It’s clear that small businesses are vital to the UK’s collective recovery. While we can never predict what’s going to happen, we are at least cautiously optimistic about 2022. So what does the SME have to be optimistic about?
BUSINESS LENDING RAMPING UP
Small businesses can expect more access to finance in 2022. The fast evolving Financial Sector has brought about continuous improvements, meaning traditional sources of finances are no longer relied upon. Alternative finance providers have stepped up to help the business population.
For small-business owners who have managed to hang on through nearly two years of pandemic-related restrictions and are ready to invest in new equipment, they can look to asset finance solutions to secure the latest tech without heavy investment outlays.
Whether building take-out options into business models or using e-commerce software to build online or to-go options into the customer experience, SME adaptations have opened up new growth avenues.
Additional revenue streams will remain and even be expanded upon with proper investment and continual improvements in both the operations and marketing strategy for the business. The agile SME has and will continue to embrace digitalisation and the change in consumer behaviour, and create new opportunities for growth.
SECURING THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND WORKFORCE
Supply chain issues continue to be a big problem for small businesses, and relief is still a ways off. Those business owners who are creative and agile with their processes, by working with multiple suppliers or streamlining their processes will reap the benefits.
Workers' expectations for better pay, benefits and homeworking opportunities may ease over time, but for the foreseeable, those that have successfully hired in 2021, must look to retain their workforce and invest in a culture and benefit package that is more flexible to the needs of the SME workforce.
For those SMEs who have faced these challenges head on and found the right balance of resource, the year ahead will only bring a better business model for all.
VALUE ADD MARKETING
Many of us have reassessed what we value – driven by the pandemic, climate change and global social movements. Businesses have had to rethink everything from how their products are made and delivered, to their relationship with customers. SMEs can capitalise on the trend towards meaning and authenticity by focusing on personal branding. Sharing their story and employees’ stories. People do business with people they know, trust and like.
Those SMEs who have open their doors to their customers and showcased their people, product and process have made solid connections to their audience. Those that have asked for help have seen swathes of support from their local communities, support that will still be there for a long time to come.
ACCESSIBLE AI AND TECH
Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled solutions will also become more important, and more accessible and affordable for small businesses.
Technology continues offer SME low-cost tools to drive their business forward. From Google for lead generation to Instagram and TikTok for storytelling, SMEs can build online communities and platforms to showcase their business and drive traffic to their websites.
ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT YOUR FUTURE?
Lessons learnt during the pandemic will help SMEs turn recovery into resilience, but it will be vital to remain agile. In another year of likely rapid change, businesses will need to ensure they have the right safeguards in place – including keeping on top of their finances to protect cash flow and making the right investments to grow the business and secure its future.
Talk to the GRENKE team today, perhaps our team can help you be a little more optimistic about 2022.