Are you ready for 2018? 5 Goals for Small Business Owners in Singapore

Are you ready for 2018? As you usher in the new year, here are 5 goals for small business owners in Singapore to make next year a fruitful and prosperous one.

1. Reflect on 2017

“Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

- Sir Winston Churchill

Take some time to reflect back on the past year. Recounting events that happened in the past year will help you to gain a better idea on how to move forward in the upcoming year and formulate tangible action steps to grow your business.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What went well?
    Remembering what went well helps to boost your company’s morale. This also informs your company how to better allocate limited resources.
  • What did not go as planned? Are there any merits that you can leverage on or should it be completely discarded?
    For small companies, learning quickly from your mistakes is necessary as the margin for error is narrow. Brainstorm potential problems such as whether the market is big enough and whether your customer has enough budget. This will help your company to avoid common pitfalls.
  • What are some new trends that developed over the past year and how can your company act on them?
    Keeping up new trends will help you to predict what is popular in the market and grant you an edge over your competitors. Small businesses have an advantage here in that you can be more flexible and responsive than bigger companies.  

2. Improve customer experience

Customers nowadays have more power than ever before with the ever-growing number of options available in the market. To retain loyal customers and win over new customers, providing them with a good customer experience is key.

According to a study conducted by Oracle, 74% of customers indicated that their customer experience affected their willingness to be loyal and 59% of customers would switch brands due to a poor customer experience. This goes to show that customer experience is an area worth investing in. Your company can start by working on the training and development of your employees to better equip them to provide the best possible customer experience for your customers.

3. Leverage on technology

In today’s technological age, it is imperative for businesses to evolve with time. Leveraging on technology to revamp outdated internal workflow processes and operations can improve the efficiency of your business. With e-commerce gaining traction, businesses should look to enhancing their business capabilities and sustainability. In Singapore, SPRING Singapore provides financial support such as the Capability Development Grant for small local businesses keen on growing and sharpening their competitive edge.  Find out how a music retail business and a fine jewellery boutique leveraged on SPRING Singapore's Capability Development Grant and technology to improve their business.

This year, we are also seeing a strong shift in business tactics to be more focused on technological developments. Indeed, it is especially important for small business owners to keep up with the these trends in technology to stay ahead of the competition. Making use of tech tools like Slack and Calendar could help to streamline your business processes and ultimately boost your productivity.

4. Optimise your digital marketing strategy

Digital marketing encompasses engaging existing and prospective customers via online platforms such as Google search, social media, email and websites. For small businesses, digital marketing provides cost-effective opportunities to market their products and services as compared to the costlier traditional offline marketing. Social media is the most common tool used, but did you know search engine optimisation (SEO) is also a crucial aspect of digital marketing? SEO is the process of optimising your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages which translates to a greater amount of organic (non-paid) traffic received by your website. Here are a few tips to optimise your website:

  • Use long-tail keywords (words specific to what you are selling) to attract the type of traffic you want and visitors who are more likely to convert to future customers
  • Include keywords in your article title, headers, body, URL and meta description
  • Optimise your images by using alt text which tells search engines what your image is about
  • Create internal and external links to increase the credibility and relevance of your content

For SEO to work, remember that you will first need to have quality content that educates and speaks to your readers. Next, you might wonder: how often should my company blog? According to statistics compiled by HubSpot in the graph below, B2C companies that blogged more than 11 times per month got more than 4 times as many leads as compared to those that blog only 4 to 5 times per month. This trend is similar for B2B companies as well. The key is to actively and consistently create and post content as the more blog posts published per month, the more traffic you will find on your website.

Source: 'How often should companies blog? [New Benchmark Data]'

Digital marketing is powerful as it enables you to collect data on your customers’ behaviour. You can find out which articles are performing better and tailor your content to better engage potential customers.

5. Enhance your employee benefits

Employees are the backbone of the company. In 2018, consider enhancing your employee benefits to better engage your employees and show them that they matter. Here are four reasons why employee benefits are important for small businesses:

  • To attract and retain talent
  • To boost company morale
  • To reduce employee turnover rates
  • To enhance long-term performance and organisational success

The key to achieving this is knowing what your employees want. Based on our employee health benefits survey with SMEs, GP consultations, dental benefits, hospitalisation benefits and health check-ups are popular among all age groups. Breaking down according to age group, employees aged 18-24 prefer preventive care options such as gym passes and fitness classes while those aged 55-64 prefer optical care. Take time to foster a healthy workplace culture for healthier and happier employees. This would enhance productivity rates and improve your business.

It is never easy to grow and sustain a business, especially a small one. Get started on crafting your goals for 2018 and create an action plan to make them happen. Make 2018 a year filled with joy and success for your company!

Mednefits, a new kind of health benefits company using technology, data, design to make benefits simple, affordable and human. We believe in designing better healthcare experience for SMEs and individuals - the kind we want for ourselves, and our loved ones.

About the Author

An SME Guide to Better Employee Benefits