently than larger corporations. This approach will help small businesses drive their future readiness. Being at the forefront of global turbulence, smaller companies must also focus on survival and growth through strategies involving sustainability and talent.
Larger organisations and the public sector likewise invest in initiatives to help small businesses thrive and overcome potential barriers. As mentioned above, this support is due to how small businesses play a significant role in regional economic conditions and business climate. We've previously written about the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and their advocacy for small businesses in the North to receive the tools and resources needed to grow and thrive. Outside of external help and digital tools, small businesses can do a few specific things to build confidence and maintain customers in this disruptive age, aligning with the strategies previously mentioned. Today, we'll look at essential practices for small businesses to level up in 2023:
Improve payment processing systems
Small businesses can drive growth by shifting away from traditional payment methods to offer customers more convenient digital payment options. A PDQ machine is one of the most basic tools you should have. These devices — also credit card machines or chip-and-PIN machines — are those that can process credit and debit card payments securely. When online shopping is on the rise, offering various online and contactless payment options can give a business a much-needed competitive edge. Not only does this offer customers more trustworthy and reliable security, but it also provides convenience to help convert sales. Other payment options small businesses should consider nowadays would be to offer mobile and mobile wallet payments to accommodate the demographic of mobile users in their customer base.
Consider customer data
The next step in levelling up your small business is to impress your customers enough so that they stick around. The best companies use various new tools, technologies, and people-focused outreach strategies to build a dedicated and lasting customer experience and foster brand loyalty for the long term. The most popular among these products include a CRM platform, which harnesses data analytics at every stage of the sales pipeline to identify customer pain points. For up-and-coming small businesses to stand out, listening to your customers and acting accordingly is essential. Providing customers with what they need and want should come first — and the community will follow. In these changing times, a business's ability to use what they know, be flexible, and adapt to consumer trends will set them apart.
Prioritise company culture
Another critical element of your small business success requires another people-first approach. Keeping your culture at the forefront can help grow your team when hiring recruits and handling current employees. For small businesses, prioritising company culture can help align employees with your brand's vision and purpose, encouraging engagement and collaboration across the workforce to deliver the best outcomes for your business and your customers. When hiring new members into your business's journey, make your culture goals known so that candidates know what to expect and whether or not they'll be a culture fit. Ultimately, even though digital tools and a loyal community can help drive value, making internal changes can help your small business navigate these uncertain times.