10 business ideas for SMEs to explore business-ideas-sme

The 10 biggest opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses today

This is a great time to be growing a business in Britain. Opportunities abound and support is available at every turn. The founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones, looks at the top 10 opportunities that will connect you with customers, raise your profile, and ensure you're keeping on top of a successful business.

1. Online marketplaces

Through hosting the Amazon Academy, I've come to truly appreciate how marketplaces can help small businesses sell at home and across the globe.

Yes, it takes time to master marketplace techniques, but thousands of businesses are now making the most of the opportunity to trade online, with the likes of Amazon, Etsy and Alibaba taking care of fulfilment, marketing and more.

2. Exporting

A whole world awaits your products and services! The UK may be leaving the EU but large and emerging countries remain keen to trade. At a recent event, I asked a room of around 250 entrepreneurs if they would stop trading overseas in light of Brexit. Not a single hand went up.

Get support for your export ambitions by attending Enterprise Nation's own Go Global events, as well as reaching out to your local Department for International Trade contact.

3. Social media

Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have enabled the smallest of firms to reach customers in new territories, build a brand, and deliver customer service. Make the most of events and tune in to webinars to stay updated about new platform features that could boost your business. Get involved via campaigns such as Facebook's She Means Business.

4. Building your own online presence

Trading marketplaces and social media platforms play a vital role in getting you started, but you can't beat having your own identity online in the form of your own domain and website.

In previous years, this would take a big budget and web developer to produce, but now you can build your own professional looking website, without requiring coding skills and for a budget of around £20 per month, with template builders such as Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix and Weebly.

5. Corporate accelerators

Not a week goes by without another large corporate opening an accelerator, offering the opportunity for small businesses to build scale and access a whole new base of customers.

Brands such as John lewis, L'Oreal and EDF have opened up accelerators, inviting in small businesses to be part of cohorts and potentially receive investment.

6. Selling to government

Central government has made a commitment that £1 in every £3 spent will be with small businesses by 2022. This equates to around £15 billion worth of products and services that will be purchased, each year, from smaller firms.

Embrace this opportunity by searching on Contractsfinder for contracts, and attending Meet the Buyer events hosted up and down the UK.

7. Selling to bigger brands

Larger companies are keen to do business with, and buy from, smaller firms. Over the past 5 years, we have run the Exchange series of events that connect small businesses with buyers from big name brands such as Sainsbury's, Boots, Holland and Barrett, and more.

Big stockists want to buy products that will attract customers into store, i.e. products with authenticity and a back story. Every small business owner has that by the bucket load.

8. Small business awards

Enter awards to make the most of the opportunity to win prizes and raise the profile of your business. Here's some Awards you can enter right now!

9. Peer support

Fellow founders and entrepreneurs have never been so forthcoming in helping others on the same entrepreneurial journey. Get connected to local and national networks of other small businesses, head out to events, and surround yourself with positive people who can help on the days when things don't go so well, and celebrate on the days when they do!

10. Expert support

To make the most of all business opportunities, you'll need expert support from different types of professionals, from accountants to social media pro's and HR advisers. This is available in abundance when you join Enterprise Nation. We make sure that you're not only made aware of opportunities to start and grow your business, but that you're also connected with the right people.

Looking for ways to grow your business? Franchise consultant Krishma Vaghela provides advice for those looking to create a franchise.

At Direct Line for Business, we offer personalised insurance for your small to medium enterprise.

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Added: 12 Dec 2018