For MicroBizMattersDay 2016, micro business owners from across the globe are giving eight minutes of their time to help other micro enterprise owners achieve more in 2016. With the aim to recognise and promote micro businesses that have a starring role in their local community, encourage action from experienced micro business owners to share their expertise, and offer an inspiring learning platform for micro business owners new to the corporate world, there’s certainly a lot to be gained for micro business owners taking part.
As a bank with a wealth of experience catering for the needs of micro businesses, we also have a lot we can contribute to MicroBizMattersDay. If you’ve got a challenge that your micro business is struggling to overcome, tweet us using the #Aldermore8Ball hashtag and we’ll provide helpful advice and guidance specific to your business’ individual needs.
To kick things off, we’re sharing eight tips to help micro businesses go further in 2016. Including advice from a few business-savvy micro enterprise owners, and some guidance of our own, here are a few pearls of wisdom you can apply to your own micro business this year.
1. Treat your micro business like a family member
Owner of multiple micro businesses, including micro business advice service, The Efficiency Angel, and co-founder of Enterprise Rockers, Tina Boden shares her insight on the importance of giving your micro business the care and attention it needs. After buying her first business aged 21, Tina now boasts 25 years’ experience running micro businesses.
2. Choose a finance option that works for your business
Just because another micro business has great financial set up, it won’t necessarily work for you. Aldermore’s Group Managing Director of Business Finance, Carl D'Ammassa notes that finding the right solution is key. For instance, if you need to improve your cash flow, you might want to look into finance options such as invoice finance but if it’s new equipment you’re after, you may want to explore alternatives such as asset finance.
3. Find your niche in the market
Michelle Dorrell, owner of Chelles Designer Nails in Kent, highlights the need for businesses to offer something different from the competition. Michelle’s company is based on the belief that her customers’ needs are of the utmost importance and offers unique nail designs for those in her local area.
4. Don’t scale-up prematurely
While some micro businesses will have opportunities to scale-up in time, some will simply operate best on a smaller scale. If your business isn’t inundated with more demand than you can cope with or there isn’t a gap in the market you can expand into, scaling-up your business could make it unprofitable. Aldermore’s Director of Invoice Finance, Ross McFarlane, agrees it’s important to take time and get help when making growth decisions.
5. Communication is king
Owner of handmade jewellery business, Joolzery, Julia Emelogu emphasises actually listening to customers’ problems can do micro businesses a world of good. Based in Liverpool, Julia creates bespoke jewellery using silver, freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones.
6. Don’t underestimate the value of being online and mobile
With an increasing number of consumers turning to the internet to make purchases and using their mobiles to do lots of things, having mobile and online presence is crucial. However not all of us are as internet-savvy as we’d like, setting up a website or mobile app can take time and experience and might be expensive. Pamela Brown, Marketing Director at Aldermore Bank, suggests that one quick fix is giving your company a presence on social media and subsequently taking advantage of the existing digital platforms available. She highlights that another way to do it is to use website building tools, such as Squarespace, which help create beautiful sites with lots of templates that are mobile friendly too.
7. Have a clear distinction between work and play
James Devonshire’s micro business is as micro as it gets. Consisting of James, a laptop, a bamboo table and a chair, he offers his freelance writing services from a beach in the Philippines. Highlighting the importance of having clear distinctions between work time and playtime when working from home (or in this case, the beach), maintaining distinct boundaries is essential for a healthy work-life balance.
8. Keep it personal
One of the key advantages micro businesses have over big corporations is that they can build up a loyal following by bonding with their customers. Remembering names and faces, client preferences and providing excellent customer service are all key areas where micro businesses can excel and standout from the competition. Megan Powell, Operations Manager of Aldermore’s Business Savings Customer Services Team, tells us how important it is to build up a good relationship with customers, “whether it’s over the phone or via email, customers should feel like they’re dealing with a human being to get the help they need”.
If you’d like to share your own advice for micro businesses or are keen to learn more about building a successful micro enterprise, get involved with MicroBizMattersDay by joining in the conversations online today. You can view the full broadcast schedule for the day by visiting the MicroBizMattersDay website.
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