Every New Year I have always checked for the top business growth tips and trends.
This year I have decided to present my own because we the business community are still living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, fear, transformation, deception, confusion, and outright disruption of the old ways of doing business.
I am Diane Shawe founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd (which I gave birth to during the first lockdown) and author of ‘Answer 77 Questions about your business to avoid business failure’ shares her top small business growth strategies for the year ahead.
2021 has been a year of rapid transformation across all industries as the business community has dealt with shifting customer buying activities and economic challenges, as well as mitigating hot-button issues such as the pandemic and people’s changing conception of work life balance. In a year filled with change, there are some trends which are going to be firmly fixed into 2022 that you and your business should seriously build into your growth plans.
To lead your business in the right direction as we head into 2022, here are my humble 10 small business growth strategies.[
1. Prioritise your business culture
Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been dealing with “The Great Resignation” as workers are quitting their jobs at record-high rates. One of the reasons for this is that people are changing their definitions of what they consider a healthy work-life balance and what they want in a company culture.
“The pandemic has shifted the way people incorporate work into their life, whether it’s moving to another county for cheaper housing or not going into the office every day and getting the opportunity to do remote or hybrid work,” Diane states.
Diane goes on further to state that “Not all solutions are made equal, and culture is now a part of that. “A big factor for employees, in addition to salary and benefits, is culture, so have a culture strategy in place.”
2. Consider hiring more freelance workers
The number of gig workers, freelancers and contractors has grown exponentially over the last few years and they make up a large portion of workers within the current market.
“Small business owners will now be able to bring in more specialised freelance workers to carry out tasks without having to deal with the hiring and training costs that are often associated with recruiting a full-time employee,” said Diane. “With the importance of being agile in today’s economic environment … as well as the rise of remote work, … skilled outsource
Peopleperhour.com and fiverr.com are great places to start.
3. Work with micro-influencers
While small businesses may be competing against larger businesses to work with online influencers, collaborating with micro-influencers is an option to consider.
“As influencer marketing is becoming more popular than ever… micro-influencers are going to be the best option for small businesses because they don’t cost as much and they are more open to collaborating with small businesses too,” explained Diane. “With a couple of these small influencers helping [your business] reach specific audiences, growth will not be an impossible feat in 2022.”
4. Leverage the way you supply your products and services.
Distributors and businesses across the country dealt with supply chain issues with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic disruptions. In 2022, businesses must be aware of scarcities within the supply chain and get ahead of manufacturing and transportation challenges by working collaboratively with their suppliers.
Checkout companies like Amazon who can provide a fulfillment service for your orders. Consider moving to a drop shipping manufacturer or warehouse so as to reduce your cash investment in slow moving stock.
5. Educate client and partners your new paradigms
It’s important to inform your clients and partners about changes you’re making to better benefit your business across a shifting economic landscape. If the changes don’t land, it may be time to consider other options,
Many businesses are painfully aware how much the talent pool has changed. Working with potential employees, client partners to educate them on the new management styles needed, increased compensation packages and other aspects of recruitment and retention is very important.
6. Prepare for potential contracting opportunities
Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to research by iwoca – one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.
Analysis of Companies House data reveals that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32% from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.
London dominates list of areas to start a business
iwoca’s Small Business HotSpots UK 2021 reveals that Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than four and a half new firms every hour.
The second largest number of new businesses were registered in Hackney (13,646) followed by 10,151 in Westminster. London’s local authorities make up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504 businesses.
London saw over one third of the new registrations with 120,338, followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640). The capital city also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 of 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).
Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO and co-founder, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year, they are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.
“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cashflow. At iwoca we turn cashflow into a superpower enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”-
Why is such a growth happening?
A survey I read stated that 39% of people in current jobs are going to quit within the next 12 months, which is not great for an employer, but suggests a start of a business revolution is happening.
What advice would I give to somebody looking to start a business?
There is never a good time to do it and you just must go for it. It’s all encompassing and it’s a phenomenon. I just decided to go for it in 2000 and have never looked back. However you can be clever about it though – can you cut down your hours in your current role or could you work part-time initially? Explore your options wisely.
7. Get creative on sales and marketing opportunities
The digital marketing landscape has become increasingly challenging due to congestion and evolving regulations, said Diane Shawe of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd
“This is forcing many traditionally digital companies to explore other sales channels and marketing strategies,” she said.
To mitigate these challenges, Shawe said her company is getting creative by helping other companies engage with A.I. Conversational Marketing Technologies with its engaging methods.
8. Widen your business’s online footprint
Small businesses must adapt and be “practical” when it comes to sales, as consumers continue to favor online and mobile shopping.
“Businesses need to widen their online footprint to gain a significant proportion of customers from the current market,” said Diane. “A simple way to sell products is to have a sellers account on your popular social media or estore platforms. To sell services, … list [your company] on freelance and contract websites.” Also create a blog and YouTube website for reviewing products, testimonials, advice and tips. Become the expert in your field. Entry competitions, exhibitions, network meetings.
9. Learn video SEO strategies to rank higher on search engines
Video marketing has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy with the rise of live videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s estimated that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all consumer traffic. That’s why video SEO should be a top priority for businesses in 2022.
“Small businesses that incorporate short-form videos into their website posts will see more organic traffic coming from search engines,” explained Gilmour. “As TikTok continues to grow, search engine algorithms will shift to articles and posts that include short-form videos. Short-form videos from TikTok and YouTube may even become the main point of ‘how to’ searches.”
10. Utilise partnership marketing to reach a broader audience
Partnership marketing is a strategic collaboration that gives you and your partner company a chance to reach a wider audience together, explained Diane Shawe, founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd.
“Collaboration with another company can aid in the development of better marketing initiatives that benefit both parties, If your target clients are similar, you may pool your resources to better your marketing techniques, build your brands and expand your audience reach.”
Start to use smart customer acquisition techniques such as collaborating with discount giants such as wowcher, groupon or discount voucher websites to help get your business name, brand or services directly into potential customers mobile.
“Another example, if a consumer purchases a product from you, you can provide a discount coupon that they can use to purchase discounted products from your business partner,” said Diane. “Co-branding of a product or project can also boost both companies’ marketing power.”
Virtual Speedy Services Ltd is set up to provide a suite of services for Small and Medium size businesses to help them efficiently and quickly Setup or expand their business. Our core service is A.I technology by designing conversational marketing chatbots to generate quality business leads or engage online visitors in real time. We populate and generate impressive business plan and 5 years projections for focus, raising finance along with smart eCommerce website, streamlined social media tools and an effective google verified website. We think of ourselves as your Virtual Personal Assistance who will help streamline your business development and growth without all the drama.
Let’s have a chat https://try-chatbots.virtualspeedyservices.uk