The green shoots of recovery - such a lovely phrase, and one spread across the news of late to herald a drop in unemployment and the IMF predicting a 2.4% growth for the UK economy; apparently the highest of any major European economy. Sounds reassuring and encouraging, yet I wonder what the true impact of this for businesses and I suspect that some will benefit sooner and greater than others.
Well, I've recently (unscientifically) tested my suspicions when networking, and so far the feedback is mixed. Some feel that staff development and training is still viewed as a discretionary spend by some businesses, and proposals issued during last year are still awaiting approval, and may not achieve this until Spring. Other anecdotal feedback about the procurement of services and technology would suggest this is a higher priority for some companies, though one hopes they invest in some training to maximise its use.
So what can you do to get your business ready for those opportunities? Here are 3 thoughts:
1. Dust off your sales and marketing plan - if you've been conducting less marketing over recent periods, the chances are your plan needs to be reviewed and activities critiqued to ensure they will support growth
2. Let people know your still here - similar to the sales and marketing plan, your previous customers may have had less to spend in the last few years, and your interaction with them may have decreased to reflect this. If they are ready to buy again, don't assume that you are the only supplier they will contact
3. Meeting demand - you may have downsized your team or diverged into other product or services to keep the business going. If your old customers do come back or buy more, are you able to increase productivity or service an increase in customers and their needs? Evaluate theses scenarios in advance and know how you will sustainably deliver this
It's a concern that if Britain is split on the recovery, those businesses that are still bunkering down are likely to miss. You've seen the motorway signs "is your car prepared for winter?" - ask yourself is your business prepared for the opportunities of 2014?
Here's to a great year.
John is a Director of Vector Resources Limited and helps businesses increase sales and improve sales performance. Find out more at www.vector-resources.co.uk