Small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) across the UK are looking ahead in 2013 with a renewed optimism. But what does the future hold and what should business leaders take on board?

A large amount of this positive approach is tied to the fact that the recent budget has offered UK SMEs everywhere some cause for real hope. Corporation cuts, the easing of National Insurance contributions and the scrapping of stamp duty in certain areas are all designed to offer a kick-start for SMEs in the year ahead.

Smaller firms across the UK have also received a genuine boost with the increased enthusiasm which the government has thrown behind the Funding for Lending Scheme.

It’s now down to the companies involved to take this head start and run with it, but what else do SMEs need to consider in a potentially turbulent 2013?

Striving for growth is crucial

A recent report published by the House of Lords Committee has argued that government agencies such as the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and UK Export Finance (UKEF) need to do more to support the growth of SMEs in the UK.

The research highlighted that just 21 businesses were helped by UKEF up to August 2012, leading the committee to urge more bank managers to lend to exporters in order to enable them to derive benefits from schemes established by UKEF.

The report also encouraged SMEs to look at alternative ways to finance exporting including crowd sourcing, equity funding and non-clearing banks.

Lord Cope, the Committee’s chair, commented: “If we are to pay our way in the world in future decades SMEs will play a crucial role.

“The good news is that our committee was greatly encouraged by the innovation and entrepreneurship we saw and heard about from small businesses right across the UK.

“It was clear to us however that many potential exporters did not know what help was available to them and that the Government could do more to assist SMEs in their contribution towards export-led recovery.”

While praising the work of the UKTI the Committee, alongside trade associations like the British Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, they argued that more must be done for the UKTI and UKEF to ‘promote their services for SMEs’, using channels such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Open Sign by Aaron Pruzaniec

Open Sign by Aaron Pruzaniec

Marketing is crucial to getting your message heard

Failure to market your company/service affectively is a cardinal sin in the world of modern business. You may have a terrific product/service which is both unique and useful, but if you don’t get things right on the marketing side then you can be certain that the whole operation is destined for failure.

An increased emphasis is now being placed on the need for effective marketing amongst directors and business leaders across the UK. Various marketing outlets, including radio, television and online advertising should all be utilised effectively in a bid to promote your company.

It is important that SMEs do not fall behind in this regard, making sure they are as creative as possible in their bid to attract consumers. The marketing world is a constantly evolving one and keeping up with changes in this sphere could be vital for SMEs as they strive to stay relevant and achieve growth in 2013.

This is a guest post from Moorfields Corporate Recovery.

Image By Aaron Pruzaniec (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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