5 Reasons why SME's are struggling to stay in business

PATRICIA TOTHOVA | February 17, 2020

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As we enter a new decade, 58% of small businesses in the UK anticipate a plateau, or for their business to struggle in the year ahead. Only 1 in 4 predict to see growth. A new report, which surveyed 1,000 small business owners and sole traders across the country has been carried out by financial technology experts, Takepayments Limited, unveiling a snapshot of the small business landscape in the UK. It uncovers key challenges for small businesses in 2020 and tips on how business owners can secure a more consistent cash flow. Below the report unveils the five biggest reasons why SME’s are struggling to stay afloat in a digital era;

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HOW TO ADDRESS CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES USING THE NIST FRAMEWORK

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For small businesses, this is cause for alarm. Lacking the time, IT expertise, and deep pockets of major companies, the small businesses that make up the foundation of the economy are sitting ducks — especially considering that 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses specifically. In order to help small and midsize businesses get ahead of this issue, Congress passed the Small Business Cybersecurity Act in 2018. In essence, the act required the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to make small business cybersecurity a bigger priority, offering free and accessible resources appropriate for companies of all sizes. The act resulted in the Small Business Cybersecurity Corner website. Launched in 2019, it provides a centralized source of everything from information about dangerous cyberattacks to employee training tips. By all accounts, the NIST has met its mandate by making cybersecurity less confusing and risky for the businesses that suffer the most. Now it’s up to those small businesses to take that advice and run with it.

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Small Business Trends & Forecasts for 2021/2022

