Customers will be the focus of many SMB business development strategies this year, as businesses work toward attracting their attention and creating loyalty to survive the two-speed economy.
According to MYOB’s latest Business Monitor research, 49 percent of small to medium business owners are aiming for client/revenue growth in 2012, an increase of three percentage points on the prior year, while 32 percent hope to simply maintain their current levels.
Survey respondents pointed to the following top 10 business elements as those they’ll be increasing activity around this year:
1. Focus on customer retention strategies – 39 percent of respondents.
2. Focus on customer acquisition strategies – 34 percent.
3. Business activity in new markets – 33 percent.
4. Number or variety of products or services offered by the business – 29 percent.
5. Amount paid to staff – 24 percent.
6. Sale of products/services online – 24 percent.
7. Sales of products/services offline – 23 percent.
8. Number of sales promotions conducted over the year – 22 percent.
9. Number of part time or casual staff in the business – 21 percent.
10. Dollar value of spending on marketing and advertising the business online – 21 percent.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said he’s not surprised customers will remain the main focus for local SMBs this year.
“What I found especially interesting was the insight we received into the importance SMEs place on driving growth through diversification. It makes sense for today’s business owners, many of whom face increasingly financially conservative consumers, to foster a ‘stickier’ customer by providing more products or services to whet their appetite. For many it will be the key to their survival in a two-speed economy,” he said.
Reed said it also makes sense for businesses to expand into new markets to compete on a global scale, providing access to larger and more diverse audiences.
“This is something the internet and cloud computing easily facilitate if business owners have the right tools and resources at their disposal,” he added.
MYOB’s Business Monitor results are a platform for SMBs to benchmark their new year planning against and a call to action for those operating in the business-to-business landscape that wish to drive client and revenue levels higher in 2012.