Being proactive as a business in 2019
Tuesday, 12 March 2019
So, we filed our 2018 tax return in January, considered some useful tax planning in February, and while we wait and see what happens with Brexit, let’s focus on being proactive in our business in 2019.
Customer service has revolutionised in recent years, in pretty much all industries. Customers are used to far more choice, and will look for proactive businesses that deliver a fast, seamless and personal service. No longer are we waiting for days for that online order, we can get a takeaway delivered by clicking an app and we expect our car repair to be carried out the same day. Certainly, in the accountancy profession, we can deliver accounts and tax returns electronically and much more quickly than we used to. That’s no excuse to leave filing until close to a deadline! However, all businesses need to adapt to the expectations of their customers with a proactive strategy, and be clear what the benefits for both the customer and the business might be.
We’re in a world where technology is changing our personal and business lives every day. Look for the trends in your sector and don’t be afraid to innovate and embrace those technologies to improve your customers’ experience. In the accountancy profession little changed for 400 years after the Italians invented double entry bookkeeping, but now proactive businesses use cloud based software that can make the process more efficient. This proactive strategy allows us to spend more time with our clients, providing a value added service.
Don’t lose the human touch. Whilst AI is inevitably improving all the time, we should still make sure that it doesn’t replace the human when delivering the customer experience. People need to find more ways to connect in person to build trust and strengthen relationships.
Marketing and advertising
The old saying “50% of the marketing budget was wasted, but unfortunately we don’t know which half”, was very true. Now though, proactive businesses use technology and analytics to target their audience, creating high value and personalised content, rather than a less effective scatter gun approach. Google Analytics provides free tools to analyse your business leads, allowing you to get to know your potential customers and be proactive. Another proactive strategy is to use customer reviews; statistics show that businesses without reviews suffer from potential customers taking a step back. With Brexit looming, can businesses afford to lose custom?
Banking is changing. We no longer rely on cash, and cheques will soon be a thing of the past. With bank branches closing, and cash machines disappearing, businesses need to be innovative and have a proactive strategy to make it easy for their customers to pay. Paying with a phone or smart card is becoming common and is replacing the cash in our wallet. It remains to be seen what new payment methods are over the horizon. My local pub only accepts card payments, and the benefit to this proactive business is significant. They don’t have the security issues of keeping cash on premises, and don’t have to spend time reconciling cash and visiting the bank to pay in monies. Clearly, this generates a saving in both time and cost, and has even been a clever marketing tool as they are known locally for their different approach.
Despite Brexit, all business have been impacted by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and whilst this is another level of compliance, our customers should be confident that their data is as secure as it possibly can be. Unfortunately, we live in a time when cyberattacks, phishing and data breaches are commonplace. GDPR leads the world as the standard and it’s expected that the US and other regions will adopt a similar regulation, but it remains that we need to be cautious and promote the same message to our customers.
Increasingly, proactive businesses need to focus on employee happiness and wellbeing, especially in the light of uncertain times, such as with Brexit looming. Unemployment is at historic lows and recruitment is competitive, so employees need to be engaged and happy if you want to retain them. Happy employees also boost productivity. Flexible and remote working are becoming increasingly popular. Less wasted time on the road can only be a good thing, but businesses need a proactive strategy to keep all team members engaged when they might not be working together in one location.
Notwithstanding Brexit, there are many issues that will influence how we all do business in the future. I’ve no doubt that there will be innovations and proactive strategies that we can’t dream of at the moment. By embracing these changes, we’ll all benefit from a profitable and enjoyable proactive business life.
If you have any queries or would like more information on proactive business and proactive strategy, you can contact me on 01473 833411 or firstname.lastname@example.org