Published: 18 Apr 2023
Updated: 09 Jan 2024
Category: Business & Market Insights

5 SME Trends to Accelerate Your Business Growth

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If you’re a small and medium enterprise (SME), then you'll know how difficult the last few years have been. The pandemic had an incredible impact on the ability of businesses to survive, but thankfully through a relaxation of social distancing rules, the picture is starting to look a little clearer.

Even with tough economic times, there are many SMEs that are now starting to thrive. If you want your business to flourish, it's important to ride on recent trends to ensure you can get ahead of the competition. Let's take a look at the 5 projected trends to accelerate growth for SMEs.

 

5 SME Trends in 2023


1. Digital Transformation

We're living in the digital age, but there are still too many companies that are stuck in the past. While technology has had a significant impact on business in the last 50 years, that has been taken to a whole new level in recent times.

It has never been more important for SMEs to get on board with digital transformation. There are many ways where you can improve your SME digitalisation, including how you accept payments, communicate with your staff, store information, and much more.

The change induced by fintech is something that has to be explored by SMEs, if they haven't already. Not only does it make it easier for financial transactions and services, but customers now expect digital access to payments and money management. 

However, fintech is only one part of digital transformation. An SME should also be looking at how they can more effectively store and analyse data, improve their online security, and offer better digital service to their customers. Never be left behind by missing out on technological advancements.


2. Flexible Workspace

The post-pandemic world has taught us a few things about the modern workspace. One of them is that employees want flexibility in their work schedules, along with flexible workspaces. This can allow a business to be more dynamic with its location and workforce. 

Due to the pandemic, many employees were forced to work from home, but this had many side effects. It showed employees that remote work was a possibility, and it showed employers that the traditional static office structure was outdated.
Not only is working from home not going away, but there is also an increasing appetite for flexible workspaces. Rather than be stuck with an office in one location, you can look at flexible solutions such as virtual offices, day offices, co-working spaces, and more. 

If that’s of interest to your business, then make sure to take a look at our products and services. They can help to revolutionise your business and give you the option to have a happier, more dynamic, and specialised workforce. 


3. Flexible Payment Solutions

There has been another seismic change in recent times, and that is the expectation that customers have when it comes to making payments. Not only is cash no longer king, but paying upfront is now losing its appeal too.

There are many benefits to offering flexible payment solutions, and it's important to adapt with the times. Inflation in many countries is running sky-high, and people are struggling with their utility bills and day-to-day living costs.

Simply put, consumers have less money than ever and are more likely to have second thoughts regarding large purchases. This is why you need to offer incentives for them to follow through with their buying impulses, with such payment options as purchasing now and paying later.

Of course, this can come with a cash flow risk, but it can help to elevate sales and boost customer loyalty. 


4. Becoming More Sustainable

The debate about sustainability and profit is one that has been talked about a lot in recent times. There is a move for businesses to be more focused on their environmental impact, but is this at a possible risk to revenue and profits?

Well, the answer to this depends on the type of business you’re in and your target demographic. What is clear is that an increasing number of customers are embracing sustainability and having increased interest in companies that have more ethical practices.

While it would be unwise to completely overhaul an SME for the sake of sustainability, it’s obvious that a move to more environmentally-friendly practices and products would play well with potential customers.

There are also ways to increase the visibility of your sustainable practices. For example, you sell a plastic product that is completely recyclable. If so, make sure to include this in the marketing of the product. 


5. Embracing AI

For many SMEs, AI is scary. Not only will it take away jobs in the future, but it also has the ability to make certain types of businesses defunct. It increasingly seems like there are only two ways of dealing with the rise of AI.

You can either ignore it and wait for it to be a huge problem, or you can embrace it and explore how it can transform your business. It’s never going away, so it seems like the only logical solution is to incorporate it and see how it can work for you.

Embracing AI for SME can be done in many ways, such as automating some of your operations, which will not only make them more efficient but also improve their speed. You can also use AI for human resources management, improving customer services, and reducing the workload of your employees.

AI is an unstoppable force, and it’d be much better to ride the wave than be drowned by it. Look at ways you can use AI to your advantage. 

 

Final Thoughts

The resilience of SMEs during the pandemic was incredible to see. While the focus for many in 2020 was survival, now we’re on the other side of the pandemic, and many are starting to thrive. This is no doubt helped by following some of these key industry trends.

It's always been important for businesses to adapt, but with the profound changes in recent years, it feels more vital than ever. It's always a good idea to look out for recent trends and see how they can help your business grow.

 

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