As we gradually near the end of the year’s first half, now is a crucial time for small businesses to assess what has been working, what has not, and what goals may or may not have been accomplished. Perhaps an initiative started in the first quarter of the year hasn’t quite shown the anticipated results or solved certain customer pain points.
Whatever the case, now is the perfect time for SMEs to do some “spring cleaning.” Whether it’s a tweaking of your business plan or reviewing certain strategies, adopting a revamped, data informed approach can help SMEs take into account recent learnings and smoothly ease into the next portion of the year.
Mike Elliff, CEO of Tyl by NatWest, offers some guidance on what SMEs can do to best revise their business models to drive efficiencies, streamline their operations and offer wider benefits to customers?
Gain real-time insights into business performance
For time-strapped small business owners, access to accurate and up-to-date insights into their business operations is essential. Investing in business analytics is a useful way for SMEs to have an accurate handle on sales, payments, and inventory, often keeping track of everything in one place and at the same time. Features such as the Tyl Portal help by crunching the numbers, making it easier for businesses to keep track of transactions, invoices, and settlement history, and find out when the busiest times, are all at the same time.
Such insights are invaluable when it comes to developing a more robust business model and gaining an understanding of issues such as staff numbers and what products are flying off the shelves, ultimately helping businesses stay afloat and remain profitable. What’s more, with the democratisation of data, SME owners are in a strong position to better analyse their business performance, devising strategies to drive growth and avoid unnecessary expenditure.
Embrace the benefits of card and contactless payments to the full
As we all know, speed is critical for time-poor shoppers and manual data entry is a typically laborious process for business owners which is prone to errors. Fortunately, card and contactless payments help facilitate real-time automated data entry, removing the need for manual processing into accounting software. Adopting card and contactless payments also easily enables SMEs to gather data. Business owners can automatically sync their accounting data without the need for duplicate entries, facilitating seamless accountancy integration. The benefits of digital payment technology ensure SMEs are reducing the risks of human error and are instead equipping themselves with accurate financial oversight of how their business is performing.
Evolving consumer preferences and increasing costs for businesses across the board have led the charge for cost-effective and time-saving solutions.
Tyl by NatWest’s research revealed that 43% of customers would not return to a shop if it didn’t take card or contactless payments, showing how consumers have rapidly confided in the benefits of digital payments.
With the reduced processing and handling of cash, SMEs can optimise the customer experience through faster transactions and reduced wait times and queues. By taking on a greater volume of payments in the same amount of time, businesses can reduce the number of staff needed behind the tills so these resources can be placed elsewhere. This, in turn, not only helps save money but streamlines a SMEs overall business model and financial operations.
Maximise visibility to potential customers
Adopting an agile approach to trading – combining the best of online and offline commerce – can pay dividends.
Initiating round-the-clock sales enables SMEs to sell products and services to customers regardless of location and time, diversifying their business models in the process.
By giving customers more ways to buy or access products and services, SMEs can build an affinity with their customer base, driving repeat visits. Business owners can also use this as an opportunity to highlight special offers and create rewards programmes to build loyalty and increase brand value. In turn, the data from these schemes can indicate which offers are working well and suggest ways for SMEs to further declutter and streamline their inventory.
By using the latest technological innovations and payment methods, business owners can optimise their customer experience whilst alleviating their own financial and capacity constraints. Current developments in card and contactless payments have meant business owners can streamline their operations and maximise transaction rates. This in turn ensures SMEs are accelerating their overall business performance and staying atop of evolving customer demands and expectations.