Here are a few tips for UK managers in how to develop that competitive edge.
Get out the atlas
We all hear about the growth of countries such as China and the need for UK companies to up their game in order to compete. Whilst all well and true, this huge rise in global living standards provides a great sales opportunity when many traditional markets are stagnant in terms of growth.
The reputation of UK businesses abroad is extremely high, as they are seen as having the most trustworthy, high quality, aspirational brands. Not only that, English is the business language of choice and current low exchange rates make exports cheaper abroad. These markets not only offer new customer bases, but also a chance to reduce the cost of suppliers. Many global brands are deploying the services of Indian digital and app development agencies in order to specifically reduce costs.
Explore the digital world
Merely having a website is no longer sufficient for companies to remain competitive. Out there is a network of potential customers communicating with each other in the digital space and companies have to interact with them to stay ahead.
Many feel creating a Facebook page and Twitter account is sufficient, but to most effectively utilise this medium a social media plan should be developed. Consider where target groups are engaging with each other and then what it is they are required to do; buy online, provide their email address or simply mention the name of a brand? Once this has been established, think what the most effective ways are to incentivise people into reaching these aims. Is it to educate through white papers, entertain with video uploads or entice with money off vouchers?
Appearances are everything
It could be speaking at conferences, uploading podcasts, judging awards or being interviewed in industry press - there are a multitude of low cost initiatives that can be undertaken to be considered an industry leader.
When customers become disenfranchised with their current supplier, their natural reaction is to then go for what they consider to be the next best alternative, but what they’re actually doing is being swayed by what’s influencing them most at that time.
Why pay more
There are a multitude of online tools out there that allow a variety of functions to be performed for free, some of which may be currently outsourced to expensive specialist agencies. With Social Mention, monitor social media chatter using keyword searches. Google Analytics can pinpoint what parts of a website are popular and where content is a waste of time and money, whereas Mailchimp provides a brilliantly designed, user-friendly platform to develop branded email marketing campaigns and then monitor their effectiveness.
Think smart, act smart
Times are tough, so there’s no reason to make them tougher by not properly evaluating the credit history of all customers and suppliers. Company credit reports are becoming increasingly sophisticated and detailed, as they not only tell if a company has suffered difficulties in the past, but also provide information regarding their promptness in paying previous supplier invoices.
In terms of risk minimisation, liquidity is key. All the sales in the world will count for nothing if customers are not able to pay when they are required to!