In a recent survey launched by our team, to understand more about how SMEs are gearing up for growth in 2019, we surveyed business owners and asked them about what they felt most confident about, where they felt they should be paying attention within their business, and what they thought 2019 held for them.
The initial results of the survey speak for themselves – there are a number of business owners out there, and you may be one of them, who are optimistic about growth, who are ready to grow, who probably have the right products and services to grow, but who simply don’t know how to go about growing.
1. How confident do you feel that your current business strategy will bring growth in 2019?
We asked business owners how confident they felt that they have the right strategy in place to launch 2019 as a year of growth for them. While PwC predicts a UK economy growth of 1.6% in 2019, largely as a result of “continued subdued real consumer spending growth and the drag on business investment from ongoing economic and political uncertainty relating to the outcome of the Brexit negotiations”, they also recognised the boost power that the stronger global and Eurozone economies, and the competitive value of the pound particularly against the euro, offers to business growth for next year.
Results of our survey showed cautious optimism with the majority of the results recorded either feeling very confident or somewhat confident in the ability for their current strategy to deliver growth in 2019.
2. What is your biggest business focus for 2019?
We asked survey respondents what their biggest business focus was in 2019. With a choice of various business challenges to choose from, which included securing business funding for growth, transforming their business to become more digital, evolving their corporate culture to adapt to change, re-defining their exit strategy and addressing business underperformance issues, the majority of the respondents cited securing business funding for their business as a key area of focus for growth in 2019.
Funding trends continue to show a downturn in the demand for traditional business finance, year on year, as high-growth SMEs start to depend on their own cash reserves built up over time, and it is believed that this trend suggests that “the supply of finance, and particularly the supply of alternative sources of finance, has improved, and this should be welcomed”. Great news for businesses who are starting to think about growth in new ways – and access new types of business funding that supports that.
3. Where do you feel your biggest business weakness lies?
We asked our respondents where they felt they could make changes in their business to minimise risk and eradicate business weakness directly related to business growth, from the various options available on the survey, which included not knowing enough about funding opportunities, a struggling corporate brand & product, market competition and outperformance and an under-productive workforce, the majority of the respondents felt that they felt that they didn’t know enough about various funding opportunities for their as well as the need to be able to differentiate themselves within their market.
Today’s economy is one that is driven by change. Businesses that exist are faced with a very different economic landscape – one that forces creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – especially when it comes to business growth. And although no single source of funding will ever be the answer to all of your problems, or the projector that spurs on all of your growth – knowing what options you have is an important part of planning your business growth – whether you’re just starting out, or whether you’re an established, high-growth business.
4. What are you most proud of within your business?
We asked our respondents to take a second and think about what they felt most proud of, within their business. The majority of respondents were overwhelmingly proud of the teams they’d built up and the products and services they delivered – feeling confident about their core business offering, and the infrastructure put in place to support that. Our climate is rich with opportunity. A digital landscape means that businesses are starting up, and growing, within days. The availability of new, innovative business technology gives businesses the opportunity to develop low-cost, enterprise-quality products and services. Businesses who grow, are businesses that hold their customer at the heart of what they do. But, there’s one thing high-growth businesses hold which sees them sustain their business for the long-run – an operational infrastructure that is strategically focussed on growth.
5. What will you be looking to develop in 2019?
We asked our respondents what they’d be focussing on in 2019. From the list of options, which included a larger integration of technology throughout their business, a more innovative approach in their approach to problems, a more agile, flexible team or a closer-tie to customer feedback and demand, most of the respondents said that they’d be focussing on building agility and flexibility within their businesses, and building closer ties to their consumer base – understanding their motivations behind their purchase behaviour and decisions more.
Unlike popular belief, growth is not funding. Growth is about opportunity. Whether that opportunity is to lower costs within your business. Whether that opportunity is about becoming more productive and delivering a higher output. Whether that opportunity is to take your business in a completely new direction in partnership with another. Whether that opportunity is business funding – Growth is the ability to recognise, and act on, what’s best for your business, becoming productive and sustainable for the long-run. If you need help with your Growth Strategy – in whatever shape or form it may be – then we’re the growth experts you need to talk to. And we’d love to help.