17 December 2019
In the blur of Halloween, Black Friday and Christmas preparations, you may not have had the chance to consider your new year business resolutions just yet. However, 2020 is no longer the distant future, and with a new decade comes new challenges for your business.
Change is on the horizon; ever-evolving technology means we’ll see a whole range of emerging business trends in 2020. We want to help you prepare your business for a new decade of success, so here’s our run-through of 8 small business tips for the new year:
1) Schedule industry events for the year ahead
As we’ve moved into the digital age, many companies have overlooked traditional networking in favour of concentrating on their online presence. Attending industry events is a great opportunity to promote your business, meeting potential clients or partners in person. It’s also key to asserting your brand’s leadership and expertise within your field; establish who you are and start receiving referrals for your services.
2) Conduct competitor research
Competitor research can be integral to your new year business planning, giving you the chance to take stock of your business’ position within your industry. Even if you are the market leader, it can be helpful to see what others are doing, or not doing, and what business potential this could offer you.
3) Get social
Whether your digital marketing efforts are minimal or extensive, it’s worth being aware of the growing developments within this field. Moving into 2020, many businesses will be aiming for a more ‘social’ customer experience across digital channels, recognising the appetite for immediacy in brand encounters.
If you have an Instagram or Facebook presence, try using stories to sell your company’s personality and presence, and use live chat functions to interact with your customers where possible.
4) Adapt to digital
For those who are up to date with the latest digital applications to help support their business efforts, now is a great time to research what new services or software might be emerging in the future.
If you aren’t a digital native it might seem daunting to use more technical functions to conduct your business, but there are lots of small steps your business can make to transition. Simple, user-friendly HR platforms exist that can speed up tiresome paperwork procedures, or you may want to invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) system to help manage your interactions with customers.
2019 was the year that Making Tax Digital came into force for VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above £85,000, meaning all records necessary for VAT purposes must be kept online and provided to HMRC through compatible software. Whilst the government don’t plan to widen the scope of MTD for business beyond VAT just yet, there are advantages to getting ahead.
TBL Accountants can help
At TBL Accountants we have already helped many businesses prepare for Digital Tax. Our team of experts have the skills to ensure your accounts are fully compliant and we are committed to helping local businesses migrate to MTD as easily as possible. Be sure to contact us at your earliest convenience and we’ll provide the support you need to get started with Making Tax Digital.
5) Plan your 5G strategy
The rollout of the 5G network continues into the new decade, with many set to experience the benefits of 5G for businesses. 25-times faster internet speed can only improve the efficiency of your working day and connectivity between your employees.
Two thirds of organisations have already planned to deploy 5G by 2020, so it’s likely many businesses will make the switch in the first half of this decade. Start thinking now about whether you’ll opt to upgrade your devices for 5G compatibility to factor this into your budget for 2020.
6) Remote working
Improved 5G will also make commuting and remote working more accessible for your employees, which brings us to our next point. The number of people who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over the last decade, and it’s predicted that, by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be working remotely.
Prepare to keep up with this shift where possible by considering how your business could make use of digital software for remote working, including conference calls and more.
7) Evolve into an eco-company
Our eco-consciousness has become decidedly more green this decade, with the likes of Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough catapulting the cause into international awareness. Business has the eco-bug too, with 28% more companies setting carbon and water targets over the past 5 years. Why not set your own target for the new year, and aim to lower your CO2 emissions, use more sustainable materials or streamline your packaging process?
8) Optimise your security
With data hacks hitting the headlines and GDPR being implemented in the last few years, it’s time to get serious about security. Customers want to know that their information will be safe in your hands, and will make brand choices based on this sense of trust. Ensure you update your cyber security, and review your approach to data safety to leave the information vulnerability to the decade behind us.