Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom today unveiled a £10 million grant scheme for business organisations and trade associations to support businesses in preparing for Brexit ahead of 31 October 2019.
The Business Readiness Fund is open to business organisations and trade associations throughout the UK and will support events, training and the production of advice packs to assist businesses in making sure they are fully prepared for a Brexit on 31 October 2019.
Activities funded by the grants must be open to both members and non-members, and to businesses large and small preparing for Brexit on 31 October. This will ensure all businesses will benefit and can be reassured that they are fully ready, from major British producers to the smallest tech startups and entrepreneurs. There will be no barriers, such as affordability of membership.
Applications for grants will be accepted up to Monday 30 September 2019 and administered through a dedicated website. Funding will have to be used on activities to be completed ahead of 31 October 2019 in order to ensure they are focused on Brexit preparations and that our businesses are fully prepared for Brexit day.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
"The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October. For businesses that still feel unprepared, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to ensure they are fully ready for Brexit.
"We know that companies often rely on the wider business community for help and advice with planning. Business groups will now be given the necessary tools to engage with this crucial task, communicating with non-members and businesses of all sizes.
"The funding we are announcing today will mean business organisations from all sectors across the country can stand resolutely behind businesses large and small to support them in preparing for, and seizing the opportunities of, leaving the EU."
Craig Beaumont, Director of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Business said:
"As an organisation representing 165,000 small firms and the self-employed in every local community across the UK, we welcome these funds that target small businesses. It is mission critical to the economy that they have the information they need, to prepare for Brexit."
For more information visit Gov.uk's page located here.
Cutting unnecessary expenses is one of the quickest ways for small businesses to have fewer excess costs. In most cases, you will easily find the information that you require to make decisions about your options, these areas could include: space, vehicles, utilities, telecom, and printing – it really depends on what kind of business you are running. The first step is to analyse your expenses at the moment and work towards a better solution.
Have a business communication strategy
If you previously set up a business communication strategy, if your business ever finds itself in trouble, you will already have a plan to let your customers know what is going on. If you haven't, you should set one up today. It will help you communicate things quickly, which is vital in the event of a crisis. This is why it is necessary that you have an up-to-date list of all your customers’ email addresses and phone numbers, so that you can contact them straight away. Next to that, you should have someone in your company who is going to write a press release in case of a true disaster.
A great number of business leaders will tell you that telecommuting can do wonders for your cost-cutting needs. The sad fact is that many companies don’t make use of this potential. It has been proven that telecommuting allowances, as well as other kinds of flexible work agreements, positively affect your employees’ job satisfaction and morale. And, of course, it goes without saying that these things have a great impact on general productivity.
Cost cutting your product
Another method of cutting costs is to pay attention to a particular product or service. When it comes to this solution, you must put all related expenses under scrutiny. As a small business owner, you can look into materials, purchasing, design, production, and delivery, as well as other fields that are related to the product itself.
Make use of social media
If a crisis occurs, you need to make the best out of all the social media channels that you have. In truth, they can make or break your efforts to solve the issues at hand. It is of an essence that whoever is managing the accounts is fully acquainted with your business crisis plan. This will make sure that nothing goes wrong while you are taking care of your business’ communication strategy.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
When in need of support during a critical situation, you can rely on your contacts in order to get referrals. These are the people who are interested in the products or services that you have to offer. So all that you need to do is ask. Your contacts can provide prospects, the more referrals you’ve got, the more business you will generate through them.
Every once in a while, your small business is bound to face adversity.
You may have already heard the saying that “Existing customers are more likely to buy from you then when approaching a new customer.” Well, it’s much more than a saying – it’s a proven fact.
A joint study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta found that existing customers not only spend on average 67% more than new customers during checkout, but retaining the business of an existing customer costs 10 times less than the cost of acquiring new customers.
The report concludes by noting that customer loyalty can bring big benefits to small businesses:
Once businesses truly grasp the impact their customer base has on their long term business viability, they can spend more of their time and budget focused on existing customers, which not only saves them money – it makes for explosive revenue growth.
Because of this, it puzzles me that so many small businesses and even large corporations spend their time and resources it takes to chase down and win over new customers instead of simply looking after their existing ones.
Why Sales Isn’t A Numbers Game!
Have you ever heard the saying, “Sales isn’t a Numbers Game”? If you’ve ever worked in sales, you have undoubtedly heard that saying at least once (or if you worked at a cold call center, once every hour of the work day). But sales aren’t isn’t supposed to be a numbers game. This archaic mentality is what will lead you to spending a whole lot of time and energy trying to convert the nonconvertible.
I don’t know who came up with that saying, but they are dead wrong – and here is why. It is incredibly short sighted to think that sales are a simply game of asking as many people as possible for money, then hoping and praying that eventually someone will cave in and fork over their cash. Having worked in a variety of different industries, I’ve witnessed firsthand that regardless of what industry you work in, the one common denominator that all salespeople should consider is that customers are people – human beings just like you and I – and that they are certainly not numbers to be checked off one-by-one.
The bottom line is that businesses treat their customers as numbers. That is a fact which is one of the biggest problems we have in the world of business today. If the customer were just a number, you would not need to care how they feel, think or talk about your product or service after they bought it. Instead, you would just keep on making money from them without looking after your existing customers.
They Are A People’s Game!
Some businesses offer subscription services, such as mobile phones, online memberships, hosting, and many other products. As a result, they lose their customers within their first 12 months and get bad reviews on customer care, support and even their products. Many companies use ads and marketing strategies to win new customers, then, as soon as they have them, they no longer care about looking after them or following up. It’s as if once the money is in their hands, the customer ceases to exist.
This unsympathetic approach to customer service can often turn fatal for businesses of any size. As a result of their poor customer care and support systems in place, businesses end up losing their customers just as fast as they got them.
Which brings me to the point: that sales aren’t a numbers game, but a people game. When you have a great relationship with your customers, they will always come back to buy more from you, not to mention send more customer referrals your way. The sales revenue, the numbers in your account, and even the success of your business are just a few of the many results of you selling your product. The thing that matters most is to look after your existing customers to the best of your ability. This will not only increase your sales, but also improve your public reputation as a company, which is very important these days in regards to building a long lasting, successful business.
Even before a product can hit the shelves – or even before it’s available in online stores – there are hundreds of hours of market research that takes place. Research on what type of consumer your demographic is made up of, customers like, what is in demand, what customers need, what they do not like about competing products, where do they currently spend their money, and on what?
From the beginning of developing a product or offering a service, all the way up until it is actually sold and starts to generate revenue, and even throughout the entire sales process, every single aspect of a product or service revolves around the actual customers that are buying what you’re selling.
In today’s market, businesses who believe that sales are a numbers game are setting themselves up for failure. Sales is now – and always has been – a people game. It’s a game of winning their trust before they even consider buying from you, a game of demonstrating the value of not just what you’re selling to them, but that you and your sales pitch are valuable enough to take up their time.
You can hire the best product development team to come out with the most effective, aesthetically pleasing, and indestructible product on the planet – but if customers don’t trust the person selling it, they won’t buy it. At the end of the day, all you need to remember is to treat people like people, not a paycheck.
For more information on how you can maximise sales in your business click here.
Words by Dario Cucci