The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in severe disruption to the global shipping industry in early 2020, with traditional supply chains being severed as countries began to close their borders. The consequences of which have seen the cost of shipping increase by well over 400% during the pandemic.
2018 was another year of political turbulence, with Brexit remaining in the spotlight.
With the threat of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, speculation that Article 50 could be revoked, and a vote of ‘no confidence’ against Theresa May, the year was spent in a constant state of uncertainty – making it almost impossible for businesses to plan ahead.
The UK is set to exit the EU in March 2019, so what we can expect from life post-Brexit should (in theory!) become clearer over the next few months.
However, whatever the outcome, there are steps your business can take to help it power forward in the New Year.
Here’s our top five!
1 – Create an empathic business environment
Recent studies have shown that Emotional Intelligence – or EQ (‘emotional quotient’) – is not only a crucial form of self-knowledge and awareness about one’s emotions, and the control and effective usage of those emotions, but is also immensely important when it comes to business management.
Many businesses have incorporated EQ tests in the interview process, or introduced brief courses, with the theory being that someone with ‘high EQ’ would make an effective leader or co-worker, encouraging a balanced and emotionally empathic environment where customers and staff are treated with warmth, intelligence and understanding.
Creating a high EQ business in 2019 will strengthen business resilience and help generate a dynamic and confident workforce for the future.
2 – Maintain a proactive social media presence
While the popularity of certain social media platforms, and the audiences they attract, has changed over the years, the importance of maintaining a social media presence hasn’t.
Your social media profiles are your company’s chance to give customers an insight into who you, what you do and what makes you different from your competitors.
By using your profiles to give your company a personality and promote its key values, you increase your chances of developing brand advocacy and engagement amongst your customers.
Additionally, encouraging dialogues with customers and prospects on social media is a fantastic way of gathering consumer insights and research.
Paid advertising is also something you should consider (if you aren’t doing it already) to attract new customers and re-engage previous customers.
3 – Protect your profits with a foreign currency provider
If your business trades internationally and has to engage in foreign exchange, you will have noticed how much impact exchange rate movements can have on your bottom line.
If you want to stay on top of the latest currency movements and time your transfers effectively, you could benefit from the support and insights provided by leading currency transfer providers.
A currency transfer specialist like Currencies Direct would also be able to offer you more competitive exchange rates and (unlike most banks) won’t charge transfer fees.
Furthermore, they’ll give you access to a range of transfer options – like the ability to fix an exchange rate for up to two years ahead of making a transfer.
4 – Innovate and streamline your business
There is always room for improvement in any business, and one of the simplest ways to improve efficiency is to cut out time-wasting habits, routines and procedures.
It’s worth making a list of potential ‘leakages’ in your business’ productivity – are you having too few meetings? Or too many? Are responsibilities being allocated to the people best placed to deal with them? Are there any manual tasks you’re undertaking which could be simplified with software? Could you cut costs by shopping around for new deals and suppliers?
Experiment, evaluate and implement changes early in the New Year and start reaping the benefits of a streamlined business.
5 – Isolate and flaunt your USP
Locating your business’ unique selling point, or USP, might seem too obvious to mention.
However, your USP underpins every aspect of your business and is crucial for directing your business strategy and marketing efforts. You may also find that your USP changes over time as you differentiate yourself from your competitors and attempt to attract new customers.
As 2019 gets underway, take some time to re-familiarise yourself with your company’s USP. Does it still reflect who you are as a business? Is it enough of a hook to draw customers to you? Is it time for a bit of repositioning?
Once you’re confident in the strength of your USP it’s time to make sure it’s prominent in all the right places – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
Follow these simple tips and get your business off to a great start this year.