Small businesses have always faced challenges when it comes to growth and sustainability, but with the ongoing economic turmoil, these obstacles are more significant than ever before.
According to research by Startups, the number of small businesses in the UK have substantially declined from 5.9 million in 2020 to 5.5 million in 2023 – a fall of 6.6%. Further, 45% of entrepreneurs cite inflation of goods and services and increased energy prices as top concerns for the year ahead.
Here are five ways micro businesses can overcome hurdles and thrive in today’s fast-paced business landscape:
Adopting a growth mindset
First and foremost, it’s crucial to embrace a growth mindset. This is when you believe your talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others. Some of the ways to develop a growth mindset include:
- Seeking feedback from others – an excellent approach to cultivate a growth mentality by identifying strengths and areas to improve on. As a result, you will be able to create targets for progress
- Harnessing the power of ‘yet’ – this is about accepting there are areas in which you are not ‘yet’ proficient in, but can be improved with hard work and determination
- Learning something new – try a completely new activity and challenge yourself to learn something you’re not already good at. By getting out of your comfort zone, you can be more open to learning new skills
- Making mistakes – you’re not going to get everything right the first time of trying. Allow yourself to make errors and then learn from those missteps. Rather than thinking mistakes equal ineptitude, think of them as part of the learning process
By maintaining a growth mindset you’re more likely to take risks, experiment with new ideas and stay motivated when faced with challenges. You also tend to be more adaptable to change, which is essential in today’s rapidly evolving environment.
Building a strong brand identity
In today’s competitive market, having a recognisable brand is essential for success. Not only does a strong brand identity differentiate your business from competitors, but it also builds trust and loyalty with customers. According to a study by Edelman, 67% of consumers say that trusting a brand is a key factor in their purchasing decision.
But how do you go about building a strong brand identity? One effective approach is to adopt a multi-channel strategy. This means utilising various channels such as social media, email marketing and offline advertising to reach customers and reinforce your brand message. For example, posting consistent and engaging content on social media can help build brand recognition and loyalty among your followers. A targeted email campaign can also be an effective way to communicate your brand values and offerings directly to interested customers.
By adopting a multi-channel approach, businesses can create a consistent and recognisable brand that resonates with customers and drives revenue growth.
Building a loyal customer base
In today’s hyper-connected world, customers have more options than ever before, and small businesses that fail to provide a good experience risk losing customers to their competitors. According to HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.
Providing excellent customer service helps build customer loyalty and can lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing. This can be achieved by providing personalised experiences, responding promptly to customer inquiries, addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations.
Finding your business community
By forming partnerships with other businesses in your industry, you can leverage each other’s strengths and resources to overcome common challenges.
The first step towards building a business community is to identify your niche. You need to figure out what industry you want to be a part of and what kind of businesses you want to collaborate with. This will help you narrow down your search and find the right people who share your vision.
Once you have identified your niche, you can start looking for business events and conferences that are relevant to your industry. These events are a great way to meet like-minded individuals who are also looking to network and collaborate. By connecting you can gain valuable insights, get up to speed with industry trends and best practices, share resources and access new markets.
Another approach to finding a business community is by leveraging social media platforms. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great places to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners in your industry. You can join groups, participate in discussions and even reach out to people directly.
Finally, consider joining a co-working space or an accelerator program. These are dedicated spaces that are designed to foster collaboration and innovation. Co-working spaces offer a shared workspace where you can work alongside other entrepreneurs, while accelerator programs provide mentorship, funding opportunities and access to resources that can help you grow your business.
Lastly, you should prioritise financial management. This includes developing a sound financial strategy, tracking expenses, and managing cash flow. By maintaining a healthy financial position, you can weather unexpected challenges and position yourself for long-term success.
Despite the increasing challenges small businesses face due to the economic landscape, they are the backbone of the UK economy accounting for 99.2% of all businesses. With the right strategies and mindset, they can overcome any hurdles and achieve long-term success. By focusing on building a strong brand identity, prioritising customer service, establishing a strong brand and prioritising financial management, small businesses can thrive.