The State of Small and Medium Enterprises: Insights from a Survey of 90+ Business Owners
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are vital engines of economic growth and employment. However, competing with larger businesses can be a formidable challenge. In a recent survey of 94 business owners, we gained insights into the current state of SMEs and the issues they face in the market.
Differentiating from the Competition
Quality of products/services and branding were considered the top differentiators by SMEs, with 33% each, and 16.7% citing pricing as the key factor. This emphasizes the significance of crafting a unique value proposition that sets a business apart from its competitors.
The Top Challenges
Attracting customers (41.7%) and financing (41.7%) were cited as the leading difficulties faced by SMEs when competing with larger businesses. SMEs must adopt effective sales and marketing strategies, and explore alternative funding options, to overcome these hurdles. Technology (33.3%) and regulatory requirements (16.7%) were also mentioned as challenges.
Online research (83.3%) was the most popular method of staying informed about industry trends and changes, followed by networking (58.3%) and reading trade publications (33.3%). Attending industry conferences and upgrading knowledge ranked lower. SMEs need to ensure they have a strong online presence to maximize the benefits of online research.
Gathering Customer Feedback
Online reviews (41.7%) and in-person interviews (50%) were the most commonly used methods of gathering customer feedback, followed by surveys (25.9%) and phone calls (48.1%). SMEs should prioritize gathering customer feedback to improve their products/services.
The Importance of Online Presence
66.7% of SMEs rated having a strong online presence as “very important” while 16.7% rated it “important”. This underlines the need for SMEs to invest in digital marketing and develop an effective online marketing strategy.
Sales (33.3%) and customer satisfaction (16.7%) were the primary measures of success for SMEs. To succeed, SMEs must focus on delivering value to their customers while maintaining profitability.
Improving Competitive Advantage
A majority of SMEs (81.7%) expressed interest in learning more about Anima’s services/solutions to enhance their competitive advantage, offering a significant opportunity for consultancies to provide information about their ability to navigate the competitive landscape.
Maintaining Supplier Relationships
Frequent communication (25%) and flexible payment options (16.7%) were the top factors in maintaining good relationships with suppliers. SMEs must understand their suppliers’ needs and work together to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.
Having a Business Plan
A majority of SMEs (43.6%) do not have a solid business plan in place, highlighting the importance of having a well-defined business strategy.
Employee recognition (33.3%), professional development (27%), and flexible work arrangements (14.7%) were key factors in keeping employees motivated. SMEs should invest in their employees and create a supportive work environment.
Continuous improvement (48.6%) was the most common method of managing profitability, followed by cost-cutting (37.7%) and increasing sales (31.7%). SMEs must continually seek ways to improve their bottom line.
In conclusion, SMEs face several challenges in the market, but by leveraging the right tools and resources, they can overcome these obstacles and achieve success. As always, if you have any queries about the survey or would like to talk about your business and its challenges, get in touch with one of our experts and we would be happy to help to the best of our abilities.
Also, we are excited to announce the launch of “The Anima Perspective”, a new segment within our business that will provide valuable insights and advice on how to define and leverage competitive advantage in the business world, live.