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SME Futures

What does the future hold for small businesses?

When looking at what the future holds it makes sense for small businesses to assess the landscape. Small businesses account for 99.9% of all UK enterprises and contribute nearly £2 trillion to the annual economy, so their importance can’t be overstated.


To remain successful, and to thrive in an environment that is not only increasingly competitive but continues to evolve and alter by the day, it is necessary to assess trends, to understand what other businesses in the same space are doing to remain relevant, and to look ahead so as to figure out what will keep you ahead of the game.


Let’s take a look at what businesses need to be keeping an eye on  and how they can prepare themselves to thrive and grow as we move into a new phase 


1. The desire for increased levels of personalisation


According to research, more than seven in 10 people say that they will only be willing to deal with company marketing if the material is personalised and tailored to them as an individual. So, if businesses are to get their marketing collateral read by the customers and potential customers that matter, they need to figure out the most efficient ways to enhance their message. And when you look at the latest research by Gartner, which suggests that profits can be increased by as much as 15 percent through smart personalisation, it really makes sense that small businesses make it a priority.


2. AI will assist, but it will not take over


There is a prevailing narrative which suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) is on the verge of taking our jobs, but this is merely scaremongering. AI is not going to steal work from humans, but it will assist when it comes to making decisions and carrying out menial tasks. Correctly utilising AI can save time and cut operational costs. AI can perform tasks such as gathering and analysing data, and is able to send emails or social media posts via pre-determined schedules, so employees can get on with doing other tasks.


3. Businesses will grow if they can make the most of user reviews


Did you know that nearly all (92 percent) people admit they would hesitate to make a purchasing decision if they are on the cusp of buying a product that does not have any reviews? If you are a small business that is focused on selling products or services, encouraging customers to leave reviews is absolutely crucial. This can be done via prompting emails or text messages, or simply by asking in person.


4. There will be a growing need to embrace employee flexibility


More and more employees desire the ability to work from home on some days, or to alter their work schedule so as to align with other things that may be going on in their personal lives. Research has found that only 14% of working adults would, if given the option, work the traditional hours of 9-5, largely because this routine would stop them from being able to do things such as go to the gym, do the school run, or go to the shops when it isn’t crowded. If your employees are able to show that they will be able to get their tasks done while also working to a flexible schedule, then it is in the best interests of the small business to accommodate their desires.


5. It will be increasingly important to focus on employee wellbeing


Gone are the days when an employer could drive their employees into the ground by telling them to work additional hours in poor conditions. The world has moved on a lot in recent decades, and if businesses are to thrive and grow, they are going to have to put employee happiness at the very top of their business agenda. Research by Forbes recently found that finding an employer that focuses on employee wellbeing is the second most important factor – after flexibility – when it comes to finding a new job. So, if you aren’t looking after your staff, they will start to look elsewhere for the support they need.


Of course, one thing that will not change  is the importance of getting business insurance. To keep your small business safe and secure, and to give you additional peace of mind, getting the right insurance is absolutely key.

Blog written by Hubert Day of Hubert Day Media