The Start of an SME’s End

open-SMESmall and medium businesses run differently than big businesses. It might not be very obvious to the consumers but the SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) run into more problems more often than big enterprises. But even after having gained knowledge about the pros and cons in running SMEs, everywhere around the world more and more new companies emerge that are inclining more to the small and medium enterprises than big enterprises; the reason being that it takes lesser effort and time to open new SMEs.

Let us define what determine factors of an SME are.

SMEs have a total number of employees that is less than 250; and SMEs have a turnover of EUR 50 m. Note though that this SMEs do not include firms that are part of a bigger group or company with more than 250 employees.

Research shows that 50 percent of new businesses fail during the first 5 to 10 years. And it is not entirely because of a failure caused by a department or two, or the lack of leadership. There are more factors that contribute to the demise of a young business, especially in SMEs.

One of the major factors when starting up a business is marketing. And this factor also does affect every single aspect of your business once it is up and running.

Your new business must stand out. It must be innovative to stand out. And it must let the public know of its innovation. It must market its innovation. And it must know how to market it successfully.

What is the newest and quickest way to market your innovation today? The answer is new media technologies: streaming video and audio, digital video for both television and web, digital printing for paper and web, etc.

Most SMEs invest less time in planning their marketing strategies and this is where the end of new companies start. If the product is not marketed well, no one knows it exists; thus, it will continue to do so until it shuts down for good.

Engage Your Customers

engage-customersOne of the many good tactics of successful online companies is their customer engagement program.

According to Wikipedia, customer engagement is “the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand”. Wikipedia also further explains that “the initiative for engagement can either be consumer- or company- led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline”.
The number one customer engagement program, as far as our research has gone, is social media—in particular, Facebook.

We all have it. Well, if not, then almost all; and if not almost then everyone who has access to the internet. No one would want to miss any update from their circle of family and friends. With the increasing dependency of social media account holders to daily news feeds, it is impossible to take away the kind of technology that connects them with family and friends, plus, additional entertainment.

Social media has been feeding one of the basic needs of a common human being—attention. It has been feeding its hunger for attention. It has been feeding the people’s narcissism. And what better way to fulfill this need than to create a portal for it that produces cash flow from both businesses and consumers.

The first step to start the process is to create your own social media account. Create your company’s social media account. That account becomes your portal for engaging customers. Once you have it, then you’re good to start with your customer engagement program.
When you invite people to follow your page, you are increasing visibility, increasing your company’s exposure.

Finding new customers is a hard. And with your customer engagement program through social media you are sure to keep old customers active.

Remember, it is hard to find new customers. It is hard enough to convert a lead to a sale. It is better to hold returning customers and make them happy rather than finding new ones. It is like building a relationship.

Broadcasting vs. Connecting

Forums, feedback options, customer support programs and social media are out on the loose.

Putting an idea across to the consumers cannot solely be successfully met through broadcasting, at least not that completely anymore.

We, as consumers, do not want to be advertised anymore. We do not want to be broadcasted with advertisements and any form of marketing anymore. This is not very much evident to the remote provinces and some third world countries though; but for the big corporations who want to meet their monthly lead target, changing their advertising strategy away from broadcasting seems like a good way to start.

Broadcasting ads are everywhere. You log on to Youtube, for example, then you see an ad running for 20 seconds and hit “skip ad” by the time that you can. It is worse when you cannot skip the ad, either a web ad or a TV ad.

It is of no doubt that less than 50 percent of the people even notice ads placed in the malls’ walls or in sidewalk’s ad sign, let alone pay attention to a brochure given at the entrance of a building—yes, they still do this kind of marketing ‘strategy’.

Consumers now take preference on connecting with the brand, the brand name, say Apple, and the consumers of the same brand. Connecting with the consumers of the same brand invites the experience of belonging into a community and creates a feeling of security having people at your back.

broadcast-vs-connect

So only which platforms allow them to connect to such? Forums, feedback options, customer support—and the most-used, most famous, social media.

Social media has changed the way firms advertise and market. It has changed the way consumers respond to a product and connect to other consumers. Social media has allowed brand to both broadcast and connect. Social media is a powerful tool in advertising and marketing.