In this article, Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, discusses five key trends that SMEs will experience in 2023, explaining how to leverage opportunities and maximise impact from a commercial perspective.
The past 36 months have proven hugely challenging for UK businesses – from the ongoing implications of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, to record-breaking energy prices, the threat of looming recession and supply chain disruptions resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. SMEs have been hit harder than most, leading to widespread uncertainty, disruption and, for many, even a threat to survival.
While we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to supply chain disruptions and economic insecurity, it’s fair to say that market projections show light at the end of the tunnel. We may yet experience some curveballs, but 2023 should be seen as a year of opportunity and a return to growth.
In the following article, I’ve collated five key trends that I believe SMEs will experience over the coming months. Alongside explaining why it’s so important to consider their impact on your business, I’ve highlighted a few ways in which you can harness them from a commercial perspective.
With strict government targets and growing public concern about the importance of protecting the environment, sustainability remains one of the main considerations for businesses. Indeed, according to YouGov data, 75% of Brits prioritise product sustainability over the brand name, while two-thirds would pay more for eco-friendly items.
It’s safe to say, therefore, that today’s savvy consumers are far more likely to invest their time and money in companies that can demonstrate strong ethics, leading eco credentials and pioneering environmental values.
Identifying new ways for your business to embrace sustainability will help you to connect with customers in a far more meaningful way. Be aware, however, that consumers demand honesty and transparency as never before. Simply ticking boxes and reluctantly adopting token measures will simply not suffice in today’s marketplace.
While virtual teams are nothing new, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated tech development and made remote working easier than ever before. Insight from McKinsey, for example, suggests that almost 65% of the workforce would be happy to operate from home permanently.
Alongside improving access to talent and realising smaller overheads, companies offering staff the opportunity for hybrid options see better job performance, greater engagement and increased retention. What’s more, they’re said to have a 21% higher profitability margin than more traditionally organised businesses.
With demand for remote working set to continue in 2023 and beyond, SMEs should embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s a trend that offers numerous opportunities and widens the talent pool.
Despite government intervention, the cost of living crisis is worsening and inflation continues to rise. Two important trends are emerging in result. Firstly, consumers have less disposable income to spend. Secondly, the decision making process (DMP), even for low value items, is becoming far more complex.
So rather than just offering your customers a product or service, you need to provide an immersive experience. From online videos, website simulations and digital tools, to greater investment in proactive customer service channels, SMEs should be thinking about new ways to engage with consumers and adapt to their changing purchase habits.
Failing to do so could see you slip behind your competitors – regardless of the quality or originality of your products or services.
Brand personality and the ‘human’ touch
For prospect customers, being able to see the team behind the brand gives them a personal connection to your company – a story to relate to and a personality to buy into. For investors, founder-led companies are considered more attractive because of their long-term thinking, passion, determination and pride. From a marketing perspective, the brand comes across as more genuine; a purpose, passion and drive to do things differently.
With this in mind, it’s important to celebrate your senior team. Share your story, act as an influencer, profile your journey and give the market a ‘human’ touch. The days of colossal, faceless monoliths are numbered – people do business with people.
Communication is key
While not limited to 2023 and certainly not a short-term trend, the importance of communication continues to rise up the priority ladder. Understanding your audience, keeping them engaged with your brand and responding quickly to their changing requirements is critical.
Consumers are looking for honesty, transparency and genuine brands that really care about their customers. Be proactive in your communications – share your successes and keep the market abreast of your journey.
At myenergi, we see communication as key to driving long-term corporate growth. We’re proud to be seen as thought leaders in the sustainability debate and believe that keeping our customers close should be the number one priority.
While I may have referred to the above themes as ‘trends’ for the new year, in all honesty they’re far more. From sustainability and the digitisation of businesses, to communication and humanisation, these ‘trends’ are key ways to maximise business impact and supporting long-term growth.