Australian SMEs’ top 10 growth strategies for 2012 revealed

Despite local economic obstacles and a volatile global economy, business owners are still looking to strengthen customer relationships and expand business development activity in 2012...

According to MYOB’s recent Business Monitor research, 49 per cent of small to medium business owners are aiming for client/revenue growth in 2012 (an increase of three percentage points on the prior year), 32 per cent are hoping to simply maintain their current levels and 13 per cent are focused on minimising losses in these areas. The remainders are unsure of their goal.

Tim Reed, MYOB CEO said, “Customers will understandably remain the core focus for Australian SMEs in maintaining and strengthening their business health in 2012, with our research finding more than one third of businesses are set to increase activity around attracting customers’ attention and building their loyalty.”

“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.”

Customer attraction, customer retention and diversifying their business into new areas were the key 2012 business development strategies for at least one third of the 1000+ Australian SMEs surveyed.

Interestingly, businesswomen were more focused than their male counterparts on growing client numbers and business revenues. 54 per cent of females surveyed had this objective compared with 45 per cent of males.

Respondents provided the following top 10 business elements they plan to increase activity for over the coming year:

1. Focus on customer retention strategies – 39 per cent of respondents
2. Focus on customer acquisition strategies – 34 per cent
3. Business activity in new markets – 33 per cent
4. Number or variety of products or services offered by the business – 29 per cent
5. Amount paid to staff – 24 per cent
6. Sale of products / services online – 24 per cent
7. Sales of products  / services offline – 23 per cent
8. Number of sales promotions conducted over the year – 22 per cent
9. Number of part time or casual staff in the business – 21 per cent
10. Dollar value of spending on marketing and advertising the business online – 21 per cent

“It also makes sense for SMEs to broaden their horizons into new markets, and to compete on a global scale where possible, providing their business with access to larger, more diverse audiences,” Mr Reed said.

“This is something the internet and cloud computing easily facilitate if business owners have the right tools and resources at their disposal. We’re seeing more and more operators benefit from getting their business online with a website. Our research shows those with a website generated 6 per cent more revenue in the previous 12 months than those without. The key is getting online, being found, communicating well to your online audience and in doing so getting solid access to the digital economy.”

© iStart Technology in Business www.iStart.com.au

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