At the start of 2012, many companies are still fighting against the financial global crisis, the deflated job market, and predicted impending recession (the second in just a few years), by stepping into courageous new business start ups.
These start ups are not your average businesses of the last decade or so. Most of these new businesses are working with a different sort of business plan, embracing adaptability and new models of commerce such as co-operation, sustainability and innovation. The businesses that are rising above gloomy trends are those offering something different, like the real estate company working to create and sell more affordable housing or the water company, incorporating both expensive filtration equipment and affordable 20 Litre cans helping the average villagers in India to get access to clean water. Thinking outside the box is vital this year and as we move into the future.
If you’re looking to start a new business or reboot your current one, here are a few tips for business success from 2012 onward:
1. Embrace Crowd Funding: This is a great way to get a business going and avoid interest heavy loans. A company called Great Little Place used crowd funding to get the necessary £10,000 to start up their business, which gave them a real chance to come out on top and get their business going. Without this, it would have been a much rockier start. The great thing about this is that funding from sites like crowdfunder.co.uk keep banks and loans at a distance and allows for the common people to feel involved in your great project resulting in instant social engagement and awareness of your business right out of the gate. You can’t fake that kind of marketing magic.
2. Go Social: Embracing social media as it grows and develops will be vital to your business success. Businesses that turn a blind eye to this will likely miss out on key search opportunities and on positive public opinions that come through social interaction via the internet. As the digital world and tools become more engrained in business and society it’s important not to dismiss social media as merely a fad or as something other people do. Social media is impacting how the world works. Get behind it, engage with people, and make sure your social presence is valuable. This will help your business grow and maintain strength even in hard times. Online shopping aided by social sites is also gaining traction with the majority of Christmas sales happening online this year, rather than in store.
3. Be Innovative: As society changes under the influence of media, technology, and the global financial crisis, innovation and ease of adaptability (and ability to roll with the punches) will become increasingly important. If you can’t think beyond interior focused guidelines and ideas, your business will probably suffer. Especially in the UK, cuts and strain to small businesses are likely to continue for the next few years. If you can work around this and keep your company thinking one step ahead of government’s tactics to give money to big business and penalise small business, you’ll be one or two steps ahead of the “average Joe company” and more poised for success.
4. Green is Good: Yes, green business has been on a rocky road over the last few years and recession hasn’t helped, but green business is also more affordable these days. Cutting down on commuting, and moving out of big cities like London (instead using London Virtual Offices and office mail forwarding services), reducing power consumption, recycling, using less paper, and coming up with environmentally friendly processes, is good business sense. A company that is green or sustainable may also benefit from more positive social engagement and public opinion as most people are aware of the benefits of green practices. So if you’re starting a new business, now is the time to ensure your practices are sustainable (it’s more expensive to do this retrospectively).