SMEs: prepare for growth in 2017

Growth and strategy

7 February 2017

The year has started on a positive note for Britain's small business owners, with a recent YouGov survey showing that SMEs business growth predications have increased for 2017.

Although many entrepreneurs have also lost a bit of confidence in their business prospects and the broader UK economy, they're also predicting that their profits will rise by 1.1% over the next twelve months – a big jump from 0.2% last year.

News like this is great to hear when you're trying to grow a small business but, as always, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's important to react to the concerns affecting your business (and having the appropriate business insurance is a good place to start). Then again, the most successful businesses are the ones who prepare for growth. An SME with a cohesive growth strategy for the next year is more likely to succeed than those without, so here's how to prepare for what could potentially be a very profitable 2017.

Double-check your figures

The best place to start is by looking at your sales performance over the past year. Look out for any patterns and speak to your clients for feedback. This will help you to understand why some products are performing well and why others aren't. It might be that your less popular products simply need better marketing, or it could be the case that they need a bit of tweaking to meet customer needs or expectations.

Renegotiate relationships

If you're planning to make more sales in 2017, you'll have a bit more leverage to negotiate with suppliers. It's worth trying to get better deals and, in turn, increase your profit margins.

Consider exporting

Although confidence in exports has dropped following the Brexit vote, the falling value of the pound has made exporting much more lucrative. If you've always wanted to try it, now is the ideal time to expand into new markets.

Re-project your figures

If you're expecting major growth your figures should reflect that. Re-read your business plan for the year and increase your projections based on your growth strategy.

Don't get distracted

Now isn't the time to branch out into other service offerings. Focus on your core business to avoid confusing customers. Keeping it streamlined means you can put more energy into growing your company safely and sustainably.

Every successful business owner should prepare for the bad as well as the good, and we can help protect you from the uncertainties your business may face in the year ahead. Find out more about AXA insurance for SMEs.