Hello. I’m Jeremy Powers, and I have good news – this decade is an excellent time to be an SME, particularly in certain industries. However, I’m here to also remind you to stay alert – economy is not your friend. This post is about what you can learn from successful SMEs.
Celebratory Products are In-Demand
Despite the difficult economy, it appears that the British people are inclined to spend more on “celebratory” products in 2015 than last year, such as flowers, spa days and parties. Florists, caterers and antique dealers appear to be flourishing, being catered to, and valued particularly well (pardon my joke). Perhaps the reason for the success of small businesses in these industries is the unique approaches to customer solutions that are a big part of their respective industries. For example, a well-crafted unique bouquet is certainly better than a floral arrangement that’s been done a thousand times before. Same with antiquities – mass-produced furniture might be cheaper but people would generally prefer something a little more unique. The fact that many SMEs now have the option of online orders is another cause of their recent success – people like convenience.
The entertainment industry players also appear to be doing really well – but that’s probably no surprise. Given the industry’s exposure to the digital media and its enormous presence in our daily lives, it’s quite easy to see why people would be interested in employing entertainers and performers. Social media presence truly seems to be the key factor in the boost. Hiring bands and performers for private parties and public events is done mostly via that method today.
But what if you’re neither a florist, nor a caterer, nor an antique dealer? What if you don’t have much talent for music or performing arts? How can the facts mentioned above help YOUR business? The reason I mentioned them is so that you could see why they’re doing so well. Their products are unique; the services they provide are unique. They might not have a strong, corporate differentiation strategy but they know how to be different. And this is the lesson you should learn from them.
It might be a good time to be an SME, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Increased desire to spend money doesn’t mean that money would be spent on YOUR product. Providing unique solutions to consumers is a challenge because in this economy, 9 out of 10 markets are more competitive than ever. If you’re not providing unique products within a short timeframe, it would be very hard to get back on your feet. For that reason, you need to have a good differentiation strategy.
Dwell on Great Business Strategies
It’s likely that you already have some ideas about how to make your product different from your competitors’. The good news is that if you do, you’ve already got a solid foundation for your differentiation strategy. One example of it being successful in the last year is the health and beauty industry. Many beauty salons have expanded their range of services and are working with more suppliers than ever. These are only two reasons why that particular industry has done especially well in the last year. Another reason could also relate to what I said earlier – people are more inclined to spend money on “celebratory” products and services. Economy is hard, and people, more than ever, like to treat themselves. Make sure to capitalise on that. And capitalise on confidence – treating themselves and visiting beauty parlours are excellent confidence boosts for consumers, and naturally they’re not opposed to spending money on those things.
If you have a differentiation strategy, you need to let people know about it. I’ve already talked about the significance social media has had on the entertainment industry, and there is no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of it, too. Post about new products on your social media accounts, send promotional e-mails to your recurring customers – exposure is everything, and chances are that your competitors are more than capable of using social media to their advantage.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, along with customers’ expectations for product, their preferred payment methods are changing too. Cash-only SMEs aren’t doing very well these days – many people today prefer contactless means of payment like credit or debit cards, PayPal or Apple Pay. These methods are convenient and that’s what a today’s consumer wants, as I said earlier; they expect all places they shop at to be equipped with at least one method of contactless payment. If your SME isn’t, a large portion of your target audience simply wouldn’t pick you.