How SME businesses can prepare for post-Covid growth

26 October 2021 3 min. read
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A recent study of 250 small business owners by Vistage, a coaching consultancy for leaders of SMEs, has revealed that SMEs in the region remain positive in spite of ongoing challenges. Jan Lloyd, Group Chair at Vistage, outlines how SMEs can prepare for post-Covid growth opportunities.

Across the board, 84% of respondents claimed they are optimistic about the next 12 months; with all (100%) of business owners surveyed have seen some positive outcomes from the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, business owners feel they have a happier (36%), more productive (36%) workforce, which resulted in business owners observing increases to revenue (35%) and staff retention (32%).

The research, which was conducted alongside Censuswide, reveals that while respondents are aware of the challenges that lie ahead, with maintaining revenue streams (53%) and staff retention (52%) as the leading concerns, they continue to move forward with more than half of respondents (56%) planning to increase their workforce over the next year. 

Jan Lloyd, Group Chair at Vistage

Some top tips for preparing for growth opportunities in the coming months:

Keep a level head

Of course, there are a number of factors that could potentially inhibit this predicted growth. Further coronavirus variants could impact people’s health, and associated lockdowns could impact their financial health.

It’s clear from the study that small and mid-sized business owners have demonstrated their resilience and creativity in not only navigating through the many challenges of the past year, but also in coming through stronger and with a positive outlook. In supporting many business owners in the region through the crisis, at Vistage we have witnessed this creativity and endurance first-hand all while keeping a level head. 

However, it’s important to remember that the business community continues to remain alert and nimble as we look to the future, particularly as it relates to employees and culture and closely managing revenue.

Differentiate your business

A competitive, busy market means increased competition for businesses. And it goes without saying that the most successful businesses are those who recognise the need to stand out from the crowd. One of these challenges for the remainder of 2021 and beyond is increased competition. Some of the most successful businesses are the ones who recognise the importance of standing out from the crowd.

Everybody’s going to be competing, so you’ve got to stand out. Differentiation Is key. You must be really clear about what you do, and how that’s different from others. While this requires work, it should be viewed as a golden opportunity to clarify and focus on your unique selling point.

This is an opportunity to get back to what you’re great at, reinforce it, and differentiate yourself in the market.

Target the right customers

Although targeting the right customers is always fundamental to business success, in a period of growth, it becomes even more crucial. Focusing your efforts on a specific target market could make all the difference. 

You need to be very discerning about which customers are your main target. At this time, if you can focus your commercial resources on your highest potential opportunities, that will make you very efficient. When everybody's out there competing for growth, you want to be super-efficient at really targeting the customers that you can win.

After such a tumultuous period, the prospect of increased revenue and employee engagement is exactly what businesses need. While many business owners believe the next 12 months will be a time of significant growth, let’s not forget our need to remain as agile as ever to continue on this path.