Nearly half of Irish SME Business Owners believe Fine Gael to be the most pro-business party.
The main barriers to growth for 2016 have been identified as: Rising Labour Costs; Access to Credit; Availability of Suitable Premises and Suitability Qualified Staff.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our BCI Spring 2016 Business Sentiment Survey. We are delighted to share with you the broad views of the Irish Business Community about the things that matter most to you…In the run up to the general election, what does a pro-Irish SME business government look like? Is the outlook for the trading year ahead positive among businesses across the country? What are the main inhibitors to growth and how do we address these?
So here’s what you said:
Your views may well have changed following Monday night’s live debate but in a comprehensive survey of 127 SME’s from a cross-section of industries across 21 counties, a staggering 61% of Irish SME Business Owners stated they would like to see Fine Gael lead the next government, while fewer than one in five opted for Fianna Fáil and just over 7% for Labour.
Nearly half of the Irish Business Owners polled also believe Fine Gael to be the friendliest party to Irish Businesses, with Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats polling lowest in this regard.
In terms of a coalition, over 42% believe that our country and economy should be left in the safe hands of the current Fine Gael / Labour government to keep the recovery going, with the second most popular choice being a Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil coalition at 22% – an option supposedly ruled out by both party leaders.
These results highlight the somewhat contrasting views of Ireland’s SME Business community compared with the general population. While support for Fine Gael has dropped 2 percentage points to 26% in the latest general Red C opinion poll conducted on behalf of the Irish Sun, our results highlight the fact Business owners have much more confidence that the traditional parties, and Fine Gael in particular, will best serve the needs of our SME’s, who employ 68% of the workforce.
More than half of those surveyed, 52%, also worry about the damage a Brexit could do to business, fearing increased prices, damage to exports, cross-border trade, currency fluctuations and a negative impact for tourism.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are big fans of the Clinton’s with 70% favouring Hilary as the next US president, while just 5% favoured the controversial Mr Trump.
Business Outlook for 2016….
Some 65% of Businesses were profitable last year. The outlook for 2016 is looking positive with 91% expecting to be at least as or more profitable in 2016, with half of those surveyed also expecting to hire more staff this year.
Rising labour costs, access to credit, VAT and availability of suitable premises and staff are named as the biggest barriers to growth among our SME business community.
A majority 57% of companies had to wait over 30 days to get paid by customers and clients which led to a massive 69% of owners calling on Government to introduce legislation for mandatory payment within 30 days across the private sector, similar to what is already in place for semi-states.
It’s clear that in an increasingly competitive and demanding market Irish SMEs need help to remain competitive and profitable. Our survey shows there are still numerous barriers to growth and we need Government thinking to reflect this – including keeping a close eye on the potential of rising labour costs which will hit the bottom line, affect ability to trade and ultimately cost jobs. Banks are still slow to give credit and finance to companies according to our survey and there’s the ongoing problem for companies in getting paid – we need to look at legislation to counteract this.
The Value of Social Media in Business…
Social media usage for business is high at 69%, but confidence in its powers is low. Almost a quarter don’t use it at all, and 58% said it was overrated compared to traditional lead generation and marketing methods.
We are slow to adopt the newer social media platforms, with Facebook still the most favoured tool among the business community at 61% followed by LinkedIn (22%) and Twitter (7.4%).
What is worth noting is that half of those polled stated that less than 10% of their business comes from social media.
This reiterates the point that while social media can be a hugely important strategy for many businesses, particularly B2C, it’s not necessarily relevant for all. It’s important to understand your target market and how best to reach them. Even more importantly, know your numbers! How good are your sales team at dealing with the enquiries social media and other methods of marketing generate? Are they converting? Could your sales process be better? While we are not ruling social media out, there are lots of easy ways to increase your sales and generate healthier profits before going down the line of investing a huge amount time and resources in social media marketing. Get the basics right first.
So, has your opinion being reflected above? Please comment to let us know your views…
This week we are delighted to share the latest edition of Small Business Edge Magazine with you.
Inside Small Business Edge you will find some fantastic articles by global industry leaders on:
- How To Ensure Your Next Hire Is Your Best Hire
- Putting The ‘Wow Factor’ Into Customer Service
- The 6 Empirical Methods To Achieve Marketing Genius
- How Great Leaders Move Mountains
- And much more…
Just click here to read the digital magazine and comment below to let us know how it may help give you an edge in business…
If you would like one of our Business Coaches to give you a call to discuss how we can help you achieve greater success in your business just fill in your details below:
How To Make More Sales Without Finding New Customers
It’s much easier to sell something to one of your existing customers than it is to sell to a brand-new prospect. The key reason for this is trust. When you’ve already sold something to someone, you’ve built trust. They gave you money, and in return you gave them a solution to their problem and hopefully now have a track record of delivering on your promises.
Trust goes a long way but doesn’t mean they’ll automatically become repeat customers. Here are our three R’s to remember in order to create repeat customers from your past clients:
First things first – make sure you product or service always delivers the desired results for your customer. The one sure way to guarantee this is to ask! Did they like your first product? Did it meet or exceed their expectations? Has their problem been solved?
Check in with your customer after the first sale – don’t just leave them out in the cold once the sale has been made. This is the difference between demonstrating that you’ll deliver a product versus demonstrating that you care, and will deliver a real value-add service!
One of our clients in the electrical goods industry has customers travel to their store every day from all across the country, not because they have the lowest prices, but because they have built a reputation for excellent after-sales service – if anything goes wrong, you are guaranteed they will look after you!
If you can prove that you have a quality product or service, and you care about your customers well-being, you’re already on track towards making the second sale.
Clever businesses know that the key to future profitability lies in fostering a close and enriching relationship with your customers. If you go into a restaurant and the head waiter remembers your name, or your favourite tipple, your impressed right? They have just differentiated themselves a little from the competition and made a lasting impression on you.
Don’t be afraid to be a little bit personal with your customers – it helps them remember you. Maintaining and enhancing customer goodwill will also help to generate positive word-of-mouth – a key marketing strategy in this day and age of advertising clutter.
Another tip – don’t forget to ask your customers back! It might be hard to believe, but your customers aren’t devoting nearly as much time to thinking about your business as you are. Let them know from time to time that you’re still around. It doesn’t have to be ‘salesy’—after all, you’ve already sold them once. Include them on a mailing list with product/service updates and special offers, or simply call once in a while to touch base or let them know of a new product or service they might really like.
Consumers appreciate feeling valued and they also relish getting a good deal! If you do not already have a loyalty programme established, why not offer your good customers an extra incentive to come back and shop more often with you.
An excellent example of this is the Dunnes Stores Shop & Save offer where if you spend €50 on groceries you receive €10 off your next week’s shop and if you spend €100, you receive €20 off. Always a lover of a good deal, I will go out of my way to make sure I get to Dunnes Stores to do my weekly shopping to use my voucher! This incentive scheme not only helps increase average euro sale, it also ties the customer into shopping with them on a weekly basis rather than chopping and changing between stores.
What can you offer your customers to make feel valued and increase their loyalty towards you?
Don’t forget, if you are interested in Sales Training or yourself or your team, why not join us at our Sales Success Workshop this Friday 5th February. Click here for more information and to register your place or call us on 01 891 6220.