SMEs face unique challenges that need to be addressed with specially devised innovative ideas for small businesses. A lot of the business literature is written for the Intels and General Electrics of the world and skews toward multinational corporations. But what can you do if you only have a handful of employees and a dream?

 

Here are our top 4 ideas on how to run your small business

Innovate

It probably should not come as a surprise that the top innovative idea for small businesses is that small businesses should themselves innovate. As reported by Cicurel of The Telegraph, 81% of UK businesses use paper based systems to monitor annual leave and absence. Innovation can save time and money, making life easier for small business owners, and while SMEs may not have a lot of free cash that big businesses have available to them they do have the distinct advantage of flexibility and agility to change quickly. An added bonus of innovating is that if the company can show that its innovation was research and development then it could be possible to get R&D tax relief back from the tax man, as many countries offer this type of incentive.

 

Automate and delegate

Another interesting idea for small businesses that many have yet to consider or adopt is getting support online for certain types of business activities. One of the biggest challenges that businesses report is not being able to find great staff. However, there are many online market places where providers of many different types of services can be found. Upwork, People Per Hour and Freelancer are just three of these. You will find you can gain access to virtual assistants, writers, designers, web developers, accountants and many more professionals that may be useful in your business for cost effective rates. An additional benefit of this approach is saving on office space and utility bills, which even for a few staff can soon add up.

ideas for small businesses

Sweat the small stuff

Continuing on the subject of making savings a lot of businesses, and even SMEs do not pay sufficient attention to keeping certain costs down. In terms of utility bills, writing for The Guardian, Hargrave presents evidence that businesses in the UK could save £300 million per year by taking steps to get their employees to think about their energy use and be more efficient. Shopping around for a better utility provider may be something people think about doing at home but it is much less common for SMEs to do it. Putting in LED lighting is another potential area of saving. Hargrave also recommends looking at expensive stationary and postage costs. These types of common sense approaches are not used anywhere near as frequently as they could be, but have the potential to significantly ease cash flow issues.

 

Manage your cash flow effectively with smart finance

Businesses need financing to grow, and this is often one of the biggest challenges facing SMEs. In fact, according to Hecht writing for Entrepreneur magazine a study carried out in the USA by financial services company US Bank identified that 82% of SMEs will not survive due to ineffective cash flow management. There are clear ways around this, and opportunities for SMEs to gain access to cash to tide them over or to grow in a timely manner. Fundsquire is just one example of a company that can help in this regard offering smart financing solutions such as R&D tax credit financing and invoice financing, the former of which is particularly innovative.

If you’re ready to think about using smart finance to grow your business and are no stranger to research and development in your company, we’re happy to advise you on what’s possible in the world of R&D tax credit loans. 

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