Article | June 24, 2021

The year 2020 saw the impact of a sudden outbreak of COVID-19 that had a significant impact on all facets of life: education, shopping, environment, health, jobs, and many more. But the effect that it had on businesses was prominent and was the most challenging years in the history of small businesses across the globe. However, 2021 came up with a few small business trends & forecasts that gave some relief to small business owners and allowed taking advantage of these trends to survive small businesses. With everything turning digital, customer's behaviors changed, their preferences and values changed, markets turned volatile, and so did their expectations evolve. Hence, small businesses had to renew their focus on changed customers. Even though the coronavirus outbreak has not yet ended, small businesses are optimistic and ready to be resilient, adapting their business model to changing conditions. This blog provides crucial small business trends that can smoothen the way you run your business. Current Business Outlook National Federation of Independent Businesses (NIFB) says small businesses in the United States are going through a rough patch ever in their business history. COVID-19 affected different industries differently. The most common small business challenges faced during COVID-19 are: Loss of revenue Budget cuts Reduce salaries Temporary closure Temporary pivot Government restrictions are gradually easing with the increase in vaccine rollout taking place in full swing across the US in 2021. As everyone adjusts to the new normal, small businesses will be at the forefront of the economic recovery. According to the Small Business Trends survey, 23% of respondents reported revenue loss during the pandemic, while 6% reported increased revenue. In addition, 11% of small business owners polled said they had cut their budgets, and another 11% said they had temporarily closed their doors. As more small business owners become optimistic about 2021, there is no doubt that this optimism should go with proper planning and preparation. Find out few small business trends which are likely to dominate in 2021 and beyond and how to take advantage of the trends for your business growth: Faster adaptability and flexibility to any crisis With the change in consumer behavior resulting from the pandemic, the business operation also changed and adapted to the new normal of doing business. To stay afloat, many business owners spontaneously adapted and were able to identify innovative approaches to change how they operate. In addition, with the need to reduce in-person transactions, an increasing number of businesses emphasize the use of technology. Few small businesses have achieved record sales even during the pandemic by implementing a new and renewed business model that allows them to operate even with few in-person transactions. How are businesses innovating to survive the pandemic? Because of the pandemic, 43% of small businesses began to rethink how they do business. 32% of small businesses discovered new ways to deliver existing service offerings. 22% of small businesses encouraged their employees to reinvent themselves to adapt to new business changes. Rise in continuous remote work For many companies and professions such as teachers, creatives, trainers, and more, where remote work culture was just a possibility, it became a reality because of the pandemic. As a result, COVID-19 played as a game-changer and proved to be the perfect time for businesses to create their online presence. Remote work had existed even before the pandemic started, but COVID-19 accelerated this and turned into compulsive adoption. Remote work is here to stay even after the pandemic ends and might become a preferred way of working. Many businesses will transition to a distributed working model by 2021 and beyond. It makes perfect sense for small businesses to jump on board with this trend and go remote. The 2021 State of Small Business Trends Report has been released by the Small Business Expo, America's most prominent business networking and educational event for business owners, start-ups, and entrepreneurs. According to the report, three in ten respondents said they intend to keep their employees working from home after COVID-19, one in ten will return to the office, and six in ten said the Work from home policy did not apply to their business. Implementation of contactless payment options Cash-free or contactless payment was very helpful during the pandemic and has become a new norm. This pattern is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond. Small businesses have immensely benefited from electronic payments such as digital wallet payments, touchless debit cards, and credit card payments. These payment modes are easier to manage, more secure, ensure transparency, and saves time. When it comes to payment options, small businesses should consider being extremely flexible. As a result, selecting the right payment gateway platform is the first step in dealing with this trend. This is among one of the very encouraging small business trends for growth. E-commerce Dominance and Social Commerce Growth E-commerce was already flourishing before the pandemic, but its emergence just accelerated the e-commerce growth. According to the report, e-commerce will be the dominant force in 2021 and beyond. Thus, small businesses can capitalize on this boom by providing a seamless e-commerce experience for their customers by making their website mobile-friendly. Improved emphasis on employee happiness and well-being The pandemic followed by worldwide lockdown was complex for everyone, and one thing it made us realize was the significance of our physical health and, more importantly, mental health. Lockdown and remote work was mentally draining to most employees. For every organization employee, health and wellness became an utmost priority. Hence they had to come up with something to keep their employees engaged and happy during working hours. You have the advantage of smaller teams as a small business, and you can foster close relationships among your co-workers. Even if you work from home, you can always plan a fun evening together via video call. Small gestures can go a long way