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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

250,000 small firms plan to close their doors

12 January 2021

A quarter of a million UK small businesses are set to fold unless they get more help, according to a new study.

A record number of small business owners are planning to close their firms over the coming twelve months, putting the UK on course to lose more than 250,000 businesses. That's just one of the stark findings of the latest quarterly Small Business Index (SBI) study published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

There are 5.9 million small firms across the UK, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Just under 5% of the 1,400 firms surveyed for the study say they expect to close this year. However, the figure does not reflect the threat of closure faced by those hoping to survive despite having frozen their operations, reduced headcounts or taken on significant debt.

The UK SBI confidence measure stands at -49.3, down 27 points year-on-year. The reading is the second-lowest in SBI history, second only to that recorded in March 2020. The vast majority of those surveyed (80%) do not expect their performance to improve over the next three months.

Key findings include:

  • 23% of small firms have decreased the number of people they employ over the last quarter;
  • 14% say they'll be forced to cut numbers over the next three months;
  • 58% are forecasting a reduction in profitability for the coming quarter;
  • 49% of exporters expect international sales to drop this quarter.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions. As a result, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of great, ultimately viable small businesses this year, at huge cost to local communities and individual livelihoods. A record number say they plan to close over the next 12 months, and they were saying that even before news of the latest lockdown came through.

"At the outset of the first national lockdown, the UK government was bold. The support mechanisms put in place weren't perfect, but they were an exceptionally good starting point. That's why it's so disappointing that it has met this second lockdown with a whimper.

"There are meaningful lifelines for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which are very welcome as far as they go. But this government needs to realise that the small business community is much bigger than these three sectors.

"Company directors, the newly self-employed, those in supply chains, and those without commercial premises are still being left out in the cold. We've published a five-point plan to address gaps in the support landscape, and we look forward to the Treasury embracing it. Action in March will be too late to stem closures."

He concluded: "This government can stem losses and protect the businesses of the future, but only if it acts now."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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