Expert business bloggers share 50 tips for SMEs – Part 1: sales, marketing and finance

23 January 2017

Juggling the day-to-day management of an SME can often leave little room to focus on growing and developing your business, and even less time to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Thankfully help is at hand, as we share 50 top tips for SME success from influential business bloggers. From engaging with customers on social media to incentivising your workforce, join us as we reveal 50 of the best tips for Save SMEs as provided by expert business bloggers – starting with part 1: Sales and Marketing & Finance.

Sales and marketing

  1. Far too much of what passes for marketing advice consists of simply telling people to do more. “Get active on social, go out networking, call people, implement complex online funnels” – no one can do all of this. Instead, the most important thing is getting focused and concentrating on activities that will have the most impact, rather than trying to do everything
  1. Make sure you have something unique and valuable to say to your customers and prospects. All the marketing activity in the world won't help if you're just saying the same as everyone else in your field.
  1. Select one or two tactics that work reliably to connect with your ideal customers. That might be a small number of face-to-face events if that's the way your customers buy, or it might be Facebook or LinkedIn adverts if they're active online. Get good at those one or two tactics rather than spreading yourself thinly and trying every latest fad.
  1. Make sure you dedicate time to follow-up. Most of the prospects you connect with won't be ready to buy on first contact. Rather than moving on to the next ‘hot prospect’, keep in touch to build credibility and trust over time and be a useful resource to them, and you'll find that you're the first person they turn to when it's time to buy.

Ian Brodie, marketing consultant and trainer (Ian Brodie)

sme marketing

  1. The foundation of every successful innovative product is excellent customer development. Finding out who the customers are, what their needs are and how many of them are willing to buy your product, is essential. The product, thus, is created with the help of the customers and with their active participation at all stages.

– Dr Constantina Katsari-Muston, founder of digital startup accelerator Startdoms and business technology consultant (Ekonomia Consultants)

  1. We are in an age of transition, and with a rise in entrepreneurship and startup culture. Branding and online campaigns are finding their place in mainstream awareness as more individuals use social media platforms to grow and develop personal brands and small businesses. Having a visual brand that translates well across social media, mobile experiences, print and web will be more valuable than ever as more people seek to grow their digital footprint and explore new opportunities.

– Roberto Blake, entrepreneur, marketer, author & speaker (Source: HOW Design)

Finance

  1. Hiring an accountant can be eye-wateringly expensive, but there is another way. Online accounting services like QuickBooks allow you to manage your business finances remotely, and can be used to create and send invoices, reconcile transactions and oversee profit and loss.

– Gazprom Energy Blog (read more about the best money-saving apps for SMEs)

  1. Keep business and personal finances separate. A common mistake of small business owners is to commingle business and personal funds. It’s important to have a separate bank and credit card account for your business. This will make things a lot easier when it comes to managing your books and getting things organised. If you are ever audited, you want to make sure that you can produce documents that support legitimate business expenses.

Crystalynn Shelton, small businesses writer specialising in bookkeeping (Source: FitSmallBusiness)

sme finance tips

  1. Produce an accurate cash flow forecast. Growing a small business requires extra monetary resources, and you’ll certainly feel the strain of funding additional business growth if you don’t stay on top of your finances. By producing an accurate cash flow forecast, and monitoring it closely and regularly, you can track investment opportunities and keep a firm grip on your outgoings.

– Gazprom Energy Blog (read more ways to successfully grow your business)

  1. Avoiding wastes of time and money seems to be common sense. However, common sense tends to be very uncommon in large organisations and businesses alike. It is essential that the leadership as well as the managers, are practising frugality. In order to get a better grasp of frugal processes, I would suggest that they start experimenting with it at home!

– Dr Constantina Katsari-Muston, founder of digital startup accelerator Startdoms and business technology consultant (Ekonomia Consultants)

If this first part has simply whetted your appetite for more SME tips, please follow the links below.

Part 2: People management & recruitment

Part 3: Business growth, leadership & networking

Part 4: Social media & technology

Alternatively, to find out about our business energy solutions for SMEs, visit the homepage or call us on 0845 230 0011.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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