toward bringing your team together and increasing employee morale. You must go above and beyond by identifying ways to increase employee happiness. Embark on Influencer marketing Influencer marketing is like celebrity endorsement, which is common in the age of mass media. Social media has grabbed a large chunk of marketing in today’s world and stays in contact with the world. Influencer marketing is a subtle form of marketing that has emerged as a viable strategy for various brands. Because of their low cost and broad market reach, influencers are used by 25% of small businesses for social media marketing. The influencer marketing industry is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method and expected to expand further in the coming years to become the biggest future small business trends 2020/2021. Leveraging Digital Technologies Small businesses adopted technologies before the pandemic, which improved their bottom lines. Small business owners discovered that leveraging digital technologies and the internet enabled them to operate smoothly in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions while also ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. It allowed them to identify new revenue streams and reinvent their business models. 5G network and AI have become a big part of digital technologies for small businesses. Small business owners should invest in digital technologies and systems that will allow them to provide personalized customer service. In addition, using digital technologies can automate business processes and manage employees who work remotely. Digital tools have the potential to boost productivity and efficiency. They make you more agile. According to the survey, 77 percent of US small-business owners use technology for personal reasons, such as online shopping or media consumption. The 5G Network and Artificial Intelligence (AI) 5G network rollout and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are a big part of the business plan. The 5G network is a larger and better version of our 4G LTE network. The 5G network provides lightning-fast internet speeds, which expands the possibilities for using AI across industries. As a result, this combination opens new possibilities for IoT. Experts predict that by 2024, 5G networks will have a global penetration of 40%, handling 25% of all mobile data. In addition, 5G networks provide a much simpler setup process. AI can assist small businesses that are typically short on staff in automating processes and improving efficiency. AI can learn from data sets, analyze new information from various sources, and adapt as needed. This decision can help small businesses compete with larger competitors and prove the best small business trends and forecasts for 2021 and beyond. The Gig Economy As small businesses embrace the gig economy, owners and managers can hire freelancers to complete specific tasks within specific timeframes. When you allot a short-term project to your contracted worker, it eases the stress, and your staff workload brings flexibility and agility to your budgeting. You can hire as per your need of the time. By phasing out some employment setups for your small business, you can save resources and time by outsourcing expertise and equipment. Starting a side gig can help you create a business without losing an essential source of income from your current job. The gig economy in the United States grew to around 77 million people in 2020 and is expected to grow even more in 2021. In the United States, 57.3 million people work for themselves. Furthermore, freelancers account for approximately 36% of the total workforce. Thus, the gig economy is only going to get bigger. As a result, you must stay current on marketing trends affecting small businesses. Millennial Small Business Owners Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, account for a quarter of the American population. This generation is most likely the most researched. Millennials are the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology, from computers to smartphones and tablets. With all this knowledge, this generation is transforming the world of small businesses. They adapt to the changing technology fast. This generation has altered the way we conduct business, from pressuring companies to improve their business practices to simply responding quickly to customers via digital channels. In addition, they are more aware of the current social climate because they are collective movers and shakers. As a result, millennial Small Business Owners are in favor of small business trends for 2021 and beyond. FAQs What trends do you foresee in small businesses? The trends in small business that will continue in 2021 and beyond are remote work will be the new standard, contactless payment options, 5G and AI technology, digitization will accelerate, businesses will continue prioritizing e-commerce. How new technology helps small business to grow? Technology allows small business owners and employees to work in the office, on the road, from home, on the road, or even across the country. As a result, technology can assist businesses in gaining a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Why should small businesses adopt new technologies? The impact of new technology on business operations is significant. It enhances business communication while also optimizing production, inventory management, and financial record-keeping. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What trends do you foresee in small businesses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The trends in small business that will continue in 2021 and beyond are remote work will be the new standard, contactless payment options, 5G and AI technology, digitization will accelerate, businesses will continue prioritizing e-commerce." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How new technology helps small business to grow?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Technology allows small business owners and employees to work in the office, on the road, from home, on the road, or even across the country. 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8 Small Business Resolutions for the Fiscal Year - 2021-2022

