Top ten business tips - Business Works
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Top ten business tips

Graham Sutherland, MD, BT Business panel of leading business experts was assembled to form the BT Business Assessors and through the work they've done on this project they have formed a top ten list of new year resolutions suitable for SMEs to think about over the festive season.

The purpose of the panel is to provide small businesses with tailored and relevant tips to help them gain a competitive edge. A detailed audit questionnaire was created by the panel which allowed the experts to provide individual analysis of the findings and advice on how the selected companies can enhance their services. The audit covers a number of elements, such as general structural points as well as alook at cost management and the technology being used in the firm. A number of companies have been audited so far and have since been presented with their own tailored tips.

Here is a list of the panel's Top 10 Business Tips:

  1. Use the internet and your website to their full potential. Why not try out some web deals to help manage stock, or share and promote expertise with some webinars relevant to your audience.

  2. Consider introducing 'in-store' wi-fi. Research shows that customers dwell time in shops increases when wi-fi is available.

  3. Install a sturdy communications network. Those who employ a planned and strategic communications network will be able to reduce any soaring mobile costs significantly, while increasing efficiency within the business overall.

  4. Have the most efficient resources. Back office admin can be a drain on time and cost when this could be spent looking after the customer. Anything that can save time and efficiency such as better communication and online resources at a reasonable cost would be a sound investment.

  5. Remember why you are in business and how you give value. Everything you do is focused on giving the customer a premium bespoke service at a premium price. You must not compromise on any element of this as the service, training, staff and stock availability all form part of the package.

  6. Keep to your promise. In very simple terms, successful companies are those that consistently deliver against their brand standards and values and your suppliers have a huge influence on this. Having control over your supply base ensures consistency of supply whilst promoting innovation and cost reduction. As such, getting the supply side right will allow you to focus more time on wowing your customers and growing your brand!

  7. Ensure you have a number of suppliers to choose from. Being able to influence your customerís willingness to switch brand or product gives you more negotiating power with suppliers. Equally, maintaining flexibility in choice of raw materials ensures that you can avoid being held to ransom.

  8. Conduct regular reviews with your major suppliers on more than just price. Delivery, stock and issue resolution KPIs provide leverage in commercial negotiations and maintain focus on quality and service.

  9. Be aware of consumersí concerns around social and ethical issues. Both raw material sourcing and emerging market production regularly come under the spotlight and when issues arise, it is often the companies who 'touch' the consumer who are also at risk of being tarnished by negative publicity. To that end take time out to investigate your supply chain and ask suppliers about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy.

  10. Companies that stand still expose themselves to being copied and undercut. For small businesses, it is key to use suppliers as a source of innovation. They are likely to have much bigger budgets for innovation and will come to you first if you are an early adopter and open to innovative ideas.

BT provides a range of IT business services and packages ideal for all sizes of companies. For more information, please visit:

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