Article | July 28, 2021

2020 was a year of unprecedented incidents to the world as well as businesses. Now when the year is winding down, it is a time to get back on track with a bang. It is time for reassessment, better preparations, new opportunities, intelligent business strategies, and reshaped small business resolutions for the year 2021 and beyond to fight against new business challenges. 2020 had been the toughest for business owners, and 2021 is more demanding and challenging, especially for small businesses. However, small business owners must consider external and internal factors when planning for the upcoming years with a new set of contemporary small business goals. You have come a long way despite the setbacks and challenges thrown at you by unforeseeable circumstances, and you have gained a new set of experiences. Are you ready to return to business with a bang and build a more substantial business in 2021? If so, here are a few small business resolutions for 2021 to help your company thrive in the fiscal year. Review your business goals and plan A good business plan acts as a roadmap for business success. Hence, it is vital to review your business plan and goals at the start of every financial year. Then, keep this as your primary fiscal year 2021 budget resolution. Evaluation of your business plan helps you assess your last year's progress, failures and helps you to focus on the areas that need your attention. With every passing year, small business goals keep changing as per the current situation and try to adapt to the new changing business trends. Therefore, your plan needs to reflect the latest goals that small business owners plan to accomplish. It is essential to review and update your business plan focusing on the latest financial goals and marketing ideas to grow and taste success in 2021. Reviewing and updating a business plan is one of the first considerations of small business resolutions. Make online presence As the world has become more digitalized, the need for a small business to have an online presence has become essential. Having a website proved to be an asset for small business owners during the COVID-19 crisis because it allowed them to connect and stay in touch with their customers. Establishing an online presence makes your business visible, reachable and allows businesses to engage with customers. Establishing an online presence is one of the most popular and requested small business resolutions. Having an online presence entails developing a website as well as posting and engaging on social media accounts. Once your small business has an online presence, create content about your products, services, and offerings through your blogs and social media platforms. Re-evaluate your financial situation Botched financial management can cost you a big deal; that is why it is necessary to re-evaluate your financial situation every year to plan your business finance according to the current situation. Re-evaluating your finances is one of the intrinsic small business resolutions for the systematic workflow of the business. Here are few financial resolutions: • You can identify areas for improvement by reviewing your spending each month. • Pay down high-interest credit card debt. • Securing a flexible source of financing that provides you with quick access to the funds you require to grow. • Invest more money in the future of your company (short-term and long-term goals). Tune up your customer service Exceptional customer service is critical for modern and digitalized businesses of the future. According to the report, customers are more likely to become repeat customers due to the company's excellent customer service. Small businesses may provide excellent customer service, but it is necessary to improve it constantly. Therefore, small business goals must consider 2020 mistakes and attempt to avoid them in the future. It is predicted that soon, customer service will be more important than price, product, or service in a customer's decision. Therefore, ensure that your customer does not have a negative experience; negative experiences leave a long-term imprint on the customer's memory. As a result, your business may suffer severe consequences. According to Harvard Business Review, investing in new customers is up to 25 times more expensive than investing in existing ones. Enhancing your customer service is an essential aspect of small business resolutions for the upcoming year and beyond. Refresh your marketing strategy Marketing happened to be the backbone of business strategies, especially for small businesses during the pandemic. However, every year, new marketing trends emerge, and small businesses should be aware of these business trends and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Therefore, refreshing your marketing strategy is one of the imperative small business resolutions. Be inventive in your marketing strategies. Analyze the success and failures of your marketing efforts over the previous year and update your current marketing plan aptly. However, make sure that your business objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Email marketing is considered one of the best marketing tactics for small businesses. Besides, it is the primary channel for lead generation for 89% of marketers. It is consistently ranked as the single most effective tactic for meeting their awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention goals. Expand your network It is vital to invest time to build your networks. Small business owners often ignore this aspect, but it is a pressing priority of 2021. Make connections with other entrepreneurs, meet your competitors, pay visits to your suppliers, and keep a record of everyone you know. It is propitious to expand your network because it allows you to form relationships with others and encourage them to refer customers to you via viva voce. In addition, networking can lead to the discovery of new clients, opportunities, vendors, collaborators, service providers, and even new friends. Below are few techniques that can help you to expand your business network: • Take your current network to the next level. • Locate networking events. • Set objectives for the event. • Maintain symbiotic relationships. • Look for new faces. Review your insurance coverage Even if cash is tight or revenues are down, small businesses should not ignore their insurance needs. Small business insurance is one of the most essential components of safeguarding your livelihood, yourself, employees, and even customers. Hence, small business owners must have comprehensive insurance coverage and regularly review and update their coverage as their circumstances change. Ascertain that you understand what is and is not covered. Furthermore, as your company grows, you should review your coverage regularly. Few insurance agents will review your current policy and make recommendations based on your company's specific needs, as well as identify any discounts you may be eligible for. Besides, once you have determined what type of policy or policies you require, you can compare prices from various insurance companies to find the best value. Prioritize and upgrade company culture The hallmark of any successful business lies in making the workplace great and healthy for work. So if your small business relies on the work of employees, focusing on prioritizing and upgrading your company culture as well as nurturing your employees, is an excellent resolution for 2021. The previous year was stressful for both employees and employers, which can harm workplace productivity. It is crucial to foster an inclusive and empowering work environment. Take a survey to find out what changes employees would like to see in terms of culture, and then create a company culture that reflects their needs. Employee satisfaction leads to productivity and innovation. In addition, employees are more motivated to take pride in their work and the company they work for when they feel safe, respected, and have a sense of ownership. FAQs: How to write resolutions for small businesses? Examine all aspects of your small business from the previous year to create a solid list of resolutions for the coming year. Consider your successes and failures and work to alleviate them. What is a resolution for a business? In business, a resolution is a proposal made during a meeting of the company's shareholders or directors. It is discussed, and its approval represents an official confirmation of any action that the company will take. Resolutions are classified into four types: elective, extraordinary, unique, and ordinary. Why should every business have a resolution? Resolutions help to focus your efforts and energy on new goals and reaching new heights. In addition, resolutions enable business owners to understand where they can increase efficiency and grow over the coming year. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to write resolutions for small businesses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Examine all aspects of your small business from the previous year to create a solid list of resolutions for the coming year. Consider your successes and failures and work to alleviate them." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a resolution for a business?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "In business, a resolution is a proposal made during a meeting of the company's shareholders or directors. It is discussed, and its approval represents an official confirmation of any action that the company will take. Resolutions are classified into four types: elective, extraordinary, unique, and ordinary." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why should every business have a resolution?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Resolutions help to focus your efforts and energy on new goals and reaching new heights. In addition, resolutions enable business owners to understand where they can increase efficiency and grow over the coming year." } }] }

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